Students become Miami’s tuneful trio

Courtesy of Carol A. Bonacossa

Three University of Miami students are making their mark on Miami’s music scene.
Created late last year, The Miami Guitar Trio features two graduates of the Frost School of Music, Federico Bonacossa and Federico Musgrove, and current student Alan Nguyen. The group, with its original arrangements and compositions, has drawn in full houses more than once- a major feat for a classical group, especially a trio of guitarists.
“We’re having a blast!” Bonacossa said.  “People are telling us they are enjoying the music and that they have never heard anything like this before. To be able to play music we love and get that kind of reaction is better than we could ever imagine.”
The Society of Composers, Inc. recently commissioned The Miami Guitar Trio to perform a concert of original works written by University of Miami students. They have also performed for the Sarasota Guitar Society and the Miami International Guitar Festival. At this concert, the Miami Bach Society invited them to play an all-baroque concert for their season opener.  National Public Radio’s South Florida station also featured the group in a live concert and interview this past September.
Since there is a limited amount of music for three guitars, Bonacossa arranges and composes most of the material for the group.
“We have this liberty to decide what we want to play. It’s a pain because you have to do the arranging, but it’s cool because you’re not limited by your own repertoire- you’re creating it every time,” Bonacossa said.
They perform a broad range of genres, ranging from early baroque music to more contemporary styles of music, as well as new compositions.
“The three of us like to play solo, but when we play together, it’s a whole different kind of chemistry and energy that people enjoy better, I think,” Bonacossa said.
Although the trio plays mostly classical music now, they did not start playing guitar classically. At age 10, Nguyen began to play guitar in pop and rock genres, following the footsteps of his older brother. He began to study classically in high school.
“[The switch to classical was] pretty seamless, because I wasn’t forced into it,” he said.
Musgrove began playing blues and rock guitar in his early teens, which served as training.
“When I play an electric guitar solo, I do things that I didn’t do before- I listen to the phrases, dynamics and vibrato,” he said.
Bonacossa began playing rock in his early teens. Before coming to the United States, he decided to take on the challenge of studying in an Italian conservatory, a 10-year commitment.
The three musicians hold degrees from UM in classical guitar performance. Bonacossa, who completed his master’s degree at Peabody Conservatory, also completed a doctorate at UM. Musgrove received his bachelor’s at UM and is now pursuing a master’s degree at FIU, while Nguyen finished his bachelor’s at UM and is currently enrolled in the master’s program.
“They’re all characters! They’re very compatible,” said Rene Gonzalez,program director of classical guitar at UM.
The group has high hopes for the future and is now looking to expand their performance opportunities into concert series and music festivals. Miami Guitar Trio’s first CD will be released February 2011.

Carey Goldenbeg may be contacted at cgoldenbeg@themiamihurricane.com.

November 8, 2010


Carey Goldenberg

Senior EDGE Writer

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