Audience Review: Jorge Caballero, Peru

jorgecaballero_sq_med_rgbJorge Caballero – January 28, 2017

When one is in the presence of greatness, one should be aware of it. I was certainly so on Saturday evening in the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring. From the moment Jorge Caballero sat down and composed himself to present an exquisite rendering of four pieces from the Iberia Suite by Albeniz, my understanding of the capacity of the acoustic guitar was forever altered. With an impassioned performance, Mr. Caballero perceptively communicated the poetic Evocation with its echoes of Spanish fandango and jota song forms. He moved with such ease into El Puerto, a fine Andalusian could have cantered in natural gait to its rhythms. And, El Albaicin and Malaga further bore us through the southern Spanish coast sharing its culture and images. Only absent was the fine wine and food to accompany these masterful pieces.

From J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903, the take away impression was simply stunning, stunning, stunning. To reduce a score written for an instrument with two manuals and five octaves each and impose it onto an instrument with just six strings is nothing less than insane. What’s even more insane is that it actually works, at least in the hands of Mr. Caballero whose command of his instrument is, I’m sure, the envy of many a performer eking out a career in this demanding profession. The rapid fire execution of scales and counterpoint might cause any keyboardist to permanently close the lid on their instrument; but, to conquer its fugal fingering on six strings, well, the only comparison is that both the harpsichord and acoustic guitar are plucked.

Intermission gave listeners time to recover from part one of the program, but nothing could have prepared us for part two. As one of only two guitarists in the world to have mastered Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on six strings, Mr. Caballero made Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue sound like Lesson Book I instruction. All that can be said is the man has skills — many, many gifts and even more skills to back up his inborn, natural ability. I wasn’t expecting to attend a guitar concert and hear all virtuoso compositions originally composed for the keyboard. Guitarists are renowned for their ability to interpret music written for other instruments, but this program presented us with some of the most difficult keyboard music one could tackle and yet there we were transfixed by not only the tremendous aptitude of this performer but by the amazing sound and dynamic of his playing. You would be amazed too, if you were to plug into the Marlow Series. Its reputation attracts the best guitarists this temporal world offers.   What a gift to this community, unlike any other. And, Jorge Caballero confirmed for us Saturday just how fortunate we are to be on the receiving end of greatness.

Looking forward to hearing Antigoni Goni from Greece on February 25th at Westmoreland Congregational Church in Bethesda.

Deborah Drayer

Audience Review: Rene Izquierdo, CUBA

A couple with season tickets gave their friends a pair of tickets to experience Rene Izquierdo’s performance and this is what they said after the concert:

Cuban Guitars Rock!

At least one of them truly does.

Rene Izquierdo performed a dazzling array of Cuban and European guitar compositions to a full house last evening at the Westmoreland UCC church.  We loved every moment and thank you for the privilege of attending — in second row seats, no less.

Izquierdo introduced virtually every composition he played, providing his audience with helpful background.  The printed program added more.

Izquierdo’s mastery of his instrument was notable throughout the evening,
sometimes sounding like a harp, sometimes a harpsichord, sometimes a
dulcimer or a viola.  Amazing.

Thank you again,
Steve and Pat

Classical Guitarist Rene Izquierdo, Cuba

Welcome to the picture gallery for the performance by Rene Izquierdo, classical guitarist from Cuba. This includes photos of the pre-concert lecture by Javier Ferias as well as the Meet-The-Artist Reception.

Where the acoustics happen…

Ready for the Pre-Concert Lecture?

Sound check.

Pre-Concert Lecture: Javier Ferias

Meet-The-Artist Reception

Master Class: Rene Izquierdo at Montgomery College, Rockville

Friday, November 18, 2016, the International Conservatory of Music’s Outreach and Education program, in partnership with Montgomery College, Rockville (Maryland), presented Rene Izquierdo in a Master Class with 5 registered students and an audience of interested listeners.

Rene Izquierdo, CUBA, performs November 19, 2016


ri_med_sqRene Izquierdo’s effortless musicianship makes him one of the most admired guitarists of his generation. Recognized in Cuba from an early age as an extraordinary talent, Izquierdo began his education in Cuba, graduating from the Conservatorio Guillermo Tomás, the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán and the Superior Institute of Art in Havana. Izquierdo came to the United States to continue his studies at Yale, where he earned a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma degree.

In a rapid ascent from student to seasoned performer, Izquierdo has appeared as a soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has shared the stage with such greats as guitarist Eliot Fisk, flutist Ransom Wilson, soprano Lucy Shelton, and saxophonist Paquito d’Rivera. Renowned composers such as Jorge Morel and Carlos Rivera have dedicated works to him.

Izquierdo is the winner of many competitions in the US and Europe, including the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition, the Extremadura International Guitar Competition, the Schadt String Competition, and the Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition. He is currently professor of classical guitar at the Wisconsin State University.

Izquierdo has created a special program for his concert on the John E. Marlow Series, devoting first half of the program to classical repertoire, and the second half to Cuban music, including classical arrangements of many of the country’s most famous popular songs.

Concert is Saturday November 19 at 8pm, at the Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD, with the John E. Marlow Guitar Series.

Izquierdo will teach a master class on Friday November 18, 5pm at Montgomery College Rockville Campus. The class is open to the public.


For more information, call (301) 799-4028 and/or tickets, visit the Marlow website

Roland Dyens, France

Dear Board and friends,

The guitar world learned today the very sad news that Roland Dyens has passed away. He was a dear friend of the Marlow Series, playing for us 7 times (the very first Marlow concert I ever attended was a performance of his). I had recently been in touch with Roland’s manager Russ about his 2017-18 US tour dates and availability.

Although Roland looked very frail when I saw him last summer in Germany, he had great energy and warmth when he spoke about the Marlow Series, especially of Tim, Susan, Charlotte and David. He said his favorite story was driving with Tim on the highway and hitting a deer. Despite the terrible noise and the cracked windshield Tim’s quiet reaction of “Uh-oh” was to Roland the height of cool.

Roland’s contribution to the guitar world as a performer and composer is beyond measure. He leaves us with hundreds of works that expanded the palette of color possible in classical guitar, blending improvisation with exacting technique. Always free and expressive sounding, his scores reveal great care and detail of instructions so that performers could understand his unique vision for sound.

We have lost a great artist and Marlow friend, but his spirit and music will stay with us. We are so fortunate to have those wonderful performances in our memories.

Danielle Cumming, Artistic Director
The John E. Marlow Guitar Series

PICTURE GALLERY from October 13, 2012

PICTURE from 2010

A single drawing by International Conservatory of Music board member, Neil Doherty, 2010.


Billy Novick & Guy Van Duser, USA : April 22, 2017 8pm

bg_med_sqWe conclude with the great fun and sweet melodies of Swing jazz. This fabulous duo of guitar and clarinet will carry us through the Big Band, gypsy jazz and American Songbook eras.

“Smooth-struttin’ jazz and smokey blues…a rare fusion of emotion and intellect.”
– – Montreal Gazette

“A sound so full that it’s hard to believe only two people hold the stage.”
– – Calgary Herald

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now:
Music Clip:
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016, which is TODAY!

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo supplied by artist
Sponsored by Shereen Remez