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Shorter version:

Dr. José Manuel Lezcano (ed. 12.19.18)

Described by Fanfare Magazine as “an excellent guitarist as well as an imaginative composer,” José Manuel Lezcano is Professor of Music at Keene State College where he teaches and coordinates guitar, and directs the Guitar Orchestra and Latin-American Ensemble.  Dr. Lezcano’s guitar students have been frequent winners of the Department’s and College’s highest awards and scholarships, and members of the Guitar Orchestra under his direction have given concerts in Ecuador, New York City, and multiple appearances at the Boston Guitar Society Festivals.  He also curates a biannual Guitar Festival at KSC featuring concerts and clinics by international guest artists and faculty musicians, and attended by regional high school guitarists and their teachers.

He is a twice Grammy-nominated composer and guitarist, twice New Hampshire Music Educators’ Commissioned Composer, Fulbright scholar, recipient of KSC’s Distinguished Research Award, and critically acclaimed guitarist with solo, chamber, and concerto performances at  venues and festivals in China (for Apple Hill’s  Playing for Peace), Brazil, Ecuador, Czech Republic, Germany, Peru, Spain, Portugal, Crete, Colombia, and New York, where he premiered two Guitar Concerti of his authorship with the North South Consonance Orchestra and conductor Max Lifchitz in 2005 and 2013.

Jose has frequently performed on New England concert series, including Electric Earth, Portland Chamber Music, Wisteria Chamber Music Society, Claremont Summer Concerts, Monadnock Bass Hall Series, and Apple Hill.  He has also appeared in recent years nationally as solo recitalist on university and civic concert series in Oberlin, Houston, Charleston, Clemson, Hartford, Memphis, New Haven, Sarasota, Miami, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and upstate New York.  Among his recent international performances: a solo recital of Iberoamerican works at the Barcelona Festival of Song, and a recital-lecture (The Guitar in Spain: Musical Reflections of a Turbulent History) at the International Animamusic Congress of Organalogy in Caldas de Reinha, Portugal (June 2017); an Artist Residency at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (November 2016); and a concert at the Identidades International Festival (Havana, February 2016), where he played his second Double concerto for flute, guitar and strings (“Sojourners”) at the Basilica Menor de San Fransisco de Asisi, with Antipe di Stella, and Ivan Valiente conducting the Orquesta Solistas de la Habana.

He returned to Havana in March 2017 to perform a cello-guitar concert with KSC faculty m ember and cellist Rebecca Hartka at the Havana International Cello Festival; their concert included the Cuban premiere of his Cello Sonata, recently released to critical acclaim on Rebecca’s CD entitled “Coleurs.  Recent premieres include “Mojito, Guitar & String Quartet” (2017) which he performed with the Portland Chamber Music Society and at the Portland Athaneum Concert Series in September, 2017.   In 2016 he received an Ewing Arts Award from the Keene Sentinel, in recognition of his international performing and teaching career, and contributions to the arts in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.   Dr. Lezcano earned degrees from Peabody Conservatory (BM), University of South Carolina (MM), and Florida State University (Ph.D., Music Theory).   www.joselezcano.com

Long version:

Described  by Fanfare Magazine as “an excellent guitarist as well as an imaginative composer,” José Manuel Lezcano is Professor 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 is also 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. 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.

Jose has frequently performed on New England concert series, including the Saint Gaudens Summer Concerts, Electric Earth, Portland Chamber Music, Wisteria Chamber Music Society, Claremont Summer Concerts, Monadnock Bass Hall Series, and Apple Hill.  He has also appeared in recent years nationally as solo recitalist on university and civic concert series in Oberlin, Houston, Charleston, Clemson, Hartford, Memphis, New Haven, Sarasota, Miami, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and upstate New York.  He performed as soloist and clinician at Oberlin Conservatory (2011), and heard a recital of his works by Oberlin student guitarists, and performed a collaborative recital at the College of Wooster with soprano Carrie Culver.  He performs frequently in Duo Mundo with celllist Rebecca Hartka, and has appeared frequently as duo partner with pianist Virginia Eskin and harpist Franziska Huhn.   He was also invited to appear as solo recitalist at the North Carolina Bach Festival in Raleigh (2018) where he collaborated with cellist Roman Placzek, and at the Moosefest Bach Festival in Gorham, NH, (2018) where he performed a recital of works entitled “Bach, his contemporaries, and admirers.”  The recital included the Chaconne; Prelude, Fugue, & Allegro; and First Cello Suite.

