We were thrilled when Blanton Museum Manager of Public Programs, Adam Bennet, reached out to us in the fall for a collaboration to give a musical introduction to the breathtaking new Judy and Charles Tate Collection of Latin American Art currently on exhibit. The very first guitarist we thought of was Chilean virtuoso Nicolas Emilfork. Currently working on his doctoral degree at the University of Texas Butler School of Music with professor Adam Holzman, Emilfork’s research focus is music in the modern era from Latin America, so it seemed like a perfect fit!


The concert is Thursday, January 15th at 5:30 PM in the upper gallery at the Blanton, and admission is free. Find more details online here.

We asked Nicolas Emilfork and Adam Bennet a few questions about the exhibit and about what we might expect from this Third Thursday experience, turns out there is more following the concert:

Austin Classical Guitar: Nicolas, what do you think of the Tate collection?

Nicolas Emilfork: I think that it’s an amazing, interesting, and crucial collection that includes works from important Latin-American artists that took avant-garde styles from Europe during the twentieth century such as Cubism, Surrealism, and others. They created their works combining these styles with their Latin-American background and culture. I think that this mix of cultures is crucial to understand and appreciate the contemporary art production that Latin-American artists produce. Also, the fact that the collection shows works from contemporary Latin-American artists of different countries brings diversity too.

This connects a lot with the focus that I have been developing in Latin-American music works in large forms where the composers employ a similar process. Finally, as a Latin-American musician, is an honor to play a concert related with this collection that reinforces the powerful role that the Blanton and the University of Texas at Austin have in the dissemination of the culture and art of our countries in the United States.

ACG: Adam, this Third Thursday is packed with fun things. What can people expect in addition to Nicolas’ concert?

Adam Bennet: It’s an exciting night! Right after Nicolas’s performance, our curator of Latin American art, Beverly Adams, will be talking in the auditorium about the Tate collection—it’s great to hear a musician’s response to art right before an art historian explains their significance. There’s also a Spanish language tour of the museum, plus a conversation about a really interesting new photograph that we acquired by Dawoud Bey, and even yoga in the galleries earlier that afternoon.

ACG: Nicolas, what will you be playing and, in a few words, why?
NE: I will play works by Carlos Guastavino (Argentina), Leo Brouwer (Cuba), and Ronaldo Miranda (Brazil). The reason is that these composers take elements from western or European styles developed during the nineteenth and twentieth century, combining them with folk or traditional elements of their own countries. So, it’s possible to see neoclassical, post-romantic, chromaticism, and other characteristics in these works.

This compositional process has similar elements compared with works created by artists present in the collection. In other words, I would like to express in music some of the ideas that the public will be able to see there.

ACG: Adam, What do you love about music at the Blanton?

AB: I love hearing creative people talk about how they find inspiration in other media. Musicians are always excited about working a different set of creative muscles when they play at the Blanton—and it’s a real treat to make these collaborations happen, whether it’s a filmmaker talking about painting, or a photographer talking about dance, or a guitarist making music about sculpture. The Blanton is a creative space and we’re thrilled to present creative artists like Nicolas in our galleries.

blanton exhibit piece