Slideshow: Students Perform with Brazilian Guitar Legend Toninho Horta

By 
Salim ALi
December 7, 2017
Berklee, Bengisu Gokce, student plays strings in Toninho Horta big band
Horta shakes student arranger's hand
Ying-Ting Luo plays flute over Horta changes
Bastien Rieser solos over Horta tunes
Toninho Horta
Student vocalists perform an acapella T. Lee Abe arrangement
Close-up shot of Toninho Horta
Thiago Vitorio plays piano for Horta big band
Toninho Horta with Gerson Lazo Quiroga
Horta bids the audience farewell with laughs and sincerity
At a recent concert celebrating the music of iconic Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta, student violinist Bengisu Gokce, who hails from Istanbul, Turkey, plays each arrangement of the night along with a shining string section comprising fellow Berklee students: violinists Heeyeon Chung (Columbus, Ohio), Antoine Beux (Paris, France), Emily Gelineau (Perth, Australia), and Tania Mesa (Canary Islands, Spain); violists Gerson Eguiguren (Quito, Ecuador) and Louisa Byron (Waseca, Minnesota); and cellist Parker Ousley (Northfield, Minnesota).
Horta congratulates student arranger Maria Lineva after the performance of her arrangement of Horta's song "Manuel, o Audaz."
Student flutist Ying-Ting Luo, who came to Berklee from Taipei, Taiwan, plays an elegant solo on Horta's "Beijo Partido," which was arranged by student composer Aida de Moya.
As a member of the student ensemble dedicated to learning the music of visiting artist Toninho Horta, student Bastien Rieser of Munich, Germany, handled the trumpet work on all arrangements.
Horta is regarded as one of the most influential guitarists of the last 100 years.
Student vocalists Valentine Komissarouk (Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel), Mirella Silva (Recife, Brazil), Jorge Giron Vives (Dallas, Texas), and Maria Del Mar Fayos Oliver (Barcelona, Spain) performed an a capella arrangement from Tsunenori "Lee" Abe, associate professor of contemporary writing and production, leading into Horta's "Pilar/Igreja do Pilar."
"If you just move your fingers up, up and down, you can find the world." - Toninho Horta
Thiago Vitorio (shown) of Barra Mansa, Brazil and Jiwon Kwon of Seoul, South Korea accompanied the Berklee student band on piano throughout the concert, providing solos and dynamic interpretations of Horta's music.
Horta hugs student composer Gerson Lazo Quiroga of Concepción, Chile, after the Berklee student band plays an arrangement of "Prato Feito."
Clearly delighted with the tribute from students, Horta departed with a request to return to Berklee in the future. "I have so many arrangements...that I'd love to do," he said. "Please give me one more chance [to come and play]."
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson

The Signature Series at Berklee recently presented a musical celebration of Toninho Horta, a founding pillar of música popular brasileira (MPB), featuring Berklee students, faculty, and Horta himself. Horta has been making music for more than 50 years, with early work on Joyce Moreno's 1968 debut album, Joyce, and Milton Nascimento’s '16H self-titled debut album in 1969. In 1972, Horta contributed to Nascimento and Lô Borges’ Clube de Esquina, which is among Rolling Stone’s top ten greatest Brazilian albums of all time. The album’s namesake comes from the influential Brazilian artists’ collective of which Horta was a member in his hometown of Belo Horizonte.

Horta performed six of the 12 songs showcased, including popular songs such as “Aqui, Oh!,” “Francisca,” and “Waiting for Angela.” The performance was produced by Oscar Stagnaro, the multi-Grammy-winning bassist, Berklee professor, and executive director of Berklee Latino, Berklee’s Spanish-language program. The student and faculty performers brought the culture of Brazil to life before the Berklee Performance Center audience.

Gilson Schachnik, associate professor of ear training, introduced the concert with some words of praise in Portuguese, and Massachusetts' House of Representatives offered a written statement congratulating Horta for his life's work in "promotion of Brazilian culture through music and the arts."

Horta has released more than two dozen albums and has been nominated for Latin Grammys for Best MPB Album for his 2005 album Com O Pé No Forró, which he released on his own Minas label, and for his 2010 release, Toninho Horta: Harmonia & Vozes. Over the course of his career, he has performed with top Brazilian artists such as Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, Sérgio Mendes, Luciana Souza B.M. '88, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, and Chico Buarque, among many more. In addition, he has crossed musical borders with jazz legends such as Herbie Hancock ‘86H, Pat Metheny ‘96H, Brad Mehldau, George Duke, and Keith Jarrett.

Recognized as one of the world’s top guitarists, in 1986 Horta organized the Seminário de Música Instrumental in Ouro Prêto, Brazil, to advance the exchange of instrumental creativity among Brazilian music and musicians, and he has performed all over the world, including at Brazil’s Planeta Terra ("Planet Earth") concert. He is the subject of filmmaker Fernando Libânio’s documentary A Música Audaz de Toninho Horta.