Tension mounted outside of the Jonsson Performance Hall on Feb. 20 as music enthusiasts were turned away from a rapidly sold out performance by award winning guitarist AliÃ©ksey Vianna.
Vianna was warmly introduced by Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, to an adoring crowd that included UTD students, members of the surrounding community and a few boisterous Brazilians cheering for their own internationally renown virtuoso.
Vianna had a warm and gentile stage presence. The hall was silent for several minutes as he closed his eyes and coiled his hands on his lap, seeming to focus his energy from the outside in.
From the second he began to play, his style indicated an almost instinctual relationship between himself and his guitar.
The first part of his program consisted of classical guitar pieces that dated back to the 16th century. He began every piece with a brief description of the work’s instrumental and melodic qualities.
Amazingly, many of the pieces he played were not originally written for the modern guitar. Most were transcribed from lute and harpsichord text.
Vianna’s performance of a Bach Prelude and Fugue was awe-inspiring. The three-part melody is almost unfathomable on a guitar, and I was left wondering where the notes were coming from.
The second half of the performance spiced things up a bit with some Brazilian folk tunes.
Songs such as “Fantasia Carioca” and “Mazurca-Choro” evoked as many cheers from Vianna’s counterparts as the classical pieces of the first half.
A true testament to Vianna’s mastery of the musical spectrum was demonstrated by the cohesion between the first and second halves of the concert.
The strength of his technique and the caliber of his deliverance did not wane during the transition from staunchly classical to a sultrier Brazilian groove.