Audience Reflections: Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist from SPAIN

ME_Med_SQMargarita Escarpa performance March 18, 2017

by Deborah Drayer

The John E. Marlow Series had nearly a full house on Saturday as Margarita Escarpa graced Westmoreland Congregational Church with its magnificent acoustics and a program of Spanish and Mexican music punctuated by Wolfgang Lendle’ stunning take on Caprice No.24 by Paganini. We often hear Spanish music from guitarists of varying nationalities, but hearing it direct from this genuinely accomplished Spaniard was an extra special treat. While many of us are more familiar with the likes of Rodrigo, Albeniz, Ponce, Tarrega and Piazzolla however, it was the Variations Capricieuses d’apres Paganini that demanded the most technically of Margarita even as some variations leaned into the humorous for effect.

The Lendle Paganini arranges the original thematic material for solo violin for the modern acoustic guitar, introducing fingering Paganini himself might have found challenging had he been a guitarist. Scales and arpeggios fly off the strings with enormous effect but only if both of the artist’s hands are up to it. Fortunately for the assembled, Ms. Escarpa had no difficulty meeting the challenge and any less calloused player would have walked away with a box of band aids in their pockets. But, Margarita needed no first aid and came back for the second half of the program with fingertips intact and serenaded us with habaneras and tangos by Tarrega, Sainz de la Maza and Piazzolla, as well as Ponce’s now rarely performed Variations sur “Folia de Espanaet Fuge.

Margarita was the last of our classical guitarists on this season’s program but Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser will end the season on an upbeat swing-jazz note you won’t want to miss. So make a calendar note for April 22 at 8:00 p.m. at WCC on the Westmoreland Circle.

Minor edits provided by ICM.

Photo Gallery: Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist, SPAIN

Photos from the Margarita Escarpa performance, Saturday, March 18, 2017.

The venue
Amanie Oubrahim, 2017 Beatty Music CompetitionGrand Prize winner : Sound Check
Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist from Spain, Sound check
Pre-Concert Lecture: Esperanza Berroco
Esperanza Berroco
Amy Crews Cutts, Executive Director of the Beatty Competition
Amy Crews Cutts wins the Guitar Raffle (guitar from Brian Litz)

From the Meet-The-Artist Reception:

Education and Outreach Director, Joao Figueiroa, Founder, Tim Healy, Margarita Escarpa, BOD Emeritus, Susan Healy, Artistic Director, Danielle Cumming

Margarita Escarpa, SPAIN: March 18, 2017 8pm

me_med_sqSpanish guitarist Margarita Escarpa, a Marlow audience favorite, celebrates her Marlow return with a special program of Spanish and Mexican repertoire.

A winner of international competitions, Margarita combines impressive technique with warm interpretation and musicality.

“ … Escarpa held the audience under her seductive and bewitching spell. She indeed is a musical sorceress.”
The Tribune, Salt Lake City

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.

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

Sponsored by Duane Morse

Getting ready for the John E. Marlow Guitar Season 2016-2017!


Dear friends,

You may have already seen one reminder that went out about one of our artists just today. It gave me an excuse to write up a post that describes the entire season.

In case you haven’t visited our Facebook page or our ticket website, this is where you can get your Season tickets: and listen to music clip samples.

jv_med_sqJason Vieaux, USA
Saturday, October 22, 2016

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here




ri_med_sqRene Izquierdo, CUBA
Saturday, November 19, 2016

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here




zd_med_sqZoran Dukic, CROATIA
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cultural Arts Center Montgomery College
7995 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD 20910

Get your Season Tickets Here




ag_med_sqAntigoni Goni, GREECE
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here




me_med_sqMargarita Escarpa, SPAIN
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here




bg_med_sqSaturday, April 22, 2017

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Billy Novick & Guy Van Duser, USA

Get your Season Tickets Here

Outreach: Marco Socias, Classical Guitarist from Spain – Hagerstown, MD

On Friday October 23, 2015, internationally renowned guitarist Marco Socias visited the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he shared stories and played selections from Spanish guitar repertoire for over 100 attentive students. The mission of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is to provide every student with a rigorous, comprehensive, college preparatory curriculum rooted in intense, pre-professional training in the arts that encourages excellence and success in their personal development as students, artists and cultural leaders. 1

