Central Concert Series

austin-guitar-ensembleHoliday Classical Guitar

Austin Classical Guitar and Austin Public Library invite you to attend the Central Concerts Series bringing musicians and the community together for free live performances at the Faulk Central Library 800 Guadalupe St.

Sunday, December 4, 2016
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Enjoy the holiday classical guitars of the Austin Classical Guitar Ensemble featuring adult players of all levels and led by ACG Director of Community Ensembles, Eric Pearson.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
2:00 PM
to 3:00 PM

Enjoy a holiday classical guitar performance by Steve Kostelnik.

Praised by Soundboard magazine for his "lyrical playing" and "remarkable counterpoint," Steve Kostelnik tours extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has won top honors at several important competitions.

His highly acclaimed debut recording Steve Kostelnik: Guitar Recital was released on the Naxos label in 1999. Dr. Kostelnik maintains a thriving private studio in central Austin.

Sunday, December 18, 2016
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Enjoy the holiday classical guitar and voice duo of Kevin and Rachel McCormick.

"There are no production gimmicks or studio tricks here, just sensitive playing and beautiful singing that capture the warmth, mystery, hope, and joy of Advent and Christmas. Kevin and his daughter, Rachel, bring a quiet confidence and remarkable sense of intimacy that make this a truly enchanting collection of hymns and carols." - Carl E. Olson, editor, Catholic World Report

Pepe Romero Returns


Austin Classical Guitar opens its 2016/17 International Series with the legendary classical guitarist Pepe Romero on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Tickets here or at 512-300-2247

Arrive early! Matt Hinsley will speak about ACG services and vision for the new season from 7:00 - 7:30 in the Black Box Theater. Authentic Spanish tapas will be available after 6:30 in the lobby.

Maestro Romero's all-Spanish program will include the following:


By Francisco Tárrega

Marieta (mazurca)
Mazurca en sol                                                     
Maria (gavota)
Las dos hermanitas (vals)
Rosita (polca)

Capricho árabe                                                          

Fantasía sobre motivos de La Traviata, op.8                

Gran jota


Arroyos de la Alhambra by Ángel Barrios

Selections from Suite Española, op.47 by Isaac Albéniz trans. by Pepe Romero

Suite Castellana by Federico M. Torroba

Fantasía Sevillana, op. 29 by Joaquín Turina

Selections from Suite Andaluza by Celedonio Romero

Program subject to change

MASTER CLASSES: During his Austin visit, maestro Romero will instruct students from guitar programs of several Austin-area schools on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Oct. 13 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center Dance Studio. On Friday, Oct. 14, he will conduct master classes with guitar students at the UT Butler School of Music Bates Recital Hall from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. All sessions are free and open to the public for observation only.

ON THE RADIO: Listen on Thursday morning Oct. 13 to hear Pepe Romero and Matt Hinsley on Eklektikos with John Aielli on KUTX 98.9 FM between 6:00 – 9:00 am. Then, at 10:00 am, tune to KMFA 89.5 FM with Dianne Donovan for more of Pepe and Matt.

How to open a door by Josep Rota

After attending Saturday's performance of process at the Blanton Auditorium, ACG patron Josep Rota shared this: The music, so evocative of process, flow, life, mystery and the syncretism of so many traditions, and the text so beautifully read by Matt and Néstor, with notions like how to wind a watch ...or the hidden images of the tropics and my experience of being in Oaxaca just last month, combined with the serendipitous opportunity of hearing music by Hildegard von Bingen on KMFA as I was driving back home, all of that inspired me to sit down in front of my computer as soon as I got home and write a poem.

Josep has graciously allowed us to share it here:

How to Open a Door

Josep Rota

The mystery hides behind the closed door.

Death may be waiting there. Or love.

Or magic. Or nothing but the mundane.

What if I open the door and I see

Hildegard von Bingen standing there?

I would ask her so many questions

but not in the lingua ignota she invented.

I would ask why in the millennium

since she was born women have been

subjugated, dominated, rejected. Or why

the pope who named her Doctor of the Church

was deaf to her message and blind to her sex.

I know Hildegard is not there with her blue shawl,

but if her Ordo Virtutum is playing on the radio,

is she not there? I can hear her melismatic music

and angelic voices singing verses she composed.

Still, I hesitate to open the door.

If it’s closed, I can imagine the impossible,

butterflies making love to unicorns,

hourglasses with a cork keeping the sand

forever stuck in my happiest moment,

not allowing time to flow wickedly.

