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2/13/2012 9:01:00 AM
Verde Valley Concert Association presents world famous Paraguayan harpist
Alfredo Rolando Ortiz
Courtesy photoComposer, author, educator and recording artist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz performs on the Paraguayan harp for the Verde Valley Concert Association on Feb. 18.
Courtesy photo

Composer, author, educator and recording artist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz performs on the Paraguayan harp for the Verde Valley Concert Association on Feb. 18.
By Merlyn Brown
For Verde Valley Concert Association

"Harping" on something is not generally considered to be a positive activity, but when the harp is in the magical hands of Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, the sounds that he produces could not be MORE positive! The Verde Valley Concert Association is proud to offer an encore program by this internationally acclaimed and world-famous soloist of the "arpa paraguaya" (Paraguayan harp), at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Mingus Union High School auditorium in Cottonwood.

Dr. Ortiz is a composer, author, educator and recording artist. He considers his "most important concert" to be when he played the harp in the delivery room, during the birth of his second daughter. As well as being a virtuoso on the harp, Dr. Ortiz presents a very entertaining recital which will appeal to all ages.

Alfredo was born in Cuba. When he was 11 years old he immigrated with his family to Venezuela. Four years later he began studying the Venezuelan folk harp with his school friend Fernando Guerrero. A year later he became a pupil of Alberto Romero on the Paraguayan harp. Just two years after his first harp lesson, he began medical studies in Medellín, Colombia. At this time he began performing professionally and recorded his first album. Music supported his medical studies until graduation. Five years later he moved to the United States to continue studies of Music Therapy. Two years later he married Luz Marina Otero. For eight years from the time of his graduation from medical school, he worked in the medical field as well as performing on the harp, and was also a recording artist, until his wife became pregnant. In order to have time for his growing family, he then decided to dedicate his life only to them and to his first love: the harp.

With a multicultural repertoire that covers folk, classical and popular music from many countries, as well as his original compositions, Alfredo has performed for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He has recorded over forty albums and is the winner of a Gold Record in South America. He has lectured on a variety of subjects at universities, colleges and schools, is the author of several harp music books and articles, and his compositions have been performed and recorded by classical and folk harpists in many countries. His "Venezolana for Five Pedal Harps" has become a favorite of harp ensembles around the world.

His acclaimed "South American Suite for Harp and Orchestra" premiered March 3, 1996. Dr Ortiz was invited to perform his Suite at the World Harp Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1999, with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, having as his audience over one thousand classical harpists from around the world.

In 2007 Ortiz was invited to compose a piece to be premiered in July of 2908 during the Tenth World Harp Festival to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Originally composed for four harps or harp ensemble, the piece was performed by 232 harpists, breaking the Guinness world record of the largest harp ensemble to date.

In April 2009, performing his own compositions, he was one of the winners of the Beverly Hills Chamber Music Auditions of the Southern California Chamber Music Presenters Consortium.

In July 19, 2009, twelve 5th grade harp students of Lou Anne Neill (harpist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra), from Moffett Elementary School, performed Alfredo's composition "Paisaje", during the Opening Night Gala of the Hollywood Bowl, accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Symphony orchestra, for an audience of over seventeen thousand.

Among his concerts and recitals are: Opening Concert of the First World Harp Congress, Holland, 1983; Third World Harp Congress, Vienna, Austria, 1987; Rochas Festival of the Harp, Paraguay, 1988; Edinburgh International Harp Festival, Scotland, 1987, 1991 & 2005; World Harp Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1992; Soka International Harp Festival, Japan, 1990, 1994 and 1998; International Folk Harp Conference nine times; World Harp Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 2005; Latin American Harps Encounter, Venezuela - 1998, Mexico - 2000 & 2004, Brazil - 2006; World Harp Congress, The Netherlands, 2008, when 232 harpists, including Alfredo, performed the World Premiere of his composition "Cumbia Verde", winning the Guinness World Record of the largest harp orchestra to date.

The Verde Valley Concert Association is supported by The Verde Valley Medical Center, and many other local organizations. Individual tickets for this concert are $15 for adults, $5 for students, with children under 12 being admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Bring the youngsters and give them a unique opportunity to see this amazing performer. Details and tickets are available by calling 928-639-0636, or at the door on the evening of the concert.

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