Tucson Guitar Quartet is comprised of great musicians that have been brought together by their passion for guitar chamber music. Their concerts include repertoire from the baroque as well as modern contemporary music with an emphasis on the Latin-American repertoire, including arrangements of folkloric and traditional music. The members of the group George Ramirez (Arizona), Alfredo Vazquez (Arizona), Michael Nigro ( California), and José Luis Puerta (Puerto Rico). For the upcoming season, The Tucson Guitar Quartet will perform a rich selection of music celebrating Latin American culture. Their program will feture music from Astor Piazzolla, Leo Brouwer, Juan Morel Campos, Julio César Oliva, and Sergio Assad. The lively rhythms and passionate melodies will transport you to Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, México, and Brazil. Known for their engaging and expressive performances this concert is not to be missed!
George Ramirez is an active performer and instructor for a multitude of fretted instruments in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Making his professional debut at the age of 16, he has had the opportunity to perform in venues such as St. Stephens Cathedral (Vienna), Munich Cathedral, Mannes College, and the Riverside Cathedral of New York amongst others. In support of his endeavors, George has been the recipient of many prizes and grants including PepsiCo Foundation, Target Scholarships, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, University of Arizona Honors Research Grant, and competitions such as The William Wolf Guitar Competition and Thomas Schaffer Competition. He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance at the University of Arizona, additional musical instruction came via Salzburg, Austria’s Mozarteum SommerAkademie with guitarist Marco Tamayo. As a supporter of the community, he has directed festivals for young guitarists in the Phoenix area in collaboration with Maryvale High School, Arizona School for the Arts, and Camelback High School. Additionally, George can be seen performing in the Tucson Guitar Quartet, and Duo Legadi.
Alfredo Vazquez has been amazing on the stage since the age of 17 after his solo debut in Salzburg, Austria. Mr. Vazquez has won and placed in many competitions such as the William Wolf Competition, Thomas Schaffer Competition, Maricopa County Artist of Promise Competition, and most recently the Memphis International Competition. Along with competing and performing, Mr. Vazquez has been teaching and further contributing to the music education world. While in his early music education at Glendale Community College, under the tutelage of Charles Hulihan in classical guitar performance, he was a tutor and section leader for many of the beginning guitar classes and ensembles. While studying primarily with Prof. Tom Patterson and Dr. Renato Serrano at the University of Arizona while earning his bachelor’s in music, Mr. Vazquez had the opportunity to have multiple lessons with Grammy award winners David Russell, Sergio Assad, and Odair Assad every year. Mr. Vazquez has performed in many masterclasses with world-renowned artists such as Marcin Dylla, Judicael Perroy, Rene Izquierdo, Carlos Perez, and Vladimir Gorbach. In 2014 Mr. Vazquez won 1st place in the William Wolf Competition, winning a 2015 Jeremey Cooper guitar.
Michael Anthony Nigro has performed across the United States and in South America, giving concerts and masterclasses for numerous universities, performing arts centers, church concert series, guitar societies, libraries, and museums, including the Auditorio Juan Victoria in San Juan, Argentina, the Salon Parroquial Conciertos “El Rincón” in Villa-General Belgrano, Argentina and guitar societies in Portland, Sacramento, Colorado Springs, Jefferson, Knoxville, Bloomington and Ventura County. Michael’s discography includes “Homage to Piazzolla,” which received critical acclaim from the American Record Guide, and Classical Guitar Magazine, “Guitar Sudamericana,” featuring the compositions of José Luis Merlín, Jorge Morel, Eduardo Falú, Antonio Lauro,and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Most recently, “A Journey through Latin America” showcases music by Gentil Montaña, Isáac Albéniz, Francisco Tárrega, and José Luis Merlín. For 12 years, Michael was the program director of the guitar program at Vanguard University, where he established a comprehensive program that produced many talented guitarists that have gone on to win several competitions. He currently lives in Tucson, AZ where he teaches guitar at the Academy of Math and Science.
José Luis Puerta has performed in Puerto Rico at the Mayagüez Guitar Festival, Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in México, Canada, Spain, and throughout the United States. He’s been featured in the University of Arizona Alumni Magazine (Spring 2016), Acoustic Guitar (Fall 2017), and in Tucson Guitar Orchestra Strings Along, for Arizona Public Media. He has been invited to perform for the Treasure Coast Guitar Society and on Sunday at the Garden Concert Series on numerous occasions as a duo, ensemble, and conductor. José Luis has been teaching guitar since early in his career. His experience encompasses elementary, middle, and high school students as well as college level. He has taught music appreciation, world music as well as individual lessons, ensemble coaching, and masterclasses. Most recently he has been teaching as part of Lead Guitar, a not-for-profit organization that teaches guitar to at-risk students. In addition to his teaching, José Luis is currently the conductor and director of the Tucson Guitar Society Orchestra. The TGSO has performed throughout the state in Green Valley, Phoenix, and Flagstaff, and at the Phoenix Regional Symposium for the Guitar Foundation of America. In collaborations with the Arizona Guitar Orchestra, and have toured the state of Arizona ensembles from ASU and GCC. Most recently with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. José Luis has been an active board member of the Tucson Guitar Society since 2010. As an ethnomusicologist, Jose Luis’s emphasis has been on Latin American music, focusing on plucked strings ensembles such as the rondallas, trios, and guitar quartets, and their use as a pedagogical tool. He has presented his research at the Ciclo Sonoro in Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana in Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil; the Fourth International Symposium on Latin American Music in Tucson, USA; Society for Ethnomusicology Southwest Chapter in Flagstaff, USA; Society for Ethnomusicology 61th Annual Meeting as a chair session in Washington D.C., USA. He has contributed two entries for the soon to be release SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, “Reguetón,” and, “Lute Chordophones.” Also, he contributed guitar arrangements for the textbook The Course of Mexican Music, Routledge. José Luis graduated Cum Laude and was awarded the Guitar Department medal for the most outstanding guitar student of the year at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, where he studied with Leonardo Egúrbida and Ivan Rijos. He holds a Masters’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona in guitar performance with a minor in Ethnomusicology, where he was sponsored by the Arizona Scholars Program. During his graduate degrees, he studied with Tom Patterson and artist in residence David Russell, Sergio, and Odair Assad. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan Puerto Rico.