Performance Review for Chispa: Pimentel Concert Series, Ana Vidovic

By. Marisa Abeyta

In partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC), Pimentel Music established the Pimentel Concert Series, a series of performances of guitar concerts that began in 2011. This past Saturday I attended the seventh concert in the series, featuring world-renowned classical guitarist, Ana Vidovic (pronounced vee-doh-vih-ch). Saturday’s concert was presented in tribute to the founders of Pimentel & Sons Guitarmakers, the late Lorenzo Pimentel and his wife Josefina, who have provided world-class custom guitars to musicians worldwide for over half a century. The entire Pimentel family attended the concert, including Josefina, who I had the greatest honor of meeting. I will forever treasure this rare performance as it might be the last time I am completely surrounded by elite musicians’ right here in my hometown, the “Land of Enchantment.”

Reigning from the small town of Karlovac near Zagreb, Croatia, Ms. Vidovic started playing guitar at the age of 5. By age 11, she was performing internationally. Since then, she’s performed at over one thousand public performances in premier cities like New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Tel Aviv, San Francisco and more. Adding to her impressive talent, she has won top prizes at various international competitions, including first prize in the Albert Augustine International Competition in Bath, England and the Fernando Sor competition in Rome, Italy. Adding to her variety, she’s performed with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Croatian Radio and Television, and she’s been featured in three television documentaries.

Upon arrival, I was introduced to my partner’s former teacher who was attending the concert with a student of Gustavo Pimentel’s. It was heart-warming to see so many musicians and music lovers attending the event, and it reminded me how close-knit the music community in Albuquerque truly is. Beginning with Fernando Sol: Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9., Ms. Vidovic chose a personal favorite and classic piece that many are familiar with. The second piece was Federico Moreno Torroba – Sonatina (Allegretto, Andante, Allegro). Federico Moreno Torroba – Sonatina (Allegro), in particular, was especially delightful. I closed my eyes and let her take me on a hypnotic and rhythmic adventure along the beaches of Croatia. How invigorating she was to listen to! At the end of the piece, she gently guided me to an alluring backdrop of a fiery Croatia sunset.

Agustin Barrios Mangore: Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios was a rare treat for everyone because she played it on a customized guitar made by Pimentel & Sons Guitarmakers. The finely calibrated Pimentel guitar produced a distinctive sound that amplified each note to become more aesthetically pleasing. It was a blessing to hear two amazing masterpieces together on one stage. She finished the first half of her performance with Isaac Albeniz – (Granada, Asturias). It was a nice transition in dynamic from soft tunes to rapid, feel-good tempos. Embarrassingly, it took me until the second half of the concert to realize that she wasn’t using a guitar pick. Her fingers moved so swiftly that even if I was front and center, I would still think she’s a magician! It sounds mystical, but that’s the presence that Ms. Vidovic brings to the stage—she’s a true master of her art!

The second half of her performance began with Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998 (Edited for Guitar by Frank Koonce). It’s a gift to hear a professional pianist play Bach, but it’s an even greater gift to hear Bach played by Ms. Vidovic! Following Bach was Toru Takemitsu: From 12 Songs For Guitar Yesterday. From there, she took the audience into another series of Preludio saudade, Andante religioso and Allegro solemne with Augustin Barrios Mangore: La Catedral. Finally, she finished with Antonio Lauro: El Marabino, Vals Venezolano No 2, Vals Venezolano No 3. At the end of her performance, my body was moving to the tempo and my head was nodding in synchronicity with the melody.

Watch Ana Vidovic play Augustin Barrios Mangore: La Catedral (Allegro solemne)

Her stage presence is simply impressive. There’s something beautiful about watching the passion of a guitarist and their hand-mind connection with the song. She received four standing ovations throughout the performance! As a feminist, I appreciate her being chosen for the Pimentel Concert Series. She is one of only a few female classical guitarists among a sea of male counterparts. When she offered to play one last finale on the Pimentel guitar, everyone applauded and praised her like she was a Queen in the “Land of Enchantment.”

The concert was sponsored in part by Hector Pimentel, RE/MAX Advantage, Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town Gardunos restaurant and Albuquerque Print Works.
I would like send a special thanks to the NHCC for hosting the event and Pimentel Guitars for helping fund the event.

For more information on Ana Vidovic, visit her website: www.anavidovic.com

Check out some of the amazing craftsmanship by Pimentel & Sons Guitarmakers.

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