Six-String Singularity

UT classical guitarist Adam Holzman gives a rare recital off the UT campus

Six-String Singularity

Classical guitarist Adam Holzman has been performing around the state of late, but not much in Austin – at least not much away from the University of Texas, where he heads the classical guitar area at the School of Music. The reason, as he explains it, is simple: "I'm a university professor, and I love the job." So Holzman does most of his performing at UT, where he often plays as part of the Jessen Series of Distinguished Faculty Artists or alongside students in the UT Symphony and other ensembles.

Not only is he a performing professor, he founded his department. "Around 1989, a number of well-known music schools such as UT, Juilliard, Eastman, and others started programs in classical guitar," explains Holzman, who until then had never actually been to Austin. "I'd toured Houston, Temple, El Paso, Arlington, but never Austin. The opportunity to start my own program at a major institution ..." He trails off rather than strum his own strings. But while he won't speak directly about his influence on the classical guitar scene, Matthew Hinsley, executive director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, a fine classical guitarist in his own right, and a former student at UT, says that Holzman is largely responsible for the burgeoning classical guitar scene in town.

All of which make Holzman's recital for the society this weekend notable. His program will range from contemporary works he has premiered to transcriptions of music for keyboard, violin, even jazz quintet. The evening commences with three unrelated works that Holzman has turned into something of a set: the 16th-century Melii "Capriccio," an Albeniz sonata, and a work by Ruiz-Pipo which boasts a Renaissance feel. "I learned them as individual pieces," says Holzman. "They are wonderful guitar pieces that fit nicely as a group."

Holzman's comfort with all manner of works has led him to perform in many different styles, and among the remaining selections are a Sergio Assad original, "Three Greek Letters," and an Assad transcription of a pair of Astor Piazzolla tangos, originally scored for jazz quintet. Holzman's relationship to Assad – one of the brothers Assad, perhaps the most renowned classical guitar duo on the planet – is of longtime collaboration, with Assad sending Holzman the occasional piece to try out in concert.

As this much-praised musician strays off campus, we suggest you take in this much-anticipated concert.

Adam Holzman will perform Friday, April 16, 8pm, at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover. For more information, call 899-1118 or visit

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Austin classical music, Adam Holzman Jessen Series of Distinguished Faculty Artists, UT School of Music, Matthew Hinsley, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Sergio Assad

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