Click here to contribute to the Javier Niño Scholarship Fund.

The Javier Niño Memorial Scholarship at Austin Classical Guitar exists to honor the memory of a wonderful young man who brought joy through beauty and kindness to countless people during his lifetime, and to support young classical guitarists in Austin, Texas — through scholarship lessons and other means — who show great promise and who will benefit from access to expert instruction and mentorship. For the 2021-22 school year, after reviewing applications from many talented student musicians across Austin ISD, two stood out. We are proud to award scholarships to both of these deserving young artists.

Juan Itzep from McCallum Fine Arts Academy and Edan Tapia at Akins High School are both senior members and leaders of their respective guitar ensembles. They have both been playing since middle school and express a deep passion for the guitar and connecting to others with the music they make. 

“I started my guitar experience in seventh grade at Parades Middle School, with my director Mr. Conger. He inspired me to continue pursuing the guitar to where I am today. When I entered the guitar program at Akins High School, my director did not think I was at the level I needed to be to enter varsity guitar but after lots of hard work and determination, I am now the President of the 2022 chapter of Varsity guitar! Since that first year in seventh grade I have done so much with this instrument, including being part of my first theatrical play this year as both the guitarist and the banjo player. I plan to continue playing guitar for the rest of my life because I simply cannot imagine living without it. I hope that I can help others love guitar as much as I do as either a teacher or performer.” – Edan Tapia

“I started playing guitar seven years ago in middle school. Ferocity filled my chest as I entered my first guitar class in sixth grade. I felt a spark that opened the door to a passion I didn’t know would become my whole life. I was a quick learner at the beginning and surely enough the passion grew larger and larger as time went on, like a snowball running down a hill. My guitar director saw that talent in me and how bright my future would be so he introduced me to McCallum High School. When I started at McCallum, I started having second thoughts. I was nervous to be in a new environment with new people of different cultures and backgrounds. But my passion for guitar overpowered that anxiety. I was able to make my first friends in highschool through guitar. On top of going to school, I had to work at a young age to help support my family and my home life was chaotic. After long stressful days, I would come home and play guitar to help soothe my emotions. While playing guitar, it feels like I’m being taken to a different place, a place where I feel calm and relaxed. Guitar is more than just an instrument to me, it opened so many opportunities that my sixth grade self would have never dreamed of.” – Juan Itzep

Juan and Edan will receive weekly private lessons with professional and expert guitar instructors, Dr. Joseph Palmer and David Lester will be working with Juan. And Evan Taucher will be Edan’s teacher and mentor. Each student will receive a concert-level instrument and they will be performing frequently at ACG events this year. 

At the heart of this award is to remember and honor Javi Nino, who was a truly beautiful player and human being in his time with us. Juan and Edan will be carrying on his tradition of joyful expression and kindness through music.