Being a virtuoso is a gift: Antonio Rey

Being a virtuoso is a gift: Antonio Rey

Being a virtuoso is a gift: Antonio Rey

Antonio Rey, one of the best guitarists of our time with the international awards he received in the most prestigious flamenco competitions, such as the National Guitar Award in 2010, will be on the stage at CSO Ada Ankara for the first time on June 2.

Discovered by Gerardo Núñez, Rey proved that he is not only a musician but also an inspiring and surprising virtuoso with his album “Colores del Fuego” (2011), following his debut album “A través de ti.”

Collaborating with artists such as Estrella Morente, Tommy Emmanuel, Vicente Amigo, Nishat Kahn, Manuela Carrasco, Farruquito and Rafael Amargo, Rey has so far taken the stage at many places from New York to Moscow, shared the stage with Paco de Lucía many times.

He released his latest album “Flamenco Sin Fronteras” in 2020.

Ahead of his Ankara concert, Rey answered some questions.

What are your very first memories about guitar?

My family are all artists and flamenco professionals, so I have been surrounded by music since I was a child and the flamenco guitar is a fundamental instrument and my father was a guitarist and always carried it with him.

Is the only way to become a virtuoso to practice hard? What is the difference between playing the guitar well and being a virtuoso?

I think that virtuoso is something that comes with a lot of practice, but I think the word “virtuoso” is when you get to play what you can think of at that moment, but it’s a gift that needs a lot of practice.

You have worked with many world-famous names such as Paco De Lucia. What have these collaborations taught you as a musician?

The collaborations and having been lucky enough to have played with maestro Paco have been a unique experience and a masterclass for life; there are so many details that you learn and you always use forever. When I am on stage, Maestro Paco, who gave a lot of importance to dynamics and rhythm, is always present.

Do you ever still feel excited before the performance? If so, how do you deal with it?

Yes, last night I played in Los Angeles and I was very nervous before I played because I feel a lot of responsibility in a full flamenco guitar concert. I face it with strength and doing everything with my heart and my knowledge.

What’s the turning point of your career?

It was when I was 18 years old that I decided not to play any more to accompany dancing but to dedicate myself to composing and performing for guitar concerts.

Is there a piece that you would never get tired of playing? Where and when do you like playing guitar the most except on the stage?

Indeed, there are several pieces that are part of my career and that I never get tired of playing, for example the Taranta maestro Lucia, which I always play as a tribute to him. I like to play the guitar whenever I feel like it, no matter if it’s a train station airport or my home stage. Anywhere, sometimes it’s a necessity.

What is the most important thing that you would recommend to amateur musicians about guitar?

I recommend that you enjoy yourselves and let yourself be carried away by the music, that you rehearse a lot and that you feel free of academic ties.

You have lots of awards, which moment or award is unforgettable for you in your career?

 The most unforgettable is the Latin Grammy for best flamenco album.

What are your interests other than music? Do you have any special ritual to relax before going on stage?

I really enjoy being with my family and going for walks and playing with my son on the beach. I don’t have any special rituals, but I do warm up my fingers a lot for when I go on stage.

Are there special projects you have been working on?

A: Several dance companies have offered me the chance to compose for them and right now I am preparing my new album.

What about your Ankara concert repertoire?

For years I have been looking forward to playing a concert for Turkish audiences. I had references of the great concerts of Paco de Lucia, Manolo Sanlucar and Vicente Amigo. Now Pasión Turca makes it possible for me to perform in Ankara in this wonderful CSO Ada. The whole group is very excited. I am sure that I will enjoy, and I will put all my heart to give a review of my career and my albums, but especially the last one Flamenco Frontera, I am really looking forward to it.