Meet Luis Alfredo Gavilano

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Luis Alfredo Gavilano was born in La Paz in 1964. He grew up between the city and a valley about 3 hours away where an aunt lived. It was there that he discovered his fascination with the guitar. His aunt loved her guitar and only let him play it as long as he didn’t move it off her bed. He says, "I spent hours loving that instrument." As a child he attended several different schools in La Paz and Potosí. He began working at a very young age as well and went on to study computer programming.

He began taking guitar lessons at the Escuela Nacional del Folklore (National Folklore School) in La Paz, Bolivia when he was 12 years old, where he studied under Matilde Casasolas and Severo Peña for three years until military coups in Bolivia made it impossible to continue attending however, he continued to study whenever possible.

Between 1997 and 2001 he traveled to Chile during the summer months where he studied under Juan Mouras. In Uruguay he studied under Ramiro Agriel, in Miami, Florida under José Adan, and in Orlando, Florida under Eladio Scharron. He’s also taken numerous other workshops, including some studies in Argentina and has also given concerts in these countries, in addition to traveling throughout Bolivia to do the same.

When asked what styles he prefers he says, “I don’t have a preferred style. I like many styles: Spanish music, classical, baroque... but there is always a tendency toward romanticism. I think I master Latin American music well. I’d like to study and be able to master the flamenco”. He’s mastered and is currently working on compositions by several Bolivian composers and states, “I wasn’t very popular playing Bach at 14 years old.”

Luis Alfredo Gavilano plays the guitar every day at an established time, practicing both technique and repertoire. To keep in shape mentally and physically he meditates and frequently rides the bike. He never studied composition and prefers to interpret pieces others have composed. Most of the time he plays solo concerts but when accompanied, has a preference for chamber orchestras. In concert he plays every piece by memory.

His first two CDs are titled "Homenaje" and "Sonidos del Sur", both feature Latin American rhythms. At this time he is working on his third CD and on a project to disseminate the works of the acclaimed Bolivian composer Alfredo Dominguez.

Even after many years, he is acutely aware of his audience when on stage. We asked him, “when you are on stage, do you mostly play to please your audience, or do you lose yourself in another world with your guitar?” He responded, “The first is what usually happens, but the second is what I strive for.”

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