Berta Rojas

Biography

Renowned for her flawless technique and innate musicality, 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.” She has been nominated three times for a Latin Grammy Award; 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 accorded her a place of preference among audiences that have applauded her at such major stages as the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall and the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, London’s South Bank Centre, 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, as well as the Flagley Studio 4 in Brussels where she performed with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra for the Belgian National Television.

In 2011, Berta, along with Paquito D’Rivera as guest star, 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; the final resting place of this celebrated composer.

Her performances as a soloist showcase her mastery in terms of interpretation and technique. Berta takes the audience of each concert on a colorful journey of sounds embracing new works by composers of diverse genres. This is echoed in her discography which includes recordings such as Cielo Abierto (2006) and Terruño (2009), as well as the duo with Carlos Barbosa-Lima in Alma y Corazón (2007) and the celebrated album, Intimate Barrios (2008), that offers works by the great Paraguayan composer and guitarist, Agustín Barrios.

In addition to continually enriching her own artistic career through frequent international tours giving concerts 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, and ongoing support for the careers of young, upcoming artists.

Along those lines, she created the first online classical guitar competition, the Barrios World Wide Web Competition in 2009. With two editions already held, it continues to generate tremendous interest throughout the guitar world. Additionally, Berta was the Artistic Director of the three editions of the Ibero-American Guitar Festival at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., and co-founded the Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar for youth, garnering the winners an opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Berta Rojas first studied with Felipe Sosa, Violeta de Mestral in her native Paraguay. She then moved to Uruguay to study under Abel Carlevaro, and went on to get a Bachelor of Music degree from the Escuela Universitaria de Música there as a student of Eduardo Fernández, while also taking lessons with Mario Payseé. She wenton and add a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Institute under the guidance of Manuel Barrueco. At Peabody, she also took lessons with Ray Chester and Julian Gray.

Rojas has been honored as a Fellow of the Americas by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her artistic excellence. In a 2014 publication, the news agency EFE deems her one of the most influential women in the Hispanic world.

  • “In the hands of Berta Rojas, the classical guitar truly becomes the world’s instrument---a means of bridging wide cultural divides via the uncommon clarity and inherent loveliness of her music”

    Mark Holston - Latina Magazine

  • “All is performed to perfection by an artist who seemingly takes everything in her stride…One runs out of superlatives when writing about Berta Rojas, it has all been said before, countless times”

    Steve Marsh - Classical Guitar Magazine

  • “The unbearable heat and humidity outside Meralco Theater didn’t dampen the spirit of Manila’s music lovers who gave Paraguay guitar icon Berta Rojas a standing ovation after the last section of Agustin Pio Barrios Mangore’s “La Catedral,” which left no doubt about the immense stature of the visiting artist”

    Pablo A. Tariman - Philippine Daily Inquirer

  • “I have not watched another guitarist who could draw such warmly golden tones out of a piece of wood! Nor have I encountered a guitar more sonorous or more deeply throated; listening to this one guitar was equivalent to listening to a choir of them!”

    Julie Yap Daza - Tempo Philippines Newspaper Tabloid

  • “Rojas is Rojas and that is the highest complement one could bestow upon another”

    Travis Rogers, Jr - The Jazz Times

  • “…Ninety minutes maintained at the highest level of performance and interpretation”

    Colin Cooper - Classical Guitar Magazine

  • “…Rojas clearly has Barrios’ music deeply in her blood…”

    Stephen Brookes - Washington Post

  • “…heart-touching musical artistry”

    Jim McCutcheon - Soundboard Magazine

  • “…an ambassador of the classical guitar”

    Tim Panting - Classical Guitar Magazine

  • “…Berta Rojas, guitarist extraordinaire”

    Mark Adamo - Washington Post

  • “Only once in a great while does a classical CD come along which is so impeccable in every aspect of professionalism: heart touching musical artistry, interesting repertoire, and excellent technical production. Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas ‘Cielo Abierto’ is one of these”

    Jim McCutcheon - Soundboard

  • “a very full audience was treated to an evening full of warmth, sensitivity and magic, beginning the very moment Ms. Rojas stepped onto the stage. The elegance, grace, rhythm, warmth, strength, sadness and humour were stunningly balanced in what would seem a perfect combination of composer and performer. The result? A truly magical performance”

    Hayley Savage - Bristol Guitar Society Newsletter

  • “The music on ‘Terruño’ proves to be some of the most expressive and idiomatic guitar music in the repertoire.. Terruño contains some of the most exciting pieces recently written for solo guitar, and uses every aspect of the instrument. Rojas executes the fast scales and arpeggios, harmonics, rasgueados, and percussive tapping techniques with incredible precision, tone, and clarity. She performs this music as if she has always known it, with the deepest understanding and passion and her expert musicianship shines through this recording”

    Brad Conroy - Guitar International

  • “This concert was an entirely masterful performance”

    Martin Slater - Southampton Guitar Society Newsletter

  • “Berta Rojas is a master guitarist who displays outstanding technical and musical capabilities in this recording ‘Intimate Barrios’. Her feeling for the music imbues these interpretations with qualities that reflect what one imagines Barrios originally intended… The qualities of Barrios are aurally conveyed to us through the music by Rojas: love of beauty, goodness, spirituality and love itself. There is great tenderness in some of the interpretations but Rojas is capable of chameleon-like swings in mood as required in La Catedral, and the transition from Choro da Saudade to Las Abejas. Her tremolo is as smooth as glass and the often remarkably challenging technical components of the music are disguised by formidable technique, making them seem non-existent. Not to be missed if the original release escaped you”

    Zane Turner - MusicWeb International

  • “As a performer, Rojas ranks among the top players of the day as she is both technically proficient and emotionally expressive on every piece”

    Dr. Matthew Warnock - Modern Guitar Magazine