April 13, 2016//
Meet Matthew Dunne. The UTSA music professor is partnering with Arts San Antonio to give UTSA guitar students the opportunity to play for Sérgio Assad, one of the world's greatest classical guitarists.
Sérgio has been an inspiration for me for years. When I can share something that inspires me with my students, that's even more rewarding.”
– Matthew Dunne
The unique experience, 20 years in the making, started when Dunne met Assad and his brother, Odair, through the late guitar builder Thomas Humphrey. Dunne has brought the duo to San Antonio for the Southwest Guitar Festival at UTSA twice, including commissioning a concerto composed by Sérgio that was premiered by the San Antonio Symphony and Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Dunne also has composed a set of pieces for the Assad duo.
In addition to receiving instruction from Sérgio Assad, who will teach the masterclass, UTSA students and alumni will play original compositions for Assad to critique. It's a life changing opportunity for these young musicians.
"It's very exciting for me too," Dunne said. "Sérgio has been an inspiration for me for years. When I can share something that inspires me with my students, that's even more rewarding."
Dunne hopes the masterclass becomes a unique opportunity the UTSA guitar students will never forget.
"Classical guitar is a difficult and sometimes solitary pursuit," Dunne said. "You have to spend a lot of time by yourself practicing. The opportunity to share your music with other people and especially with someone of this stature, it's very unusual. You need these kinds of things to keep going."
The masterclass takes place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 14 on the UTSA Downtown Campus. It's free and open to the public.
"The UTSA guitar program is excellent and attracts really good students," Dunne said. "The students learn not only from me but from each other, and it's a very supportive environment."
Most of the program's alumni have developed careers in music; teaching, performing, and composing. They are frequent recipients of competitive scholarships and fellowships at leading graduate music programs, competing internationally for these awards.
"I'm proud that our guitar alumni has had such success in a very competitive field," said Dunne.
Since Dunne joined the College of Liberal and Fine Arts faculty in 1993, he's composed music for several acclaimed CDs, including a Grammy winner, and taught classical and jazz guitar throughout the United States and Mexico. He is the only artist to have won three awards from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. He recently wrote a soundtrack for the independent film, "Upon the Awful Tree," which was recorded with UTSA faculty and members of the San Antonio Symphony.
The Assad brothers, along with Sérgio's daughter, vocalist Clarice Assad, will also perform at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14. Tickets are available through Arts San Antonio.
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