Las Vegas, N.M — A New Mexico Highlands University music student is one of only 10 students worldwide selected to participate in a Summer Guitar Institute in Tuscany, Italy.
Daniel Torres, an 18-year-old Las Vegas, N.M. native, will train at the Volterra Project from July 10 — 18. The project is an innovative experiment in classical guitar training founded and directed by acclaimed Italian guitarist Antigoni Goni.
A concert to raise funds for Torres’ travel expenses will be June 2 at 6 p.m. in the First United Presbyterian Church, 1000 Douglas Ave., Las Vegas.
“For the concert, I selected what I think is the most beautiful music from a variety of musical periods, including baroque, renaissance, classical and romantic,” Torres said.
He will perform guitar solos as well as duets with Highlands music faculty, including guitarist Roberto Capocchi, vocalist Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, and flautist Billie Matthews. Recent vocal performance graduate Nicole Robinson, a soprano, will also perform with Torres.
Torres said he started teaching himself how to play guitar at the age of 13, when his sister bought him an inexpensive guitar. As a senior at West Las Vegas High School last year, he began studying classical guitar with Capocchi and Las Vegas guitarist Carl Bernstein.
“I fell in love with the tranquil, flowing harmonies of classical guitar,” Torres said. “I feel very lucky to have had the privilege of studying here in Las Vegas with two of the most successful and talented guitarists in the U.S.”
Last year, Torres auditioned for the high school All-State Classical Guitar Ensemble and performed as first chair. Next, he was selected for the New Mexico Honor Guard Ensemble, composed of the ten most proficient high school classical guitarists.
In fall 2011, Torres enrolled in the Department of Music as a vocal performance major. He continued to study with Capocchi.
“Roberto teaches beyond the notes on the score to the emotion within the music,” Torres said. “He is passionate about teaching and is my biggest inspiration. He hears about worldwide music events and recommended that I apply to the Volterra Project.
“The music faculty at Highlands is a treasure because they teach music on a personal level to students,” Torres said.
His work with the Volterra Project will be Torres’ first trip abroad, and his excitement is building.
“I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the instrument at the guitar institute. My trip to Italy will be an incredible opportunity to grow as a musician,” Torres said.
Torres said after he completes his music degree at Highlands, he plans to complete a master’s degree in guitar performance, and eventually earn a doctorate in music theory and composition.
While admission is free for the June 2 concert, donations are gratefully accepted. Proceeds will help Torres with his airfare and other expenses for the Summer Guitar Institute.