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Bach to Blues 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016
7:30 PM
Gavilan Theater

Bach to Blues Performers

Maria Amirkhanian | John Garcia 
Alberto Marqués |  Nate Pruitt
 Gavilan Performance Ensemble



Maria Amirkhanian

A native of Yerevan, Armenia, Maria Amirkhanian began piano lessons at the age of five. After graduating from Tchaikovsky School of Music, Maria was accepted to Komitas State Conservatory, where she obtained her B.M. in piano performance under guidance of Armine Mokatsian. In 1993, Maria was accepted, with a full scholarship, to CSU Freasno where she became a student of Andreas Werz. In addition to performing throughout California and internationally, Maria has participated in master classes with Peter Frankl, Barbara Nissman, Tomas Ungar, Ruth Loredo and Oxana Yablonskaya. In 1994, Maria was awarded second place at the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Pasadena.

The following year she won first place at the 1995 MTA Solo Competition, a statewide event. Maria was the winner of the Fresno Organizers Scholarship Award in 1996. In 2000, she obtained her DMA from Moscow Conservatory, Russia, where she studied under Yuri Hayrapetian. After serving as a piano instructor at CSU Fresno, Maria joined the faculty of Gavilan College Music Department in the Fall of 2006. In addition to teaching, Maria is the coordinator for Bach to Blues Concert series and the Marian Filice Piano Competition.

John Garcia

As a professional singer and guitarist for the last 30 years, John Garcia has performed with John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Johny Winters, Paul Simon and Huey Lewis. Bo Diddley once described John as "one hell of an entertainer." As a blues guitarist, there are few his equal. Instrumental virtuosity coupled with a unique vocal style are his trademarks.

John has been teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area for 25 years now. His credentials include both private instruction and group instruction for places such as Gavilan College, South Valley Music Conservatory, Morgan Hill Adult Community School, and breakout sessions at Harmonica Masterclass Workshops all around the world. John is also a published author with Mel Bay Publications.

Alberto Marqués

Albert Marqués, known as El Ajito in the flamenco world, was born into a family where flamenco was a part of life. Albert’s first teacher was his father. Later he went on to study with world renowned guitarist, Mariano Cordoba. Wanting to pursue his dreams, Marqués moved to Spain in 1989 and studied with one of the top guitarist in Spain, Chicuelo. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1992, Marqués went to CSU, Fresno to study with yet another world renowned guitarist, Juan Serrano.

In 1994, Albert entered the prestigious Fresno Guitar Society Competition for the first time and won first place. Albert has done television and radio performances as well as extensive touring throughout California, Spain, and South America.

Some of Albert’s most recent projects include the song, "Piel de Seda" for the movie soundtrack, It’ll Happen. In January of this year, Alberto was a featured guitarist for the concert series, Dynamic Guitars, held at the Historic Hoover Center in San Jose.

Albert Marqués is married to concert pianist Maria Amirkhanian. They have twin daughters, Jade and Dominique, who love playing Mom’s piano and Dad’s guitars.

Nate Pruitt


Acclaimed as "the finest jazz scatting vocalist on the West Coast," (Good Times, Santa Cruz, CA), Nate Pruitt has developed his unique style over a long and multifaceted musical education. He is a Gavilan College music instructor.

Nate Pruitt and Guitarist Rick Vandivier are Primary Colors, a jazz and blues duo often featuring other great musicians in the California Bay Area of San Francisco and San Jose. Their music is more than jazz and blues. It also includes elements of swing, soul, pop, spiritual, and Latin rhythms ... and even a trademark deep Southern yodel.

Gavilan Performance Ensemble

The Performance Ensemble is composed of Gavilan music students in the Music 12 and Music 14 classes. They study, rehearse, and perform a broad spectrum of musical genre and styles, with extensive consideration of contemporary commercial repertoire and performance modes.