Guitarist Vieaux Joins CSO for ‘An Evening in Spain’


Jason Vieaux has performed Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” more times than he can keep track of. It is somewhere between 170 and 200, he said.

Vieaux will perform the piece again at 8:15 p.m. August 16 in the Amphitheater with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in a concert titled “An Evening in Spain.”

The concert, the third and final performance in the 2016 “Into the Music” series, will also feature Manuel de Falla’s “El Amor Brujo” and Gerónimo Giménez’s “Las Bodas de Luis Alonso.”

The series provides audience members with short introductions and explanations of the compositions being played, said Rossen Milanov, CSO principal conductor and music director.

“It is always important to educate audiences about where the music comes from,” said Vieaux, who has played with the CSO once before. “And the numbers have shown that audiences respond really well to this.”

This concert format has proved especially effective for younger audiences who may not have a point of reference of where classical music is coming from, Vieaux said.

To provide better understanding of where his solo piece originates, Vieaux described the setting and composer.

“Concierto de Aranjuez,” written in 1939, refers to the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez in Spain, a countryside retreat built for nobility in the 16th century, according to Vieaux.

The gardens were refurbished in the 18th century, when Rodrigo and his wife took their honeymoon there.

Vieaux described the concerto as a “musical snapshot of their time there.”

Rodrigo’s popular piece does not stand alone in Vieaux’s repertoire of Spanish music.

Earlier in his career, Vieaux made recordings of entirely Spanish music. His 2015 Grammy award-winning album Play incorporated several Spanish selections.

Winning the Grammy proved especially rewarding because he was chosen to receive the award by his colleagues, said Vieaux, who holds a spot as one of the 13,000 voting members.

Vieaux also founded the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar and the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition, he teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Vieaux started his school four years ago as an online, subscription-based school for classical guitar. The school is formatted not in live Skype sessions, but by sending videos back and forth.

“It gives advantage to the students because they can take my comments and work on them, and then have several takes so I see them at their best,” Vieaux said.

The guitar department at Curtis has a very rigorous selection process, and only a small amount of students attend. Vieaux said the program typically only has four students at a time.

“We are seeing and hearing some of the finest young players from around the world,” Vieaux said. “It is great to mentor and teach incredible talent like that.”

Julia Mericle

The author Julia Mericle

Julia Mericle is a journalism/mass communication and English student at St. Bonaventure University in the class of ’17. She is reporting on the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Contact her at