Renowned Guitar Collector Endows Professorship
Nov. 4, 2009
Russell Cleveland is internationally known as a collector of classical and acoustic guitars. His collection, which spans the evolution of guitar making, is the basis for the book, The Classical Guitar: A Complete History, which is valued highly as a reference guide.
Cleveland’s love for the music is reflected in his support for the Guitar Studies program at The University of Texas at Dallas and has made him the driving force behind the Texas Guitar Competition, about to celebrate its ninth year and presented by the School of Arts and Humanities.
Enric Madriguera is the first recipient of the Russell Cleveland Endowed Professorship for Guitar Studies.
“If you aspire to greatness, you need an angel,” said Kratz. “Russell Cleveland is our angel. He understands what we’re trying to accomplish with our program, the union of excellence in performance with a profound understanding of the guitar’s role as a symbol and embodiment of cultural values.”
Madriguera is a master of the classical guitar. His recordings of Spanish and Latin American music have received critical praise. He is in demand as a performer and teacher. Most recently, Madriguera appeared at the International Guitar Festival Rust in Austria, the Chamber Art Festival in Madrid, and the Ramon Noble Guitar Festival in Mexico. This fall he is teaching at the Escuela de Artes (School of Art) in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico, as a guest professor on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2001, Madriguera toured Vietnam and taught in the country’s music conservatories.
“I am honored to be the first holder of this professorship,” said Madriguera, who also is the founder of the UT Dallas Guitar Studies Program. “Russell’s commitment to our program goes much deeper than his generous financial support over the years. He always volunteers his time and wisdom, both of which are priceless to us. Russell’s creative thinking and managerial prowess have been great assets to the festival and building a world-class guitar series.”
Cleveland’s investment management firm, Renn Capital Group, is the main sponsor of the Texas Guitar Competition, and Cleveland chairs the Guitar Studies program advisory committee. The festival brings competitors from around the globe for a weekend of master classes, performances by award-winning classical guitarists and a demanding competition. Cleveland says his gift for the endowed professorship in guitar studies is a reflection of the pride he takes in the program and the international reputation among professional guitarists about the annual competition.
“It has been great working with Dean Kratz, Associate Dean Kathryn Evans, Professor Madriguera and the Guitar Advisory Council to develop an esteemed guitar department along with a world-class guitar competition and concert,” said Cleveland. “The beneficiaries have been the students of The University of Texas at Dallas and the community at large. Under UT Dallas President David Daniel, the university is making great strides in all areas including Arts and Humanities. I am pleased to be a small part of this.”
The next Texas Guitar Competition is March 5 and 6 at the UT Dallas Conference Center Auditorium.