Dr. 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 in the categories “Best Contemporary Composition” and “Best Performance, Soloist with Orchestra.”  Jose’s second Guitar Concerto, “Concierto Cubanero,” received its premiere performance with North-South Consonance Orchestra in May 2011 with Jose as soloist, and its South American premiere that year with the Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Ecuador, again with Jose as soloist.   In  2012, Jose’s “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 the dreamer.”  In November 2013, Jose premiered a revised and expanded edition of Concierto Cubanero with Mr. Lifchitz and North-South as part of New York City’s Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Week.

During 2013, Jose completed an Artist Residency at the Studios of Key West, Florida; composed a commissioned work for the Amaral Duo, and performed with Karrie Griffiths of “Music in Miami,” where his Viola Concerto received its Florida premiere.  In 2013 he returned to New York to premiere a revised version of his Concierto Cubanero with North-South Consonance.  During 2014  Jose premiered his “Flauta, Mojito, Guitarra, y Habano” at La Casa de la Musica in Quito, Ecuador; played concerts for the Wisteria Chamber Music Society (MA); performed his Sonatina Tropical for Brattleboro Music Center’s “Composers in our Midst” with flutist Robin Matathias; and a duo program with Ms. Huhn for the Boston Guitar Society’s “Sunday Sounds” at Hingham Library.  Other 2014 performances include Quintets by Boccherini and Castelnuovo-Tedesco at West Claremont Center for Music, and the Cuban premiere of his “Poemas Concertantes” at the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Havana, Cuba.  His chamber work, “Mojito, Flauta, Guitarra, y Cuerdas” was premiered at “Three Sundays in July” of Music in Miami.  In November 2014, Jose  appeared as soloist, in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Portsmouth Symphony (NH) conducted by John Page, to a standing ovation before a full house.

Dr. Lezcano completed a Spring 2015 sabbatical with various composition and performance projects, including concerts with soprano Dr. Rosa Tamarit Sumalla,  in Tarragona, Catalunya (Spain), where he served as a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Rovira i Virgili.   He served again as guitarist and composer-in-residence at the 2015 Barcelona Festival of Song, for which he has composed three song cycles for soprano, musicologist, and founder Patricia Caicedo.   During 2015 he also performed solo recitals at ESMUC (Escuela de Musica de Catalunya, Barcelona) and at the University of Florida. He premiered his “Fantasia Latina” for harp and guitar with harpist Franziska Huhn (NEC and Longy Faculty) at the Mitad del Mundo Festival in Quito (June 2015).

During 2016, he appeared as soloist at the Identidades International Guitar Festival (Feb 1-7) as soloist in his own double concerto for flute, guitar and strings (Sojourners) with Antipe di Stella, flute, and Ivan Valiente conducting the Orquesta Solistas de la Habana; his Suite Cayo Hueso was also performed at the festival by Duo Contrastes, and Jose premiered two of his original solos at the festival.  That year he completed an Artist Residency at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (November 2016).

Among his recent international performances are a solo recital of Iberoamerican works at the Barcelona Festival of Song (June 29, 2018), including his own compositions;  a lecture-recital at the international Animamusic Congresso de Organologia, in Caldas de Reinha, Portugal, July 7, 2018; “The Guitar in Spain: Musical Reflections of a Turbulent History.”    In March, 2017, he returned to Havana to perform his Sonata for Cello & Guitar with KSC faculty cellist Rebecca Hartka, at the International Cello Festival.  Their recording of the Sonata on the CD, “Coleurs,” was recently released to critical acclaim.  In June, 2017, he performed the New York Premiere of his Sojourners concerto with Grammy-nominated flutist Lisa Hansen, and Max Lifchitz conducting the North-South Consonance Orchestra; and premiered Key West Suite for flute & guitar, with flutist Ivana Zahirovic-Negrerie of the Munich Philharmonic, in that city and in Trnava, Slovakia; and at the Havana Identidades Festival (2018) with Antipe di Stella.  Another recent premiere was “Mojito, Guitar & String Quartet” (2017) which he performed with the Portland Chamber Music Society and at the Portland Athaneum Concert Series in September, 2017.  With Rebecca Harkta, in 2018 as Duo Mundo, they delivered a Tedx Talk and performed an excerpt from his “Key West Suite” at Keene TedX in the Colonial Theater (Oct. 4), and duo concerts for the Mohawk Trail Concert Series (Sept. 28); at the Brookline Public Library Series (Oct. 13) in works by Gnattali, Piazzolla, & Lezcano, and again at Dartmouth College’s Vaughan Recital Series (Nov. 11).

