About Leonardo García
“A faithful interpreter of Mangoré’s musical art…”
– Alirio Díaz, Concert Guitarist
“García is conscientious, intelligent, musical and technically impeccable.”
– Eliot Fisk, Concert Guitarist
“Guitarist Leo García and violinist Ian Swensen produced extraordinary music in the Centennial
Concert Saturday afternoon.” – Piedmont Post
“This is what people mean by musical playing – a truly superior performance.”
– Alan Fletcher, President, Aspen Music Festival
Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, award-winning guitarist Leonardo García has performed
in North America, South America, and Europe. Spanning a full range of centuries and styles,
García’s performances are highlighted by his rich South American repertoire, which includes
neo-romantic music by Paraguayan guitarist Agustín Barrios Mangoré, Venezuelan waltzes by
Antonio Lauro, Venezuelan songs arranged by Alirio Díaz, Segovian repertoire by Mexican
composer Manuel Ponce, and 20th Century music by Cuban Leo Brouwer, Argentinian Astor
Piazzolla, Brazilian composers Heitor Villa-Lobos, Radames Gnattali, and Sergio Assad, among
others. In addition to his solo performances, García has collaborated with other musicians to
perform music by Astor Piazzolla, Ravi Shankar, Robert Beaser, David Leisner, Frederic Hand,
Roberto Sierra, and premiered Van Stiefel’s Baubles, Carpets, and Knives for guitar, alto flute,
and vibraphone at the first Yale Guitar Extravaganza.
As a young student at Phillips Exeter Academy, García was the first guitarist to win both
the Eli Loranger Prize for Musical Excellence and the Exeter Concerto Competition leading to
the first performance of a guitar concerto at the Academy. García went on to Yale University
where he studied music, Spanish literature, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in
Economics in 1993. Afterwards, García was awarded a scholarship to study at the Yale School
of Music where he earned a Masters in Music in 1995 and an Artist Diploma in 1996. Upon
receiving the prestigious Artist Diploma, García was the first recipient of the now-coveted Eliot
Fisk Prize for his accomplishments. After Yale, García was invited to continue his studies with
Eliot Fisk at the New England Conservatory, which he completed in 1999.
García studied primarily under Benjamin Verdery and Eliot Fisk, and has benefited from the
continual advice and critiques of American guitarist Marc Teicholz and Cuban guitarist Marco
Tamayo. During his formative years, García performed in masterclasses with Venezuelan guitarist
Alirio Díaz at the Festival Antonio Lauro, as well as for David Russell, David Leisner, Carlos
Barbosa-Lima, Ricardo Iznaola, Rodrigo Riera, harpsichordists Anthony Newman and John
Gibbons, among many others.
In 2001 García founded KinderGuitar, a music education program dedicated entirely to
educating very young children through the guitar. As an active educator, Leo has worked with
hundreds of children hoping to enrich their lives with music. He has also given seminars and
lectures pertaining to successful private studio building and educating young people through
music. Leo has also contributed articles, reviews, and essays to the leading guitar journals.
When he isn’t teaching or practicing, García enjoys cooking, hiking, and reading with his wife,
Maya, and their sons, Max and Charlie, in Northern California.
For more information, visit leonardogarcia.org and kinderguitar.com.