Berta Rojas, Guitarist
Berta Rojas ranks among today’s foremost classical guitarists. She has been praised as “guitarist extraordinaire” by the Washington Post and by Classical Guitar Magazine as “ambassador of the classical guitar.”
Berta has been nominated three times for Latin Grammy Awards; in the category of Best Instrumental Album for Día y Medio – A Day and a Half, a duet with Paquito D’Rivera (2012), in the category of Best Classical Album, for her album Salsa Roja (2014), and more recently in the category of Best Tango Album, for her album History of Tango (2015), recorded with the Camerata Bariloche.
Berta’s acknowledged warmth and musicality have earned her the admiration of audiences at major venues worldwide: the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at the Lincoln Center, in New York, London’s South Bank Centre, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the National Concert Hall in Dublin, where she performed as a soloist with the Irish Radio and Television Orchestra, and the Flagey Studio 4 in Brussels, where she performed with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra for Belgian National Television.
In 2011, with guest Paquito D’Rivera, Berta initiated the four-year tour “In the Footsteps of Mangoré” which followed the travels of Agustín Barrios, pioneer of the classical guitar in the Americas. The duo performed in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries, concluding the journey at the national theater of the capital of El Salvador, final resting place of the celebrated composer.
Berta takes her audience on a colorful journey of sound, embracing new works by composers in diverse genres. The journey is echoed in recordings such as Cielo Abierto (2006) and Terruño (2009), as well as the duo with Carlos Barbosa-Lima on Alma y Corazón (2007) and the celebrated Intimate Barrios (2008) featuring works by the great Paraguayan composer and guitarist. On her latest recording, Felicidade (2017), she pays tribute to Brazilian music, with guest artists including Gilberto Gil, Toquinho and Ivan Lins.
In addition to continually enriching her own career through international tours and master classes, Berta Rojas is firmly committed to furthering and disseminating the classical guitar. A particular focus is on promoting the music of her country, Paraguay, as well as Latin American music more widely, and her ongoing support for the careers of young, upcoming guitarists.
With this aim, she created the first online classical guitar competition, the Barrios World Wide Web Competition, in 2009, and was the Artistic Director of the Ibero-American Guitar Festival at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., She also co-founded the young persons’ Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar, offering winners the opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
After initial studies in her native Paraguay with Felipe Sosa and Violeta de Mestral, Berta studied in Uruguay under Abel Carlevaro, Eduardo Fernández and Mario Payseé, and at the USA’s Peabody Institute under Manuel Barrueco, Ray Chester and Julian Gray. She has recently joined the prestigious Berklee College of Music as Associate Professor, sharing her knowledge and love of music with a select group of young guitarists from all over the world.
Berta Rojas has been ranked amongst the most influential women in the Hispanic world (EFE and EsGlobal 2014; 2017). She has been named a Fellow of the Americas by the US Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her artistic excellence, and honored by her country with the title Illustrious Ambassador of Musical Art. In 2015 she was awarded the National Order of Merit of the Comuneros, and the title of Doctor honoris causa by two national universities. In 2017, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to culture, she received both the National Order of Merit Don José Falcón and the Carlos Colombino Award.