Jose also performed as soloist in the South American premiere of his double concerto, “Sojourners,”  at the International Festival of Loja, Ecuador with flute soloist Suzanne Snizek & the Festival Orchestra, on October 23, 2018.  During the week-long residency, Dr. Lezcano coached guitar students at the Loja Conservatory and conducted a guitar ensemble of students and faculty.    In Loja he performed the South American premiere of his Key West Suite for flute and guitar, with flutist Norman Gonsalez of Great Falls Symphony (Montana).   Also recently published by Cayambis, Jose’s “Recollections,” a suite for English Horn and Guitar, received its world premiere in Saint Petersburg, Russia, by the Duo Telluur, (12.16.2018).

Lezcano was honored with a 2016 Ewing Arts Award from the Keene Sentinel, in recognition of his international performing and teaching career, and contributions to the arts in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.  As a member of the KSC Music Faculty for over twenty-five years, Dr. Lezcano’s guitar students have been frequent winners of the Department’s and College’s highest awards and scholarships, and members of the Guitar Orchestra under his direction have given concerts in Ecuador, New York City, and multiple appearances at the Boston Guitar Society Festivals.  He also curates a biannual Guitar Festival at KSC featuring concerts and clinics by international guest artists and faculty musicians, and attended by regional high school guitarists and their teachers.

 Compositions

About Dr. Lezcano’s first Guitar Concerto, Fanfare Magazine wrote, “Colorfully scored … agreeable music, and dashingly performed by the composer.” Turok’s Choice wrote, “Lezcano’s Guitar Concerto (is) a first-rate composition … Lezcano is a fine guitarist in his own cause.” And the American Record Guide wrote, “Amiability is the keynote in the latest collection .. by the excellent North-South Chamber Orchestra … Lezcano’s Guitar Concerto is an atmospheric, tuneful melange.” In September, 2008, Dr. Lezcano performed his concerto with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Peru. He has also performed it with orchestras in Ecuador, Colombia, and New Hampshire.

Jose was nominated for 2009 grammys for his work on the CD “Remembrances/Recuerdos”  in two categories: “Best Contemporary Composition” (for his Guitar Concerto); and “Best Soloist with Orchestra (for his performance).

Dr. Lezcano’s works include two additional concerti, a song cycle, a choral suite, chamber music, and solos, written in an eclectic, expressive, but accessible language that is praised for “energy” and “soaring melodies” (Flute Talk). His chamber works with guitar, published by Mundoarts, Alry and Tuscany, have been performed by major artists including Maestra Joan Falleta (conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic)  Ricardo Cobo, Antigoni Goni & Laura Gilbert, Stephen Aron, Duo Fresco, the Alturas Duo, and William Bennet. Recent CDs by Ms. Goni, “Songs from the New Village,” and Mr. Aron, “Tropicale,”  include José’s Sonatina Tropical.

Awards

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. He has lectured throughout the state for the NH Humanities Council on Ecuadorean indian guitar traditions, rituals, and mythology. 

Among his numerous awards:

  • First prize, 1982 MTNA National Guitar Competition;
  • 1998 Fulbright Award in Ecuador to teach, perform, and research indigenous guitar traditions;
  • 2002 Commissioned Composer of the Year (New Hampshire Music Teacher’s Association);
  • 2003 New Hampshire State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship;
  • 2003 Keene State College’s Award for Distinction in Research and Scholarship in recognition of his activities as performer, scholar, and composer.
  • 2007 Commissioned Composer of the Year Fellowships from the New Hampshire Music Teacher’s Association; a New Hampshire State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.
  • 2007 Commission from Rochester Folk Arts Guild, funded by the New York State Music Fund and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and of a commission from the NHMTA for a viola concerto.
  • 2008 Honorable Mention, MTNA National Competition for Composition, for Viola Concerto.
  • 2010.  So the Poet will Heard; Homage to Victor Jara.  For Guitar Orchestra and Narrator.  Commissioned by Boston Guitar Society and Meet the Composer New England for Festival 21, premiere April 2010.
  • 2016 Ewing Arts Award from the Keene Sentinel.

Recordings

COMPACT DISCS

Colors – Couleurs.  CD recording of music for cello & guitar; cello and piano.  With Rebecca Hartka, cello; Barbara Lysakowski, piano. Premiere recording of Lezcano: Sonata for Cello and Guitar (2015).  Works by Gnattali, Bandolim, Piazzolla, Debussy, & Ravel.  October, 2017.

             Crosscurrents.  CD recording of orchestral music by North and South American composers.  Premiere recording of “Tango-Overture” for String Orchestra, performed by North-South Consonance Chamber Orchestra, Max Lifchitz, conductor.  2011.

