Paquito D'Rivera and Berta Rojas Meet Berklee

Margot Edwards
October 15, 2018
Press release

The renowned artists will perform music from their album, along with the music of Agustín Barrios Mangoré, at this Signature Series concert.

Paquito D'Rivera and Berta Rojas
Photo by Maria Nunes

Grammy Award–winning Cuban musician and composer Paquito D’Rivera ‘03H and acclaimed Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas will perform duets from their Latin Grammy-nominated album Día y Medio at a November 15 Signature Series concert at the Berklee Performance Center.

The concert will also feature D’Rivera and Rojas playing a number of tunes with a large Berklee student ensemble composed of a five-piece rhythm section, seven-piece string section, and seven horns. Student arrangers Aida De Moya and Pablo Mirete Godoy will put their stamp on songs by D’Rivera and celebrated Paraguayan composer Agustín Barrios Mangoré. The ensemble will have the opportunity to rehearse with both D’Rivera and Rojas several times in advance of the concert.

D’Rivera and Rojas will also pay tribute to Barrios Mangoré, a pioneer of classical guitar in the Americas. “He contributed greatly to the recognition of the guitar as a concert instrument, performing in 20 countries in the Americas,” said Rojas. “Paquito and I retraced Barrios's steps, performing his music as a duo in 16 of the 20 countries, and I completed the itinerary in the remaining four. A plaque with an inscription about our journey was placed at his grave in El Salvador, which is an immense honor for us. In the concert, we will blend music of the popular and classical worlds that were the inspiration to Barrios.”

Paquito D’Rivera defies categorization. The winner of five Grammy Awards and eight Latin Grammy Awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. His recordings include more than 30 solo albums. Among his accolades, D’Rivera has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Carnegie Hall, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the National Medal of the Arts, the Living Jazz Legend Award from the Kennedy Center, and an honorary doctorate from Berklee. D’Rivera’s acclaimed groups – the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D’Rivera Big Band, and the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet – are in great demand worldwide.

Berta Rojas ranks among today’s foremost classical guitarists, and has been praised as a “guitarist extraordinaire” by the Washington Post. Rojas has been nominated for three Latin Grammy Awards. On 2017’s Felicidade, she pays tribute to Brazilian music with guest artists Gilberto Gil, Toquinho and Ivan Lins. In addition to international touring and master classes, Rojas is committed to furthering and disseminating the classical guitar, with a focus on promoting the music of Paraguay and Latin America more widely. She recently joined Berklee’s faculty as an associate professor of guitar.

The concert is produced by bass professor Oscar Stagnaro, who performs with D’Rivera regularly; and Matthew Nicholl, associate vice president for Global Initiatives.

Paquito D’Rivera and Berta Rojas Meet Berklee: The Music of Agustín Barrios Mangoré takes place at the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, on Thursday, November 15 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15/$20 in advance and $20/$25 day of the show, and tickets are available online and at the Berklee Performance Center box office.

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