The sense of smell brings me back to the now.

I know all I have to do is turn the doorknob,

release the hatch and push the door open,

but I linger. The fictional does not move me;

what does is the real life that I live today

and your acts of love that flatter me,

like the smell of bread in the oven

or the aroma of coffee you brew for me.

It is not coffee harvested in plantations,

sold and mixed in bulk for bucks.

It’s coffee brewed from beans picked one by one

by the worn, soil-stained hands of a Zapotec farmer

whose ancestors farmed the same lands

since before the Spanish conquistadors arrived

and destroyed the world they knew.

It’s coffee from Miahuatlán, field of corn flowers,

from a family farm on the slopes of Cerro de la Pluma,

Feather Hill, where eagles used to come to lay their eggs

and pluck their own feathers to build their nests.

It’s coffee with hints of vanilla, chocolate, ancho,

cilantro, hierba santa, papalo, pipicha;

images of dahlias, passion flowers and orchids,

and memories of a time when the Zapotec were kings.

I know how to open the door to the dreams,

the ideas, the thoughts that inspire me

so that I can live the present fully.

But the first thing I will do is hug you,

touch your lips, caress you softly,

eat your bread, drink your coffee

understanding that the now is all we have

Readings for "process"

Instructions on How to Wind a Watch By Julio Cortázar

Death stands there in the background, but don't be afraid. Hold the watch down with one hand, take the stem in two fingers, and rotate it smoothly. Now another installment of time opens, trees spread their leaves, boats run races, like a fan time continues filling with itself, and from that burgeon the air, the breezes of earth, the shadow of a woman, the sweet smell of bread.

What did you expect, what more do you want? Quickly. Strap it to your wrist, let it tick away in freedom, imitate it greedily. Fear will rust all the rubies, everything that could happen to it and was forgotten is about to corrode the watch's veins, cankering the cold blood and its tiny rubies. And death is there in the background, we must run to arrive beforehand and understand it's already unimportant.


Argumentum Ornithologicum by Jorge Luis Borges

I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts a second or perhaps less; I don’t know how many birds I saw. Were they a definite or an indefinite number? This problem involves the question of the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because how many birds I saw is known to God. If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because nobody was able to take count. In this case, I saw fewer than ten birds (let’s say) and more than one; but I did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one, but not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc. That number, as a whole number, is inconceivable; ergo, God exists.


Borges and I by Jorge Luis Borges

It’s to that other one, to Borges, that things happen. I walk through Buenos Aires and I pause, one could say mechanically, to gaze at a vestibule’s arch and its inner door; of Borges I receive news in the mail and I see his name in a list of professors or in some biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typefaces, etymologies, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; the other shares these preferences, but in a vain kind of way that turns them into an actor’s attributes. It would be an exaggeration to claim that our relationship is hostile; I live, I let myself live so that Borges may write his literature, and this literature justifies me. It poses no great difficulty for me to admit that he has put together some decent passages, yet these passages cannot save me, perhaps because whatsoever is good does not belong to anyone, not even to the other, but to language and tradition. In any case, I am destined to lose all that I am, definitively, and only fleeting moments of myself will be able to live on in the other. Little by little, I continue ceding to him everything, even though I am aware of his perverse tendency to falsify and magnify.

Spinoza understood that all things strive to persevere being; the stone wishes to be eternally a stone and the tiger a tiger. I will endure in Borges, not in myself (if it is that I am someone), but I recognise myself less in his books than in those of many others, or in the well-worn strum of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him by moving on from the mythologies of the slums to games with time and infinity, but those games are now Borges’ and I will have to conceive of other things. Thus my life is a running away and I lose everything and everything is turned over to oblivion, or to the other.

I do not know which of the two is writing this piece.


Chapter 7 Kissing from Hopscotch By Julio Cortázar

I touch your mouth, with one finger I touch the edge of your mouth, I draw it as it if it came out of my hand, as if your mouth was for the first time just barely open, and closing my eyes is enough to undo it and start over. Each time I create the mouth I desire, the mouth that my hand chooses and draws for you on your face, one mouth chosen from all, chosen by me with sovereign freedom to draw with my hand on your face, and for some random chance I seek not to understand, it perfectly matches your smiling mouth, beneath the one my hand draws for you.

You look at me, you look at me closely, each time closer and then we play cyclops, we look at each other closer each time and our eyes grow, they grow closer, they overlap and the cyclops look at each other, breathing confusion, their mouths find each other and fight warmly, biting with their lips, resting their tongues lightly on their teeth, playing in their caverns where the heavy air comes and goes with the scent of an old perfume and silence.

