I wanted to take a moment to talk about Jorge Caballero.  Jorge is, of course, the centerpiece of Austin Pictures next Saturday night (10/1) at ACL Live.

I have a few friends in the world who I rely on to help keep me updated on the most exciting classical guitar developments internationally.  It was a number of years ago now that a friend told me about Jorge, and did so with such superlative flourish that I believe I was in touch with Jorge about coming to Austin within a day or two!  His concert, in a lovely west Austin home eight months later, remains one of the great highlights of my life – musical or otherwise.

It’s not often that one encounters an individual of such brilliance – in one’s own professional field! – as to result in a total personal paradigm shift.  But as I listened to him play a Bach Keyboard Suite that night, my heart pounding frighteningly hard in my chest, that’s precisely what happened.  My heart must have been responding to what Allan Kozinn of the New York Times called “a deft, powerful technique and a soft-spoken interpretive persona.”

This clip online is a marvelous example of the Caballero dichotomy.  Soft, understated presence – tuning the guitar – gives way to technical and musical brilliance of a sort that’s almost unimaginable, as he plays the opening of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, live.  Hold on to your seats!

Jorge’s performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is the inspirational centerpiece for Austin Pictures (tickets here).  Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the most famous orchestral works of all time – you’d recognize the tune if you heard it.  It describes, in music, gallery-goers walking through an exhibit of ten evocative paintings.  Maestro Peter Bay describes it a bit, actually, in our interview online.  The evening includes many things from a (wonderful) short film about the eleven paintings we’ve commissioned (see them here), to the premiere of “Austin Pictures” for large ensemble (meet the composer!), and more.  But the night ends with Caballero’s performance of the Mussorgsky, and I simply can’t wait to hear the spectacular music he will make with it!