Nicholas Epple, Grace Sheppard, Bin Hu, Misael Barraza Díaz
On Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. in the Church, St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents the Bolton Guitar Quartet.
Presenting a showcase of musical treasures from the traditional Spanish repertoire for guitar, this concert features four competition winners studying under University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music Professor Tom Patterson: Misael Barraza (Mexico), Nicholas Epple (South Korea), Bin Hu (China), and Grace Sheppard (U.S.A.). Not only will the audience listen to artists from different parts of the world playing as one; this thrilling debut performance offers a combination of ensemble settings.
The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events. For more information click here.
St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. The Friends of Music phone number is (520) 222-7277.
Misael Barraza is one of the most talented Mexican guitarists of his generation. Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, in 1990, Misael began his guitar studies at age eleven; and one year later was invited to join the classical guitar ensemble “Staccato” at the University of Sonora, with whom he recorded a CD in 2005 entitled “Aire Latino.” In 2008, Misael was accepted at the University of Arizona to study classical guitar performance with Professor Thomas Patterson.
Misael graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Master Guitarra Alicante, where he studied with world renowned musicians such as David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Ignacio Rodes, Paul O’dette, Hopkinson Smith, Fabio Zanon, Roberto Aussell, and Shin Ishi Fukuda. Misael holds both a Master’s degree from the Master Guitarra Alicante (Spain) and a second Master’s degree from the University of Arizona (U.S.). Misael was presented as the guest guitarist in the “Gala Importantes” in Alicante, Spain — an annual event attended by the most important figures in Spain. Misael was also the featured solo guitarist for the World Premiere of “Passionately, Piazzolla!” — a collaboration between Tucson Desert Song Festival, Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Guitar Society. Misael has been awarded first place at numerous international and local competitions, most recently first place at the “David Russell Bach Prize”, the “Indiana International Guitar Competition”, and the “Montreal International Guitar Competition.” In March 2015, he was awarded second place at the Culiacán International Guitar Competition, the largest guitar competition in México. Misael is pursuing his Doctorate in Musical Arts at the University of Arizona.
Nicholas Epple, born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Bozeman Montana, has played music since the age of 5 when he began learning the violin. He was self-taught on the guitar until receiving formal training during his Bachelor’s degree at Montana State University, graduating with highest honors, studying both classical guitar and violin. During his time at MSU, Nicholas studied under Michael Videon (guitar), and Angella Ahn (violin), of the internationally renowned Ahn Trio. In 2010, Nicholas spent the summer in Siena, Italy, where he studied the guitar with Dario Vannini. Nicholas was awarded his Master’s in Guitar Performance from the University of Arizona in the spring of 2015, studying under Tom Patterson and artists in residency, David Russell, Odair Assad, and Sergio Assad. He has continued his studies in this program currently pursuing his DMA. This last summer, Nicholas was awarded a scholarship to study in Volterra, Italy with Antigoni Goni and Rene Izuierdo. Nicholas has been a finalist in the David Russell Bach Prize and the Douglas Sholin memorial competition. Nicholas has taken master classes from Christopher Parkening, Paul O’Dette, Denis Azabagic, Pavel Steidl, and Judicaël Perroy.
Bin Hu was born in 1987 in Tianjin, a city near Beijing in China. He began his guitar study under Zhiwei Li and Jiajiong Li, who are, among others, the leading guitar educators in China. In 2005, he was admitted to the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre for his bachelor studies. Since then, he started his 10-year experiences studying abroad. During that time, he has visited 9 European countries and the United States — attending master classes with world renown guitarists such as David Russell, Sergio Assad, Leo Brouwer, Manuel Barrueco, Ricardo Gallén, Timo Korhonen and Thomas Müller-Pering. In 2002, he completed his Master Degree at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg under Professor Marco Tamayo with the best grade.
Bin has been awarded a great number of top prizes in various guitar competitions around the world, including 2nd prize in the VII Guitar Competition of Nordic Countries and Baltic Academies, 3rd prize in the IV Annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, 2nd prize in the 2014 Sholin Memorial Guitar Competition and 1st prize in the Tucson Flamenco Festival VI Guitar Competition. He was also selected as one of the finalists in the First David Russell Bach Prize. His exquisite performing style and flawless technique have earned him the highest praise from audience and critics. “Hu played with a commanding technique and stoicism, captivating the audience with his pensive interpretations. Hu managed to convey a meditative aura underscored with shades and hints of tastefully applied power and delicacy.” — a concert review by Adam Brown from Indiana University.
As one of the most active guitarists of his generation in China, his performances have taken him throughout Europe, the United States and China. He was featured as soloist in various symphony orchestras and collaborated with conductors such as Jorma Panula. With the Pärnu City Symphony Orchestra (Estonia), he gave the world premiere of the guitar concerto Dos mundos written by Spanish composer Jorge Rodriguez-Caballero in 2008. As chamber musician, he also works on the enlargement of repertoire by arranging works of other instruments. In 2013, his arrangement of the Ouverture de I Masnadieri by Giuseppe Verdi was recorded in a CD dedicated to Verdi’s 200 years anniversary.
Bin Hu is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Arizona, where he also serves as the teaching assistant in Bolton Guitar Studies Program under Pofessor Thomas Patterson. He is invited regularly to perform at festivals, give master classes and judge guitar competitions. In 2014, he was selected by the GFA committee and featured in the GFA Regional Symposium Showcase Concert in Phoenix. As one of the pioneer classical guitar researchers in China nowadays, he has received numerous invitations around China to give lectures. In June 2015, he was invited to give a lecture at Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Shandong International Forum of Classical Guitar Elites. His workshop “Baroque style and performance practice” aims on the comprehension of Baroque common performance practice and its influences on Classical Style. His 2015 concert tour in China took place in 9 cities and provinces. Several local music periodicals have written reviews on his activities.
Grace Sheppard began her study of the classical guitar at age 6. Grace has placed two years consecutively in the Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition. Grace is distinguished by the fact that she is the only American female to win first place in the youth division. At the age of fourteen and in her very first guitar competition, Grace won the 2013 Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Division Competition, held in Louisville, Kentucky. The following year, she placed second as a fifteen year-old in the 15-18 year old division. This highly talented guitarist also took gold medals in the youth division of the 2013 and the 2014 annual Tucson Flamenco Festival.
Grace regularly performs at the Tucson Guitar Society’s “Guitar In The Woods” and at the University of Arizona’s Guitar Area Recitals. She has an active YouTube Channel, with over 100,000 views. Grace regularly contributes to the Tucson community with volunteer concerts for various local charities, nursing homes and for children autism programs. In addition to solo classical guitar repertoire, Grace has performed chamber music works for multiple guitars and guitar and harp. She studies annually in master classes with acclaimed classical guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, and David Russell. Grace currently studies with Professor Tom Patterson, Director of the Bolton Classical Guitar Studies Program at the University of Arizona. Grace is a sophomore at Catalina Foothills High School and also enjoys singing, drawing and being a big sister to triplet siblings.