BELLOWS FALLS -- Gutarist José Manuel Lezcano and harpist Franziska Huhn join forces to present a concert titled "Bards & Troubadors: Mostly Mediterranean Music" at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 20 Church St., on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Cuban-born guitarist, composer, educator, and folklorist José Manuel Lezcano has captivated audiences on four continents. His programs of traditional and South American guitar repertory, and his own solo, concerto and chamber works, have taken him from Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City to major venues and festivals in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, China, Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic, appearing as recitalist, collaborative musician, and concerto soloist.
Described in 2012 by Fanfare Magazine as "an excellent guitarist as well as an imaginative composer," Lezcano has earned numerous professional recognitions, including two Grammy nominations, the N.H. State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, twice NHMTA Composer of the Year and a Fulbright Award to Ecuador where he performed as orchestral soloist and pursued research on indigenous guitar traditions.
He premiered his second guitar concerto, "Concierto Cubanero," in 2011 in New York City and in Quito, Ecuador. In 2012, his "Tango-Overture" for strings received its debut recording on the North-South label. Fanfare Magazine described the work as "a dance in a dream that sweeps away restrictions and sweeps away thedreamer." Lezcano’s first Guitar Concerto (2004), which he premiered in New York City as soloist with the North-South Consonance Chamber Orchestra directed by Max Lifschitz, received critical acclaim after release on the North-South label in 2007 as "Remembrances/Recuerdos." For his work on the CD, Jose received two Grammy nominations and was semi-finalist for Best Contemporary Composition and Best Performance, Soloist with Orchestra.
Lezcano is professor of music at Keene State College, where he has taught since 1991. He coordinates and teaches in the guitar program, conducts the KSC Guitar Orchestra and Latin American ensembles and courses in Latin American Music, Society and Culture. He is also a lecturer for the New Hampshire Humanities Council with his talk, "The Guitar and the Devil: Music, Magic and Ritual among Ecuadorean Indians."
At age of 14, harpist Franziska Huhn took first prize in the Jugend Musiziert Competition in Germany. Subsequently, she went on to receive a full scholarship to study with Lucille Lawrence and earn a bachelor of music degree at Boston University. Huhn continued her studies with Boston Symphony Orchestra principal harpist Ann Hobson Pilot on a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she completed a master’s degree in harp performance, in addition to becoming the first harpist ever to be awarded the Artist’s Diploma by the Conservatory in 2005. In 2007, she received an Artist Diploma from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany.
An active performer, Huhn has participated in the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (1994), the Pacific Music Festival in Japan (2001, 2002) and the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts (1999, 2000). She later returned to Tanglewood to perform contemporary music as a Fromm player (2003) and has been the assistant director of the Harp Seminar at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute since 2003. Huhn is also active in and around the Boston area performing as a substitute harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and playing regularly with the Mistral Chamber Players, the Walden Chamber Players, the Radius Ensemble and Collage New Music.
As a solo performer, Huhn has given recitals throughout the United States in Illinois, Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas, as well as international recitals in Norway, Poland, Georgia, Russia, Syria, Pakistan and Germany, including several performances for the German President (Johannes Rau, Horst Köhler). A proponent of contemporary music, Huhn’s solo repertoire includes works written especially for her by well-known composers such as Daniel Pinkham and Lior Navok.
Since 2007, Huhn has been on the faculty at the Longy School of Music at Bard College, Cambridge, and the New England Conservatory, Boston.
Admission is $17 for adults ($13 for seniors and children under 12) in advance and $20, $15 at the door. Tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls, Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, N.H., Brattleboro Books, Misty Valley Books in Chester, and at www.brattleborotix.com or available at the door.
For more information, visit www.stonechurcharts.org or call 802-463-3100.