Keene State College

Jose Lezcano
Music Department




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Jose Lezcano, Guitarist, Composer, & Folklorist

Image - Jose Lezcano


Teaching profile

    Dr. Lezcano teaches courses in music theory, aural skills, analytical techniques, Latin American music, and directs the KSC Guitar Orchestra and Latin American ensemble.   He also teaches courses in applied guitar and guitar pedagogy.   He maintains a keen interest in ethnomusicology, especially that related to Latin America, composition, and new pedagogies related to guitar performance, music theory, and aural skills.   Dr. Lezcano's students have excelled in graduate study, as performers on concert series and cruise ships, and as public and private school teachers.  


    Cuban-American guitarist, composer, folklorist, and music educator José Lezcano has captivated audiences on four continents.  His programs of Latin American music, his own original compositions, and traditional repertory, have taken him from Carnegie Recital Hall to important venues in Germany, China, Peru, Czech Republic, Ecuador, and Colombia.   His compositions include two concerti, a song cycle, a choral suite, chamber music, and solos, all involving the guitar and written in an eclectic, expressive, but accessible language that is praised for "energy" and "soaring melodies" (Flute Talk).  His chamber works with guitar, published by Alry and Tuscany, have been performed by major artists including Ricardo Cobo, Antigoni Goni, Duo Fresco, the Alturas Duo, and William Bennet.  His most recent work, "Tango Overture," was premiered by Eric Stumacher and the Keene Chamber Orchestra in October 2006.

     Since 1991 he has served on the faculty of Keene State College, where he is Professor of Music, with a Ph.D. (music theory) from Florida State University and BM (guitar) from Peabody Conservatory. His guitar studies were with Aaron Shearer and Christopher Berg, and he performed in masterclasses of Lorimer, Isbin, and Cuban composer/guitarist Leo Brouwer, who called him “un guitarrista magnifico.”

     He has published articles pertaining to Latin American music in Soundboard, Latin American Music Review, and the Latino Encyclopedia .  His interest in ethnomusicology has resulted in numerous trips to Ecuador, funded by grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Whiting Foundation, and Keene State College, to study the folk traditions and mythology of the guitar.  His research is reflected in a multi-media presentation, "The Guitar and the Devil," which he presents to civic and school groups as lecturer for the New Hampshire Humanities Council, and in his compositional work.  The last movement of his guitar concerto, "Ecuadorian Landscapes," employs traditional folk tunes and instruments within a conventional symphony orchestra.     

       Among his numerous awards: first prize, 1982 MTNA National Guitar Competition; 1998 Fulbright Award in Ecuador to teach, perform, and research indigenous guitar traditions; 2002 Commissioned Composer of the Year (NH Music Teacher's Assocation); 2003 NH State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship; and 2003 Keene State College's Award for Distinction in Research and Scholarship in recognition of his activities as performer, scholar, and composer.

       He is a frequent performer in New England, with appearances, as soloist and collaborative artist, at Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, the Concord Community Music School, the Portsmouth Athaneum, the St. Gaudens Concert Series, Dartmouth College Vaughan Series, Boston University, and Natick Community Concert Association.  He appears in duo with virtuoso pianist Virginia Eskin, with flutists Jennifer Yeaton Parris and Sergio Palotelli, and with Musicians of Wall Street including oboist Stefani Burk.   As concerto soloist he has performed locally with the Granite State Symphony and Keene Chamber Orchestra in concertos by Rodrigo and Lezcano (his Poemas Concertantes for flute, guitar & small orchestra, and most recently, his Concerto for solo guitar, strings, percussion, and optional Andean folk instruments).

       In South America he has been a frequent soloist with the National Symphony of Ecuador; additional appearances include the Philharmonics of Loja (Ecuador) and Lima (Peru).   He has been guitarist for the Mitad del Mundo International Flute Festival in Quito since 1990.  In 1998 he performed with flutist Bonnie Insull and bassoonist Matthew Shubin at the Chengdu Conservatory in China for Apple Hill's “Playing for Peace.” Their first CD, “Passports,” was released in 1999 to critical acclaim.  In March 2004 he toured Hamburg, Cologne, and Bonn, performing with flutists from South America in works by himself, Piazzolla, and other Latin composers. Jose was soloist in his own Guitar Concerto at the June 2005 premiere in New York City with the North-South Consonance Orchestra conducted by Max Lifshitz.   He has also performed this concerto with the Orquesta Juvenil del Conservatorio Nacional de Musica (Quito, Ecuador) and with the Orquesta de Tolima (Colombia).

       In Ecuador, his most recent appearance was at the International Guitar Festival of Quito (October 2006) where he performed a solo recital and lectured on "The Guitar and the Devil."  In Colombia, his most recent appearances have included Medellin (EAFIT University), Cali (the Antonio Valencia Conservatory), and Ibague (Conservatorio de Tolima), where he performed in 2005 and 2006 for the First and Second Seminario Interamericano de Guitarra, a prestigious international event with participating musicians from Spain, Uruguay, Chile, and Colombia. His Colombian appearances have also included masterclasses, and lectures on his chamber works and concerti for guitar.

        He recently released his second CD, “Latin Images,” a compilation of solo and duo works from Spain and Latin America. The CD is available on-line at, and also at the Borders Books store and the Hannah Grimes store in Keene, N.H.  He is on the Touring Artist Roster of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and is represented by Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates of Portsmouth, NH. (see or send email to )

(October 2006)

Selected Quotes
"Jose Lezcano ... is a superb guitarist as well as a first-rate composer and arranger." --New Millenium Guitar

"Un guitarrista magnifico", --Leo Brouwer

"Cuban-born Lezcano is a master of the guitar" --Keene Sentinel, Keene, NH

For bookings or to purchase CD, contact Jose directly at (603) 358-2180