Then my hands want to hide in your hair, slowly stroke the depth of your hair while we kiss with mouths full of flowers or fish, of living movements, of dark fragrance. And if we bite each other, the pain is sweet, and if we drown in a short and terrible surge of breath, that instant death is beauty. And there is a single saliva and a single flavour of ripe fruit, and I can feel you shiver against me like a moon on the water.

Clay Smith of Kirkus Reviews

Clay Smith_Credit Michael Thad Carter - CopyWe are incredibly grateful to KIRKUS Reviews for their generous sponsorship of narratives, our literature-inspired summer series. 

KIRKUS reviews 8,000-10,000 books per year and provides those reviews in a variety of formats worldwide including their famous magazine. Much of the editorial team is in New York City, but Executive Editor Clay Smith, originally from Amarillo, offices here in Austin with the KIRKUS executive team. 

We asked him to share some insights with us:


On how KIRKUS Reviews works:

With traditional publishing, we typically get galley proofs three or four months before books become available to the public. The real trick for us is speed. We need to get the proofs quickly into the hands of just the right reviewer so it will have the best chance of a receptive and insightful review within the short time-frame we have. We also have a division called Indie—a broad movement that is influencing all art forms now—through which self-published authors can pay KIRKUS to review their work. Otherwise, though, the books go through the same thorough review process with the same rigorous standards we apply to all published works.


On who excites him in the Austin or Texas literary scene: 

Joe Jiménez is a San Antonio writer who has previously written poetry - his new novel, Bloodline, is a YA novel set in Texas that is inspired by Hamlet.

Amy Gentry is an Austin writer and critic whose first novel, Good as Gone, will be out at the end of July.

Karl Jacoby isn’t a Texas writer but his brand-new book The Strange Career of William Ellis is about a former slave in Texas who became successful in Mexico.


On other causes locally about which he is passionate:

I used to be the literary director of the Texas Book Festival, which is also a nonprofit, and I love what the Festival does so well: bring together readers and give them access to the best writers in the country.


A recommended reading list of new works about music or poetry:

Here are a few:

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Features by Tess Taylor

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Bach by John Eliot Gardiner (from 2013 but I thought your audience might like it)

And one to look forward to (it’s out on Oct. 18):

LOVE FOR SALE: Pop Music in America by David Hajdu


On his sponsorship of ACG’s Summer Series:

Thanks for getting us involved in this!


Poems inspired by "narratives"

We were touched and impressed by the lovely poems submitted by those of you who responded to our invitation to write original works for our first-ever poetry contest to commemorate our literature-inspired Summer Series narratives. Thank you for your beautiful words. Here are some of our favorites:


Brazilian Rosewood

I am in love with the tallest man in Brazil.

He has long, slender fingers which strum

my heart and warm hands which touch my breasts.

When he plays—it is a sound which sustains.

The tallest man in Brazil was made in Japan.

An American born on a snowy night with G.I.’s shouting obscenities

and his father studying the bombs effects on Hiroshima’s population.

It is a mystery what we do, how wood effects sound,

how the wood on a guitar is endangered and luscious,

exotic and rare.

When the music stops, I am in love in an abiding silence.

I wait patiently for words as a quiet relentlessness penetrates

his unusual ability to attract. Dark chocolate brown, gold black brown,

oxblood, I have learned to sit still.

I do not understand the genetics of height, strict restrictions of trees,

magnets that attract iron by virtue of a surrounding field of force,

the alignments of atoms.

The angels have positioned our alliance.

The mystic is the spirit that is the soul of this matter.

Brazil is a faraway land I have never

been to. I take the subway to see him. His guitar is on

his bed. I have met taller men but the words now come.

I am in the middle of the story; to go to the beginning will mean to start again.


-Ysella Ayn Fulton


Poem For 6th Period

The smooth communal mind meld.

Eyes staring at other eyes from behind sheet music stands.

Feelings of bliss as notes crawl along your classical skin...

vibrant, like the surface of a drum.

Tones hum. Strings strum. Noise become Harmony.

Melting into the sounds,  souls surround you.

Toes tapping.  Fingers snapping.

All of us.....waiting....for our moment of brilliance.

That's what my section does the best...."Rest".

We, Heavy Brass, and Low woodwinds offer

The background hum and unifying rhythm

To support the soaring flutes, busy clarinets,

Blazing guitars, blaring trumpets, and

Charging french horns...

