July 2nd, 2020

World-famous classical guitarist to open Symphony Series

By Kuhl, Nick on October 7, 2019.

Guitarist Iliana Matos, centre, and conductor Glenn Klassen lead a rehearsal by the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra of Rodrigos famous Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra Sunday afternoon at Southminster United Church. The LSO opens its 2019-20 season with a full performance Monday night. Herald photo by Nick Kuhl @NKuhlHerald

Nick Kuhl

Lethbridge Herald


World-famous classical guitarist Iliana Matos is set to make her Canadian orchestral debut.

The good news for local music fans: it will be here in southern Alberta, as she will join the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra to open the 59th Symphony Series and the 2019-20 concert series tonight at Southminster United Church.

Matos and a 64-piece orchestra conducted a final rehearsal on Sunday at Southminster United Church in preparation for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. performance dubbed “Series 1 – Sizzlin’ Serenades” featuring Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra.

“It’s probably the most famous concierto for classical guitar. I think every single guitarist has the goal to perform this concierto once in their lifetime,” said Matos, who is originally from Cuba. She lived in Spain for two decades before moving to Lethbridge join the University of Lethbridge Department of Music faculty a few years ago.

“We’re very lucky in Lethbridge to have her choose to live here,” said LSO musical director Glenn Klassen. “There’s something about Spanish music – it’s so visceral.”

“Widely recognized as one of the world’s top 10 classical guitarists, the symphony was keen to work with her from the word go,” says LSO executive director Melanie Gattiker. “If you’ve never been to a symphony concert, this first one is sure to appeal to a broad range of musical tastes.”

The 2019-20 season continues Nov. 18 with “Series 2 – Wunder-Kids.” It will be a tribute to young people and will feature 14-year-old Edmonton violinist Jacques Forestier, who won the Lethbridge Symphony’s 2018 Biennial Young Artist Competition, performing Mozart, plus an opener by Schubert and Beethoven’s Third Symphony (Eroica).

Tickets for tonight’s “Series 1 – Sizzlin’ Serenades,” meanwhile, range from $25 to $75, and are available at http://www.LethbridgeSymphony.org and by calling 403-328-6808, extension 101.

“Musicians are always a bit nervous,” Matos said. “But it’s the nerves that make you feel something special is going to happen. It’s very exciting for me. It’s pretty special for me. For me, music is dead when it’s on the paper as sheet music. We make it alive. That is so special. I hope everyone has a nice time. I hope this concierto helps develop a love for classical guitar here in Lethbridge.”

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