Guitarist Tomas Rodriguez has been praised as “playing guitar with a passionate originality, with an individual touch, drawing from the musical heart of the Latin world.” The folk and classical traditions of Spain and South America are richly evident in Rodriguez’ playing, but he transmutes them into a sound clearly, fervently his own. His original compositions and his collaborations with leading musicians in New York City’s world music scene create an engaging groove, touching harmonies and a mesmerizing exploration of the guitar’s rich background in the music of the Americas, Europe and Africa.
Such diverse inspiration is perhaps rooted in his unusual background. Born in Washington D.C., of a Spanish father and a mother from the Appalachian region of Virginia, Rodriguez grew up in New York, New Jersey and Boise, Idaho. As a child he was inspired by his father’s record collection, which included everything from Beethoven to the boleros of Latin crooner Lucho Gatica. He learned to play electric guitar by ear from Jimi Hendrix records, and later came to study classical guitar with Sharon Isbin at the Manhattan School of Music.
Rodriguez’ guitar has captivated audiences nationally and internationally. He has performed concerts at International Festival of the Guitar in Lima, Peru, in New York’s Brooklyn Museum, Merkin Hall, Trinity Church, the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts (NJPAC), the World Expressions Series at Boise State University and the University of Virginia. He regularly performs steady engagements at the St. Regis, Ritz Carlton and Peninsula Hotels in Manhattan.
Mr. Rodriguez is also a dedicated music educator. He founded and directed an innovative after-school guitar program at one of New York’s largest Latino social service organizations, utilizing music from Latin America and Spain to teach basic guitar skills to Latino young people. He is also a registered Suzuki guitar instructor who has taught at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.