Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar”, Pablo Sainz Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist. With his “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” as described by The New York Times, his interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of Rioja, his homeland’s rich musical heritage. He is known for his passionate, emotive and open-hearted playing, whether he is performing at intimate recital halls, or playing with beloved tenor, Plácido Domingo, to an audience of over 85,000 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, where maestro Domingo hailed him as “the master of the guitar”.
Routinely drawing comparisons with such legendary exponents of his instrument as Andrés Segovia, Sáinz Villegas has already appeared on some of the world’s most prestigious stages as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and most recently at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Known for a sound so rich and full that it does not need amplification, his concerto performances regularly inspire new invitations and immediate reengagements as a featured soloist with orchestras in more than 30 countries, including Pittsburgh, Bergen and Israel Philharmonic, as well as Cincinnati, Spanish National and Denmark Symphonies. He made a series of important debuts under the baton of Frühbeck de Burgos, and has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with conductors including Juanjo Mena, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Carlos Kalmar, Michael Francis, Gustavo Gimeno and Cristian Macelaru.
Sáinz Villegas wrapped up a thriving 2015-16 season, performing on a floating stage on the Amazon River with Plácido Domingo, which was live streamed worldwide to millions. Additionally, he gave the world premiere of Rounds, the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams, and accomplished a summer tour through Japan with the National Orchestra of Spain. The 17-18 season will see Sáinz Villegas debuting at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra at the Millennium Park in Chicago, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in Oslo and Orquesta de Minería in Mexico City, to name a few. Sáinz Villegas will also be playing concerts throughout the United States with several performances worldwide, including New York’s 92nd Street Y, Urbana’s Krannert Center, Napa Valley’s Lincoln Theater and at South Miami-Dade Cultural Center.
Sáinz Villegas continuously searches for ways to communicate with young audiences and to inspire them with music. A born communicator, the guitarist explains: “Music is among things we cannot touch and that is what makes it most powerful”. Over the last decade, he has created projects that bring music beyond the performance halls, reaching more than 15,000 children and youth through volunteering his time, establishing music programs, visiting schools and creating unique community activities around the globe. His efforts have granted him invitations to play for both the Dalai Lama and the Spanish Royal Family.
An active recording artist, Billboard Magazine recently named him “the global ambassador of Spanish guitar” after his latest solo album, Americano, quickly made its debut to the top 15 on their charts under the PIAS | Harmonia Mundi USA label. Most recently he recorded the three Rodrigo concerti with the National Orchestra of Spain under the baton of Juanjo Mena, thereby becoming the first in more than 20 years to capture the Concierto de Aranjuez with the ensemble.
Born in La Rioja in Northern Spain, Sáinz Villegas was inspired to take guitar lessons at age six and gave his first public performance at just seven years old. Over the years, he accomplished an impressive collection of over 30 international awards, including the Segovia award which he won at age 15 and the coveted Gold Medal at the Inaugural Parkening International Guitar Competition. Sainz Villegas lives in New York City to this day.