(You know they always get the solos.)

Whenever the composer wants to glissade

Through beautiful meadows and forests,

Or represent a peaceful rippling brook, we,

The thundering horde of wildebeests, rhinos,

And elephants, have to wait out the delicate

Little creatures who create the whimsical Dance

Of the Fairies.   Those waits are called:

Rest Bars.

1 2 3 4.  2 2 3 4.  3 2 3 4.

As a Baritone Saxophone,  I've  counted out 50 rest bars.

The problem is....humans get distracted after  4 2 3 4.

Life starts creeping in from the wings.

"When is my term paper due?"

"Hey, I need to buy a new reed tomorrow."

9 2 3 4.

"Hey Donna", first chair tenor sax, "Are y'all going out

after the concert tomorrow?"

12- 2 3 4.

"I know."  "I can't believe they haven't made him

get a haircut yet....He does look cool on his guitar."

"What bar are we on?"   "Ask Tommy, Mister Trombone."

"What?  Are you sure it's 22-2 3 4?  Seems later into it."

Tell David to signal the Tubas."

18-2 3 4?!   "Heck No"  "That's sure not right!"

"Does this part sound like where we come in?

"The guitar hasn't had his solo yet."

"This seems close....How 'bout 40-2 3 4?"

"Wait a minute...Eileen on the Clarinet is giving us

the finger.....

Leave it to the tone deaf kid to always know the

right bar count."


-Liz Delaney

(Dedicated to Donna Beth Klaus 1959-2006; I never sat next to a better soul or sax player)



A Man's Guitar Narrative Day

The morning dawns,

Maybe today.

My nylon string yawns,

"Will you play?"


The rush to the job,

After lunch is made.

Will time rob

My guitar to play?


Thinking about the sounds to come out,

No words, no struggle, no thought.

On the nylons I can shout,

No worry about getting caught.


Home...a kiss.

A silent wish.

My guitar I miss,

Time is a swish.


Alone on a stand,

Waiting for me.

This one man band,

Wants to play a melody.


The night is here,

I'm wide awake.

My time is now,

Soft notes my fingers make.


So smooth...so pretty,

Slumber comes fast.

But its only 1030,

A little longer...will I last?

Then I awake,

In the middle of the night.

My guitar I take,

And put out of sight.


-Rudy Martisek



Haiku reflection on first classical guitar experience at Carmel Classical Guitar Festival as a child in the 70s

Cool Carmel evening

Guitar pieces fill the air

Warmly doze secure





A seed blown by the wind

Planted by the wind

A sapling nourished by the lullaby of the wind


The tree listens and remembers


Year after year the crown skyward reaches

Century after century the wind teaches

Song verses of fire and flood

Crescendos from gentle breeze to raucous gale

Rhythms swaying, an accelerando to the

Finale of felling hurricane


The tree listens and remembers


A craftsman's saw and plane shape and thin to

Test tree tone and timbre

Reading the tree rings and grain

until the tree is a sculpture ready to sing.


A musician's fingers pluck the strings that vibrate and amplify the ancient resonance of the wood

Harmonizing his soul's composition with

The tree's song of the wind

-Lloyd Pond



Orlando not Bloom

Not Bard driven

Not a last resort

A new sacred place

Where love will out hate

Life will out death

Death remembered

Life dismembered

Beginning middle end

Beginning middle end

Persona process nocturne

Staccato framed falling silhouettes

Breath pulse

Hold breath pulse

Hate crime memorial filling the Washington Mall

Etched in power life chord beats

Parchment rubbings spark star bursts

Stones unturned

Breathe hold breath pulse

Breathe hold breath pulse

Breathe hold breath pulse

Orlando not Bloom

A new sacred place.


-Daniel Capouch


Touch My Soul

Strum thy string and let it ring

O seventh chords so crisp and clean

This day and age so full of worries

Full of rush and full of hurry


Touch my being this wooden box

So full of joy and natural healing

Thy strings vibrate and down they go

So deep, So deep, to touch my soul


-Andrew Martinez


Call and Response

Amen to the sun on my face

Unfiltered through curtains or lace-

Sunglasses, clouds or disgrace.


Head tilted back, I begin to relax

Knowing my throat will be safe.


Warming up to my God given place

Within this sole human race,

Say Amen! To the sun on my face.


