Jim Drake's Entertainment Blog: Classical guitarist Luciano Marazzo plays Feb. 16

Classical guitar music is inspiring. Although I’ve never devoted any serious time trying to learn it, my $40 purchase of a 1970s Favilla brand classical guitar still remains in my “collection” of instruments. Favilla was a short-lived guitar company based in New York City that apparently made good quality instruments, and since mine still survives (albiet without the original finish) maybe it’s time to take the plunge and learn a piece.

Luciano Marazzo has been to the Gorge before. It’s a bit embarassing, but when I contacted him the other day, he enthusiastically remembered me from a previous conversation we had, which must have been several years ago. So it was great to make the connection again when he reminded me that he had played at AniChe Cellars last summer, and was also at the restaurant Romul’s a couple of times.

Luciano has a Masters degree in classical guitar and a Masters degree of music for voice (he sings opera — tenor). Born in Buenos Aires, he now travels the world playing and teaching his music, and I think we’re pretty fortunate that he’ll be playing at The Pines Tasting Room on Feb. 16 from 6-9 p.m.

“My repertoire consists of classical and romantic music mainly from Europe and South America. I will include renowned pieces such as ‘Capriccio Arabo’ and ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’ by the Spanish composer Francisco Tarrega,” Luciano said.

Luciano mentioned that he has been playing at different wineries for the last few years, and it’s a good fit with the kind of music he plays.

“The beauty of featuring Spanish music in the wineries I play for is elevating because there is a connection between Spain, wine, and classical guitar. Therefore, if the winery has a mind-blowing tempranillo (or a Primitivo), I trick my brain to play with extra emotions.”

Apparently his upcoming show has been in the works for quite some time, and Luciano’s current schedule in California and Oregon is bringing him to the Gorge.

“I met Allison Palmer (of The Pines) and we established a good professional friendship. We have been talking about playing at The Pines for about 8 months, but we had no chance to coordinate until now,” Luciano said.

Since it is common for classical music to be played by larger groups and orchestras, I asked Luciano if playing this kind of music in smaller venues changes his approach or style.

“I love playing for small audiences. The main difference is that there's an intimacy created by the audience. In a large room, I am in charge of creating the atmosphere and the main focus becomes the music. On the other hand, when I play in tasting rooms, my performance is tailored to the audience. We build a relationship and a big part of the performance gravitates around the audience. The music is a service to enhance the experience of the wine tasting. In a concert, the music is the service.”

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