Renowned classical guitarists come to CSUN

The Assad Brothers are known for their versatile musical ability and they will bring classical guitar to CSUN Nov. 13.

The Assads play larger works by composers who are not traditionally played on the guitar, such as Gershwin and Bach, said Steven Thadchuk, chairof the guitar department.

“I enjoy when they play the baroque music because it’s so fantastic,” said Ron Borczon, professor of classical guitar and music therapy.

Sergio and Odair Assad were born in Brazil to a musical family, according to a biography provided by their management company, Opus 3 Artists.

Sergio Assad composes original music and also reworks folk, jazz and Latin music. The brothers have won Grammys as a duo and Sergio has won Grammys individually for composition.

The Assad Brothers will play at the Plaza del Sol at 8 p.m. Tickets for students with a school ID are $21.

Thadchuk saw the Assads play for the first time at CSUN in the 1990s at an international guitar festival.

“I had heard about them for years and it was always that they were the reference point for everybody,” he said.

He heard them play a piece by Piazzolla, an Argentinean tango composer, and that’s what made him fall for their music, Thadchuk said.

“They are what we would call classical music A-list,” he said.

Although they are two separate people, the brothers play like one person, Thadchuk said, adding that their technical command and communication are exceptional.

Borczon agrees with this assessment.

“As individual guitarists, they are phenomenal, but when you put them together, their chemistry is really fantastic,” he said.

Classical guitar sometimes does not gain wide acceptance, but the Assad Brothers are an exception, Thadchuk said.

“They’ve somehow managed to cross over to the upper echelon of classical performers,” he said.

Among their many collaborations, the Assads and Yo-Yo Ma appeared together on Garrison Keillor’s radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” in December 2009, according to Opus 3 Artists.

Additionally, the Assads were featured on Yo-Yo Ma’s 2009 CD “Songs of Joy & Peace.” On that album, Yo-Yo Ma played Sergio’s composition in the song “Familia,” which featured several members of the Assad family.

The Assad Brothers and Yo-Yo Ma are working on collaborating for a future U.S. tour.

The duo are an inspiration to other classical guitar players, Thadchuk said.

“I think when other guitarists listen to them and hear just how amazing their ability to connect on so many levels is that it inspires guitarists to try to reach that level,” he said.

Many students are not aware of their music, Borczon said.

“I’ve seen the program they’re going to play and it’s fantastic,” Thadchuk said, adding that even those who are not fans of classical music will enjoy the performance.

As of Saturday afternoon, there were two tickets left for the performance, said Krystal Laughton, ticket seller at the University Student Union.