-Kathleen Burke



I see Miss Havisham

In Dicken's Great Expectations

Sitting and wandering

Through the rotting remains

Of her dreams


And she stays there

With those expectations

Becoming nothing but dust

And food for rats

Amusing herself by playing

With Pip and giving him

False hope that will

Blind him to his actual life


It makes me think

Of Lot's wife

Turned into a pillar

Of salt as she looks back

On a life ripped from her

Nothing left but tears

Which she becomes


Blind to the future

Unable to let the past

Slip through her fingers

And disappear


Pain is like that

Giving me the opportunity

To drown in disability

Or to be present now

Not longing for the past

But always looking at today

Allowing the past to fade

Into memory


-Marilyn Zwicker


A Tribute

From near or far

All people know the strum

Of the guitar.


Sounds of classical or flamenco

Country, rock, or folk

To the heart they flow.


As melodies are played

Memories can return

And now they'll never fade.


Emotions stirred by every chord

Which build with every rhythm

Bring peace without a word.


And so it is that ACG

Succeeds in it's pure mission

To bring this world to me!


-Virginia Urban


Pause No. 2

Listening brings joy and peace

in quietness

Hauntingly lovely chords

from a classical guitar


Soothe the soul  -  with calming  - rhythmic balm

Hearts are full  -  and can see  -  hear  -  remember

things forgotten  -   treasured  -   longed for


Now grateful  -  offer tribute  -  clapping hands

In honor of this gifted artist  -  and the magical sounds

A classical guitar  -  proudly  -  the best ever  -  one man band


-Patti Renaldo





Tim Staley on Austin Public Library Friends Foundation

austin-central-library-8[1]For our literature-inspired summer series, narratives, our unique three-concert event taking place the evenings of June 25, July 9, and July 30 at the Blanton Museum Auditorium we’ve teamed with Austin Public Library Friends Foundation as a presentation partner. We asked Library Foundation Executive Director Tim Staley to share some thoughts about what’s in store for Austinites.

Like in so many other industries and institutions, technology has transformed the public library, vastly expanding its role in communities. Traditional uses of the library such as checking out books and children’s story time, for example, are still very popular, but people have come to expect so much more from their library, including access to computers, the internet, online databases, various software and so many other emerging technologies. It’s very exciting to be a part of this transformation.

Whether it be offering nonprofit organizations financial support, professional expertise or other forms of in-kind support, there is a significant role for corporations and institutions like the Library Foundation to play in the life of the community beyond providing jobs. Google, for example, has generously provided the Austin Public Library with Google Chat. Voila! Every Austinite now has access to video-conferencing technology - all they have to do is visit their library.

In addition to providing the Austin Public Library with financial support, the Library Foundation has a handful of popular and dynamic programs of its own. Most of which are in close partnership with the library and enhance the reading experience, including the Mayor’s Book Club and the New Fiction Confab. Our Badgerdog program offers a creative writing summer camp and other writing workshops year round at schools, community centers and of course the Austin Public Library.

Austin’s new central library, due to open in November of this year, will redefine the library experience for the 21st century. Designed by Lake Flato Architects and Shepley Bulfinch, it will be architecturally striking and will provide the entire community access to information and knowledge through cutting edge technology, extensive print and digital collections, and dynamic and enriching programming.  Some of the new library’s features will include a 350 seat event center, an art gallery, cooking demonstration area and a rooftop garden with a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake which would be quite a nice spot to listen to a classical guitar performance.

Steve Bercu of BookPeople

BookPeople_logoFor our literature-inspired summer series, narratives, our unique three-concert event taking place the evenings of June 25, July 9, and July 30 at the Blanton Museum Auditorium we’ve teamed with BookPeople, Texas' largest book store, as a presenting partner. We invited co-owner Steve Bercu to share some thoughts on what it’s like to be part of this Austin institution.

At BookPeople we make it a priority to involve ourselves with as much of the literary world of Austin as possible. I’m excited about getting to come to work every day and be surrounded by the entire world of books and both my employees and the people who come in here to share their literary lives.

There are very few bookstores in the US where people could have an experience that compares to the one they will have at BookPeople. We have talented buyers who make the selections that fill our shelves and we have expert booksellers who can discuss almost any topic in a meaningful way to help our customers with their choices of reading material (or gifts).

BookPeople has a full schedule of events (about 4 or 5 per week). Summer includes our literary camp program that is in full swing right now; summer reading program for all ages of school kids; and getting ready for the very busy fall season. Check out our website to see what is coming.

We're excited that BookPeople is co-hosting lunchtime conversations with Austin Classical Guitar on the Wednesdays before each concert of our Summer Series. Tickets are $15 and include lunch.