Mr. Socias’ visit supported this mission by showcasing a world-class level of classical guitar performance to an audience of students from various arts disciplines. He shared his expertise about effective practice habits,discussed his lifestyle and extensive travels as a professional performing artist,and offered the opportunity for high school students to engage in a session of questions and answers. In addition to his remarkable musicianship, Mr. Socias’ warm personality and enthusiasm contributed to the positive response from the students, faculty and administration in attendance. For at least one pupil majoring in guitar studies, Mr. Socias’ performance was her first experience hearing live, classical guitar outside of the practice room.

Candice Mowbray

1 Retrieved from, December 9, 2015.

Photos: Classical Guitarist Marco Socias, Spain

Spanish guitarist Marco Socías endeared himself to the John E. Marlow Guitar audience in 2012 with a flawless concert featuring beautiful renditions of Spanish compositions. We welcomed back this remarkable artist in November.

“Marco Socías’ music breathes sweetness and sensitivity. His easy command makes the public forget the traditional difficulties of the instrument. Marco Socías is not a guitar virtuoso. He is even more: a virtuoso of music itself.”
El Sol

Review #2:Tamayo-Montesinos Duo, Classical Guitarists from Cuba and Spain

JEMGSweb_squares_MT-smDouble Delight — that’s what we heard on the second concert of the 2013 – 2014 John E. Marlow Guitar Series on November 23rd, and this dynamic duo did not fail to please. 

Performers like this are the reason why the Marlow series, in its 20th Season, has become such an international showcase for the finest classical guitarists in the world today.  We have been blessed, extremely so, as the result of untiring efforts on the parts of Tim and Susan Healy, Regis Ferruzza, Carol Marlow, Joan Collings and many others who, over the years, have dedicated themselves to building an establishment well-regarded by the greater Baltimore-Washington community and far beyond. 

When performers the likes of the Tamayo-Montesinos Duo grace our hall, there’s no escaping the fact that time and dedication pay off for the artists, for those who work to provide the platform for their art, and, not least, for those who have the reliable opportunity to hear exceptional music.

This adorable couple hail from the exquisite city of Salzburg, Austria, but it was not always so.  She is Spanish, he is Cuban, and they met at an international competition when she was too young to date, but there was a spark there from the beginning which ultimately produced, for our listening pleasure, the fine output of music we heard on the 23rd which waltzed us through the centuries between Sor and Koshkin.

The first half of their program superbly demonstrated the great command they have of the repertoire of Bach, Sor and Paganini!  Try starting out with that handful of notes (although I might of eased into it with the Sor first).  Bach’s Concerto BWV 971, after Vivaldi, has a delightful catch-me-if-you-can third movement which sweetly defined the dynamic between the two talents whereas Sor’s L’Encouragement offered us introspection and perspective on a work which highlighted the players perfect synchronization of the musical text – what a lesson it was.  Then, the Prima Sonata (originally for violin and guitar) by Paganini spun us into a fast, faster, fastest frenzy that simply charmed the programs right out of the hands of the listeners.

For their second act, the audience was fully engaged by Leo Brouwer’s transcriptions of three Lennon-McCartney songs which I, for one, had a hard time not singing along to…  The take away from this was, it was too darned bad they didn’t have a recording of it because I would have purchased the lot and sent them to friends at the four corners of the earth for the holidays!  Hopefully, Anabel and Marco will record them soon and make Paul McCartney the first recipient of the first disc off the press.  What a superb and wholly imaginative interpretation of these transcribed songs.  Please, WETA, play this over and over again ASAP!!!!

Then, Koshkin’s ragtime movement in the Cambridge Suite beguiled us for a while before the last piece by Menken (transcribed by Marco himself) painted a whole new image of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid.  For a decidedly classically bent constituency, the second half of the program reimagined the 20th century and gave us something new and fresh to take out in our heads on the way home.

Wow, this is why I love this series.  It has it all:  a range of musical history without being stodgy or dated, performed within the disciplined hands of gifted artists with fresh ears and outstanding talent to boot.  Who could ask for anything more?

-Deborah Drayer
Silver Spring, MD