Musicians usually remember the when and why they picked their instruments — the exact point when they realized their calling and made their first steps.
"I chose the guitar because this is one of most popular instruments in our culture, even in tango," says young guitar talent Agustín Luna, 25. "The guitar allows me to be close to the music that I love. The guitar is a melodic instrument, with characteristics of form and size that make it a good link between people and their music."
A talented folk/classical musician from the Buenos Aires area, Luna is due in Charleston this week for a special week-long series of recitals at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center. These are his first performances outside of Argentina and an elegant conclusion to a vibrant 2007 Wachovia Jazz Series.
Luna grew up in the city of La Plata, a small town just south of the massive capital city of Buenos Aires. He gradually fell into a serious routine of practice and experimentation. A self-taught folk and tango performer, he studied at the La Plata School of Art and polished an impressive technique.
"My current musical ideas are a mixture of native Argentine music — folk and tango — learning in an intuitive and self-taught way, and an academic study of classic music at the School of Art. As an artist, I feel the influences of the popular music of my country. The study of classical music helps me to develop the technique of playing guitar, and to know the styles and sources of the different kind of music."
Luna recently recorded a new studio album simply titled Album. The 11-song collection touches on a variety of styles, from J.S. Bach and Astor Piazolla to jazzy improvisation. How do the different musical experiences — playing different styles of folk and dance music, classical music, and Latin jazz solo and with different artists — influence Luna's current musical ideas?
"My style is a combination of popular and classic music," he says. "In my present expression can live both aspects, for instance, although Piazzolla is an Argentine tango composer, his work has also characteristics of classic music. I prefer listening to playing Argentine and South American music. Often, the different songs are composed for other instruments. I like to rearrange them for guitar."
The skilled guitarist makes his Spoleto debut this week with a series of programs comprised of classical, jazz, and folk-oriented selections.
"I find the Spoleto Festival to be an extraordinary experience," Luna says. "It could be the first of other trips to the U.S. I am very happy and anxious to participate at the Festival. Many people told me that Charleston is a beautiful city and I hope the public of the Spoleto Festival likes my music."
AGUSTÍN LUNA • Spoleto Festival's Wachovia Jazz Series • $30 • (1 hour) • June 6, 8, 9 at 7 p.m.; June 6, 7, 8, 9 at 9 p.m. • Recital Hall, Simons Center, 54 St. Philip St. • 579-3100