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Burgess Plays Guitar with Brazilian Flair at PUC

Lauren Armstrong, February 22, 2012
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David Burgess, a critically acclaimed Latin guitarist, performed Sunday, February 19, as part of Pacific Union College’s Fine Arts Series. Burgess, who has spent years abroad studying the musical traditions of Brazil, played pieces by artists Aníbal Augusto Sardinha, Raphael Rabello, Vinicius de Moraes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The concert became more than just a musical performance, as Burgess paused often between songs to speak about the composers whose work he played, as well as Brazilian music in general. Burgess performed the concert on a seven-string guitar—virtually unheard-of in the U.S., but common in Brazil.

After Burgess finished the last piece on the program, he walked off the stage only to return a few seconds later to powerful applause. For his encore, Burgess played a piece written to imitate the sound of the berimbau, an African-influenced Brazilian string instrument.

“He’s been really great to work with,” said Rachelle Berthelson-Davis, chair of the PUC music department. Davis was glad to have Burgess here, she said, as his music “speaks to something broader than traditional Western music.” She also mentioned that she thinks Burgess’ music will enhance this quarter’s world music class at PUC.

Burgess has studied with a number of renowned guitarists, including Manuel López Ramos, Oscar Ghiglia, and Andrés Segovia. His performances have taken him all over the globe. Burgess has been a guitar instructor at the University of Washington and the Cornish Institute of the Arts, and he now resides in New York City.