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Lezcano presents and performs in a variety of musical styles: indigenous strummers in ritual festivals from Ecuador, Gaucho music from Argentina, European parlor waltzes from Venezuela, and Afro-Brazilian choros-maxixe. He also plays pieces by Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Lauro, Barrios, Pereira, and examples from his Fulbright-funded research in Ecuador.
Described by Fanfare Magazine as “an excellent guitarist as well as an imaginative composer,” Dr. José Manuel Lezcano serves as Artist Lecturer in Guitar at the University of Southern Maine & Lecturer in Guitar at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches a thriving studio of guitarists, and continues to serve as Professor Emeritus of Music at Keene State College where he directs the Guitar Orchestra and Latin Ensemble, and teaches guitar and courses in Latin American and Spanish music. He has also served recently as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota at Morris. He has lectured throughout the state for the NH Humanities Council on Ecuadorean indigenous guitar traditions, rituals, and mythology, and on the Guitar in Latin America.
He is a twice Grammy-nominated composer and performer who has performed for audiences on four continents. His programs featuring traditional and Latin American repertoire, and his own original compositions have taken him as recitalist, collaborative musician, and concerto soloist from Carnegie Recital Hall and the North-South Consonance Series in New York City to major venues and festivals in Cuba, Spain, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, China, Crete, Trinidad & Tobago, the Czech Republic and Germany. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1960, he earned degrees from Peabody Conservatory (BM), University of South Carolina (MM), and Florida State University (Ph.D. music theory).
José has earned numerous awards, including first prize in the MTNA National Guitar Competition, the NH State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, NHMTA Composer of the Year (2002 & 07), KSC Distinguished Research Award, and a Fulbright Award to Ecuador where he performed as orchestral soloist and pursued research on indigenous guitar traditions. Jose’s scholarly publications include Latin American Music Review, Soundboard, and the Latino Encyclopedia. In addition to flute and guitar works published by Alry, his catalog includes two double concertos for flute, guitar, and strings (Poemas Concertantes, and Sojourners, published by Cayambis); a Viola Concerto premiered by Brett Deubner and the Astoria Symphony; four song cycles for the Barcelona Festival of Song, Sonata for cello and guitar (recorded by Jose and cellist Rebecca Hartka on the CD Coleurs); and two guitar concertos (Guitar Concerto no. 1, “Ecuadorean Landscapes,” and “Concierto Cubanero” for guitar and chamber orchestra, a work inspired by Cuban dance genres of the golden age).
In October 2021, Jose performed as soloist with the Sinfonica Nacional de Colombia in “Concierto Cubanero.” On May 5 & 6, 2023, Jose’s double-concerto for bass soloists, harp and strings, will receive a world premiere by the Buffalo Symphony and nine-time Grammy winner Maestra JoAnn Falletta, in a program including Brahm’s Fourth Symphony and Ginastera’s Estancia Suite.
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