Guillén strums life to songs
Posted March 24, 2006
Kelly Rivas
Despite the rain Monday night, those inside Founders Auditorium were kept warm by the Venezuelan guitar sounds of Gabriel Guillén as he entertained his intimate audience. Guillén has been playing the guitar since he was 7 years old. His repertoire included a variety of Venezuelan songs from many different composers in his hour-long concert.

Gabriel Guillén performed a collaboration of classical and Venezuelan music on his acoustic guitar Monday in the University of La Verne’s Founders Auditorium. During his solo performance students and admirers joined together to appreciate his talent.

As the curtain opened all eyes focused on Guillén who immediately, without a proper introduction of himself or his music, began playing a classical piece by Manuel de Falla.

“Guillén’s technique in his performance was near perfect,” said Matthew Breatore, senior music and art history major.

Guillén appeared to be very involved with his music for all focus was on his guitar and with every song it was as if all of his emotion breathed life into his playing.

Pieces from Antonio Lauro, Domenico Scarlatti, Carlos Atilano and one anonymous composer echoed an array of sounds throughout the auditorium.

He performed each piece with great intensity, and as his fingers danced across the strings, the audience became engaged in his creativity.

Guillén played a selection of dedicated pieces titled “Suite San Gabriel,” by Atilano. These pieces represented a more Venezuelan style of guitar music. When performed, it captured the audience’s attention and placed the listeners in the atmosphere and mindset that the composer must have been in when they were written.

Each piece performed held its individual style and with each change in the mood of the songs, Guillén’s expression and approach to the song changed. When performing the classic Venezuelan guitar songs from the composers Atilano and Lauro, it was apparent that there was a shift in mood because of the relaxing sounds of the guitar and the lighthearted expression that filled Guillén’s face.

In each song Guillén added his own creative flair as a personal signature to those played.

When playing the more classical guitar pieces at the beginning of the performance, Guillén’s apparent influential Venezuelan background shone through and created a zest for each song.

“His selection of works and his classic technique made for a great, almost flawless performance,” Breatore said.

He is recognized for teaching at the Joseph Haydn Konservatorium in Eisenstadt, Austria and for teaching master classes as well as performing in concert in more than 25 countries.

For more information on Guillén visit

Renee Bamford can be reached at

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