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''Cuatro,'' ''Ctyri,'' ''Four'' Musicians Play World Music

The talented ensemble Festival of Four performed A World of Music on a Single Stage at the Berea College convocation on March 9. Consisting of members from Spain, Chile, the United States and the Czech Republic, and playing classical and ethnic music with French, South American, Russian and bluegrass influences, Festival of Four put on a memorable concert that truly showed a world of music.

The Festival of Four.

But there was one style of music they had overlooked, said guitarist Richard Patterson. "We're coming to Kentucky," noted Patterson. "We ought to try to cover all the bases." Patterson and fellow guitarist Guillermo Rios then paid homage to country music by launching into a brief, humorous rendition of "Let's Turn Back the Years."

That was only one example of the group's fun-loving approach to the audience, and to their own music. As Radim Zenkl began to demonstrate his unique "duo-style" by playing the mandolin with his fingers and a pick simultaneously, he joked, "It is done live, before your very eyes!"

Radim Zenkl is one of the world's premier mandolin players, and became U.S. National Mandolin Champion in 1992. He was born in Opava, Czech Republic, and was introduced to the mandolin through bluegrass music that was smuggled into his country.

The other members of Festival of Four are equally accomplished performers. Flutist Viviana Guzman was born in Chile and graduated from the Julliard School of Music. She has been a frequent solo performer with orchestras in Russia, Chile and the United States, including Carnegie Hall and other prominent stages, and currently performs over 80 concerts a year. She has a collection of over a hundred flutes from many different countries.

Flamenco guitarist Guillermo Rios is one of Spain's foremost flamenco artists, and has returned to the United States after 17 years of performing and touring throughout the world.

Richard Patterson, guitarist and founder of the Festival of Four, studied music in Spain. He is an award-winning recording artist and has gone on many critically-acclaimed tours, and his compositions and arrangements can be heard in feature films and television and radio worldwide.

Festival of Four performed classical and ethnic music, including many of their own arrangements. Each of the performers also shared a solo piece, representing their personal style as well as that of the group as a whole. They also shared information about their instruments and some of the arrangements, drawing on their community background as performers for schools, classrooms and educational programs.

Near the end of the concert, Viviana Guzman briefly put aside her flute to perform a Middle-Eastern style dance. Her three fellow performers accompanied her on guitar and drums. After she finished her dance, Patterson joked to the audience, "You don't know how lucky you are. You see, we alternate who does the dance… next time, it's Guillermo's turn."

More information about Festival of Four can be found at the links below. CDs by both the group and the individual members can be ordered from the Festival of Four website. They performed at Berea College as part of the Stephenson Memorial Concert Series.

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