Two-time Grammy-nominee and guitarist and Keene State Music Department’s Dr. Jose Lezcano performed his faculty recital on Saturday, April 8 in the Redfern Arts Center Alumni Recital Hall.

According to his website, Lezcano “plays original Latinflavored compositions… He has premiered his works with professional orchestras in New York City, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, and New Hampshire.”

In addition to performing outside the country, Lezcano is the current Guitar Ensemble Director at Keene State.

“Teaching at Keene State gives me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people who are passionate about music, as I am,” Lezcano said on his Redfern Arts Center website bio. “The classical guitar is going through an exciting period of growth, both in new repertoire and an increased level of performance.” Lezcano’s recital consisted of over a dozen pieces including a world premiere and other original pieces and arrangements.

The recital began with the piece “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder and was followed by Lezcano’s composition of “Songs of Freedom.” The world premiere of Lezcano’s piece “First Light,” which was originally composed in 1999, was also featured in the program and included flutist Melissa Richmond.

“I asked my good friend and colleague Melissa who runs the West Claremont Center for [Music and] the Arts and she’s a very great person,” Lezcano said. “She agreed to play the instrumental for me.”

Lezcano added, “I actually found the piece in my archive for guitar… [and thought] how come I never performed this? I wrote it and then just put it away so I brought it out and I thought let’s present it.”

As a Cuban-American, Lezcano played a lot of pieces by Cuban composers such as Ignacio Cervantes’ “Three Cuban Contradanzas” and Compay Segundo’s “Chan-chan.” “The rest of the program [has pieces where] I sort of refer to myself as a Cuban American,” Lezcano said. “ With ‘“Three Cuban Contradanzas”’ it’s for guitar but it was originally arranged for piano.” In addition to those pieces, Lezcano performed two pieces by two female Cuban composers; “Dos Gardenias” by Isolina Carillo and “Veinte Años” by Maria Teresa Vera.

Additionally, Lezcano performed pieces from Spanish composers such as Fernando Flor’s “Three Mintues,” and Astor Piazzolla’s “Ausencias.”

Lezcano closed the recital with French composer Roland Dyens’ “Tango en Skai” and he described the piece as being “a very charming tango.”

Sophomore Thor Brayshaw attended the recital to support Lezcano who he has worked with one-on-one.

“It was a great performance; Dr. Lezcano picked out a set and he’s playing some pretty influential pieces for classical guitar,” Brayshaw said. “I had him for Guitar Orchestra last semester and studied under him for a little while when I first got here.”

Brayshaw said that as a mentor Lezcano was, “good, he was very relaxed and a very laid back teacher, definitely had a very strong approach in maintaining good technique and etiquette while playing the guitar.”

Brayshaw added, “I think a lot of what he was able to teach me has helped me come a long way.”

Nicole Dumont can be contacted at

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