Guitar, Composer
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
7:30 pm EST
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Wednesday, February 23, 2022
9:00 am EST
WPAC Instrumental Hall
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Born into a musical family in Mococa, São Paulo, Brazil, Sergio Assad began creating music for the guitar not long after he began playing the instrument. Sérgio Assad is a Brazilian guitarist, composer, and arranger who often performs with his brother, Odair Assad in the guitar duo Sérgio and Odair Assad, commonly referred to as Assad Brothers or Duo Assad, described by many as the finest pairing of guitarists currently before the public. Their musical family also includes their younger sister guitarist/composer Badi Assad and Sérgio’s daughter composer/singer/pianist Clarice Assad.

Sergio has given many solo concerts, as well, often playing his own compositions, which make up a fairly substantial output of mostly guitar music, the bulk scored for one, two, or four guitars. Many of these compositions employ other instruments as well, including violin, cello, and clarinet. A small number are large works, including the ballet Espantalho for chamber orchestra, and Concerto Originis for two guitars, violin, and chamber orchestra.

As a composer Assad has completed more than fifty works for guitar, many of which have become standards in the guitar repertoire. His “Aquarelle” for solo guitar was chosen as the required contemporary work for the 2002 Guitar Foundation of America Competition in Miami. In 2007, he wrote the set piece for the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Competition named “Valsa de Outono”. Assad’s orchestral compositions include the ballet “Scarecrow”, the concerto “Mikis” for guitar and strings, “Fantasia Carioca” for two guitars which he and Odair premiered with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1998, “Interchange”, a concerto for guitar quartet and orchestra premiered by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet with the San Antonio Symphony in 2009, the concerto “Originis” for violin, guitar duo, and orchestra recorded live with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and the concerto “Phases” for guitar duo and orchestra premiered in 2011 by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra with the Assad Brothers as soloists. His new guitar concerto “Voyages: The GuitART Concerto” was written for Mesut Ozgen to be premiered at the 2022 Miami International GuitART Festival.

Over the last twenty years Assad has concentrated most of his efforts on building a repertoire for the guitar duo. He has extended the possibilities of the two-guitar combination through his arrangements of Latin American music by composers such as Piazzolla, Villa Lobos, and Ginastera as well as Baroque to Modern music by Scarlatti, Rameau, Soler, Bach, Mompou, Ravel, Debussy, and Gershwin among others. He has completed over 300 arrangements for different chamber music settings arrangements for Gidon Kremer, Dawn Upshaw, Yo Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, TrioConBrio, Iwao Furusawa, Paquito D’Rivera, Turtle Island String Quartet, L.A. Quartet, Luciana Souza, and Vancouver Cantata Singers.

Sergio Assad began making regular concert tours of the Americas and Europe with his brother from about 1969. He has compiled a large discography, both as a soloist and with Odair, and the recordings have appeared on a variety of labels, including EMI, Naxos, Nonesuch, Sony, and Gha. The Assads’ repertory includes many standards (via transcription), including J.S. Bach, Scarlatti, Debussy, and Gershwin, as well as contemporary and popular Brazilian and Latin music.