Andrea Gonzalez Caballero

The 7th annual URI Guitar Festival is returning to the campus of the University of Rhode Island during the weekend of October 20-23. The event brings leading names in the world of classical guitar to the state, as well as musicians who cross over into other musical genres.

I spoke with one of those artists, Andrea Gonzalez Caballero, an award-winning guitarist originally from Spain. Caballero is widely admired in classical music circles with Opera World magazine naming her as “the female voice of the Spanish guitar.”

She’s looking forward to performing at URI. “I grew up in Spain and when I was seventeen years old, I moved to Germany to study with Professor Joaquin Clerch from Cuba. I was his student for 12 years; when I finished college in Germany, I was accepted at the (prestigious) Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Caballero is now living in Miami, FL where she is working on her doctorate expecting to graduate in 2023. It’s been a long but rewarding road for the 30-year-old guitarist. Her mother was a guitar teacher, so it was natural for her to play the instrumet growing up. “She didn’t want me to be a guitarist, she just wanted me to learn a little bit of music,” said Caballero. “This has been my life since I was seven or eight years old when I started playing guitar.”

Caballero will be performing at Pump House Music Works at 8PM on Friday, October 21. “I’m sharing the stage with guitarist René Izquierdo from Cuba. All the composers (in our performance) are from Spain and some of the pieces are based on Spanish folklore, and rhythms from Spain,” Caballero explained.

Classical music is continually evolving, and there is a lot of excitement around younger artists who are performing in the genre. I asked Caballero for her thoughts.

“I think this goes together with social media and the exposure that we have. it’s super easy to share your music with people even from your home. I think that allows us to create more things in a faster way and connect with other people who are doing music. That is playing a big role with the new generation. I remember when I started, I didn’t even know what YouTube was,” she laughed. “You can meet people, you can ask questions, you can interact with the audience. I think that technology has most of the impact on the new generation.”

“I think in the past, classical musicians were more apart from the audience, now I think we are closer to each other, (audiences) are connected to the performer in a different way,” she added.

Along these lines, this year’s festival is hybrid – you can attend in person or online. In addition to Cabellero, other award-winning artists include Andy Mckee, Eglise Gutierrez, Bridget Kibbey, festival founder Adam Levin and many more. For tickets and more information on the URI Guitar Festival, click here.

Caballero released a new album this year called Identidade, a project involving ten women, including four composers and two performers. “It’s commissioned for guitar and flute,” Cabellero explained. “The producer, the photographer, the videographer, all were women. We worked together to create this album, representing women in different artistic fields. “It was a great experience to have these works recorded for the first time, and we had the chance to work with composers as well.”

To learn more about Andrea Gonsalez Cabellero, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines.
Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse," a roots/folk/rock radio show every Tuesday, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM. He is a former educator in the Scituate, RI school system where he taught Social Studies for over 30 years.
Ken is presently on the board of the Rhode Island Folk Festival and Newport Live (formerly Common Fence Music), a non-profit that brings diverse musical acts to the Newport area.