Cross-posted from Scoop

Montiel strums for students at Arts & Resilience
Written by: Jonathan Garris, Office of Communications

Students, faculty, and staff at McGovern Medical School enjoyed performances of classic South American and Latin American musicians by Alejandro Montiel, D.M.A., a Houston-based guitarist, educator, and recording artist, Nov. 13 as part of this month’s Arts & Resilience program, a series of events designed to link the arts and humanities with medicine, in a performance presented by Aperio, Music of the Americas.

Montiel, who teaches at Lone Star College-Montgomery and Sam Houston State University, performed a series of songs on an acoustic guitar, tracing the roots of Latin American guitarists. He began with a piece by Agustín Barrios, a Paraguayan classic guitarist and composer, who Montiel said has influenced a broad variety of composers throughout South America and Mexico.

“What I find fascinating about Barrios is that he traveled all over the South American continent,” Montiel said. “Back then, tours for musicians weren’t the same in the modern sense – traveling musicians would actually live in the country and assimilate into the culture.”

Montiel continued with performances from Brazilian composers and Venezuelan composers like Antonio Lauro. He played a set of 10 consecutive pieces of music composed by Leo Brouwer, a Cuban composer and classical guitarist and finished his program with a selection by Roland Dyens, the French classical guitarist.

Montiel said he first became interested in playing the guitar when he was 15 years old and wanted to play in a band with a group of friends. At the time, he was playing an electric bass guitar but became enamored with an acoustic guitar when he heard a friend playing it one day.

“I heard him playing and I remember saying ‘You can do that on a guitar,’ and he excitedly said yes,” Montiel said. “After that I wanted to play and shortly thereafter I started taking lessons.”

Aside from his experience in education, Montiel was a finalist in the Texas Guitar Competition & Festival in 2006 and 2007. He performs as a founding member of the Texas Guitar Quartet and takes pride in being able to share his music with a diverse audience.

“It’s nice to bring joy to people, if only for an hour,” He said.

The next event in the Arts & Resilience Program will be held at noon, Tuesday, Dec. 11 in MSB 3.001. It will be focused on Middle Eastern Music and will feature Erin Foster. The program is sponsored by the Dean’s Office in collaboration with the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. For more information and a schedule, visit the program’s website here.