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Baltazar Benítez (Guitar)

Born: 1944 - Durazno, Uruguay

The Uruguayan guitarist, Baltazar Benítez, began guitar studies at age 12 with Pedro Machin, and later worked with Abel Carlevaro, at the National Conservatory of Music in Montevideo.

In 1968 Baltazar Benítez started his professional career with success; he was chosen by the 'Jeunesses Musicales' from his native country to give a series of concerts. In 1969, he was first-prize winner in a contest organized by the Uruguayan radio. Numerous important concerts followed, including several radio- and television performances, where Baltazar Benítez displayed an extremely diverse repertory: among others, concerts with orchestral accompaniment such as Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Joaquin Rodrigo's world-famous Concierto de Aranjuez. One year later, in 1970, he won yet another Uruguayan contest, organized by the Centro Cultural de Musica and in the same year he received a grant from the Spanish Cultural Institute to study in Santiago de Compostela with José Tomás, teacing assistant to Andrés Segovia. Again one year later, in 1971, Benítez won 1st prize at the annual international guitar competition in Santiago de Compostela. The following year he was sent by his country as the official delegate, to the 26th World Congress of the 'Jeunesses Musicales', which was held in Augsburg, Germany. There he was greatly acclaimed for his playing, particularly for his interpretations of South-American music. Following this, in 1973, he won first prize in the 7th International Tarrega-contest in Benicasim (Spain).

Baltazar Benítez' debut recording appeared in 1976, dedicated to Latin-American Music. It includes the first recording of Manual Maria Ponce's Theme, Variations and Fughetta on a theme by Antonio Cabezon. As a result of his musical research Baltazar Benítez displayed his superb feeling for European Baroque music in 1980 when his 2nd album appeared. A high-standard interpretation of J.S. Bach's famous Suite for lute in E minor (BWV 996), and several Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (all transcribed & arranged by Benítez) were very well received - not only by guitarists - but in the general musical world as well. In 1984 he recorded another long-play record of Latin-American music, with works exclusively composed by Astor Piazzolla. Baltazar Benítez dedicated this album to Piazzolla, which contains - besides the Fine Pieces for guitar - also a number of pieces, which Benítez transcribed for guitar. In 1985 he made a tour in South-America, together with the Argentinean musician/composer Astor Piazzolla. In Montevideo (Uruguay) on December 23, 1985, they performed together the Latin-American premiere of Piazzolla's Concierto para Bandoneon, Guitarra y Orquesta.

Since 1972, Baltazar Benítez has taught at the Brabant Conservatory in Tilburg, Holland.

Source: Channel Classics Website; Liner notes to the LP 'Latin-American Music for the Classical Guitar' (Nonesuch, 1978)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2008)

Baltazar Benítez: Short Biography | Recordings of Non-Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Baltazar Benitez (Channel Classics)
Baltazar Benítez [Spanish]

Debuts; A guitarist, a flutist, a pianist and a singer appear in New York recitals (NY Times)

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