             Latin Landscapes.  CD recording, music for guitar, flute, and bassoon.  Original works by Jose Lezcano; works arranged by Jose by various composers, including Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla, Granados, and others.  Jose, guitar; with members of Ensemble Resonance of Rochester Folk Art Guild, Matthew Shubin, bassoon, and Paul Schliffer, flute.  Schadowrider Ltd, 2008.

             Remembrances/Recuerdos.  CD recording, North-South records.  Works by various composers from Cuba and the U.S.  Includes Guitar Concerto by Jose Lezcano, with composer as soloist with North-South Consonance Orchestra, Max Lifchitz, conductor.  October 2007.

              Native Tongues, “Passports,” Jose Lezcano, Bonnie Insull, and guest musicians.  Music by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Granados, Ramirez, Lezcano, and others.  Released October, 1999,  KAIROS Recordings.

            Latin Images.  Jose Lezcano, solo guitar.  Music from Latin America and Spain.

Native Tongues Recordings, 2005.

Other artists who have included works by Jose Lezcano on their CDs include Maestra JoAnn Falleta (Principal Conductor, Buffalo Symphony),  Antigoni Goni, William Feasley, Melinda Toth, Aaron-Birkner Duo, Trio Fuoco, and Joseph Pecoraro.  They include Lezcano’s Sonatina Tropical for flute and guitar, Sonata for oboe and guitar, Cuban Sketches for trio, and Three Goya Portraits for solo guitar.

CD Reviews:

About “Colors”:

“Hartka and Lezcano play off against each other in a subtle but effective unity of rubato relationships that brings off the sonatas with a personality that catches the ears and holds them… Hartka and Lysakowski are just as subtle in their playing, making their Debussy sonata well worth having. This is unusual and well played.”  

D. Moore, American Record Guide

The CD includes “the premiere recording of Cuban guitarist Lezcano’s nicely varied three-movement Sonata for Cello and Guitar, which contains traces of Cuban folk, vivid splashes of tango, and a deeply moving middle Adagio that feels like it might have drawn some inspiration from Ravel and Debussy in parts.”  –Classical Guitar Magazine, 2018

Jose’s work for String Orchesta, “Tango-Overture,” was recorded and released on the North-South Label’s “Crosscurrents” in 2011, by North-South Consonance Orchestra directed by Max Lifchitz.  They also performed the New York premiere in 2009.  About the work, Jonathan Woolf, writing for Fanfare magazine, wrote of it “moving with verve from festive to melancholy with consummate ease.  There’s an ocassional dapper turnof phrase, too, and pathos for the solo violin that emerges from the string orchestral texture before the surging, successful conclusion.” 

Jose’s solo CD, Latin Images, a compilation of solo works from the Hispanic world (with two duos recorded with John Mantegna) has received critical praise. “Things get off to a good start with strong rhythmic attention to Lauro’s Natalia with its engaging 3/4:6/8 patterns….the cross-string trills in the Scarlatti sonatas, often excluded from these pieces in favor of single-string ornamentation, are an artistic inclusion…this is an enjoyable recording with an interesting, entertaining and well-played programme.” Music Web International, Review of Jose Lezcano’s “Latin Images.”

Jose’s ensemble CD, Latin Landscapes, was released in November 2008. In collaboration with Matthew Shubin, bassoonist, and Paul Schliffer, flutist, of the Rochester Folk Art Guild’s Ensemble Resonance, Jose performs his original compositions and arrangements of Latin American composers for guitar and winds, including his most recent commissioned work, “Diarios,” inspired by his travels and enthusiasm for the music of Cuba, the Andes, New York, and Brazil.

Lezcano’s compositions are published by Mundoarts.com, Alry and Tuscany. They include the Sonatina Tropical (for flute and guitar); Cuban Sketches (for guitar and two flutes);  and Poemas Concertantes (for flute, guitar and chamber orchestra).  He also has two folk-song arrangements for flute and guitar with Alry (Pajaro Campana and El Grillo).  His works have been performed by leading virtuosi such as Alturas Duo, William Bennett, Ricardo Cobo, Laura Gilbert,  Antigoni Goni, and others. Active also as an ethnomusicologist, Lezcano has published articles in Soundboard, the Latin American Music Review and the Latino Encyclopedia.

Equipment

Jose uses a 1993 Ignacio Rozas cedar top guitar; a 1972 Robert Ruck cedar top with Brazilian Rosewood sides, Classical guitar with D’Addario hard tension or Savarez Red cord and Galli sometimes. He also uses a 2001 Peter Oberg solid spruce top, and is performing most recently on a Yulong Guo (2017).  José is an official endorser for Optima Strings.  

http://optima-strings.com

Contact email:  joselexicon@gmail.com

Phone 603 358 2810

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