|Artistic Achievement Award 2014 - Jorge Morel|
Virtuoso guitarist, composer, recording artist, and educator, Jorge Morel, born in Argentina and now living and working in New York City, has excited thousands of international audiences for more than thirty years with his live performances incorporating brilliant technique, a uniquely personal style, and sophisticated artistic expression. He has performed extensively in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan for the last several years, but has limited concert appearances in the United States due to other commitments. As impressive as his record as a performing artist is, Morel’s creative contributions as a composer have achieved the respect and recognition of his peers and established his position as a leader in the ongoing development of the classical guitar.
Through his original compositions and arrangements, Jorge Morel has added substantially to the existing repertoire for classical guitar, while consistently challenging traditional, technical, and stylistic limitations. His impressive mastery of classical technique combined with his intimate knowledge of the physical and acoustical characteristics of the instrument have resulted in an innovative approach to the complex task of composing for classical guitar. His ability to blend his love of Latin American rhythmic textures with sophisticated jazz harmonies permeates his work with a musical imagination that is all his own, attested to by the many artists worldwide who have performed and recorded his works.
Names such as Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, David Russell, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, the Assad Brothers, and Ricardo Iznaola have recorded many of Morel’s original compositions and arrangements, including “Pampero,” “Sonatina,” “Romance Criollo,” “Guitar Concerto,” and “Danza Brasilera,” among others. In addition to the many artists who have recorded his compositions, Morel himself has also created an extensive library of solo recordings. His recorded work spans three decades and includes twelve releases on both major and independent labels such as RCA Victor, Decca, Guitar Masters, SESAC, and Luthier Music. His most recent recordings are The Art of Jorge Morel, Latin Impressions, and Latin Dialog, available on Luthier Music.
Morel is also recognized for his commitment to the development and exposure of new talent, making his knowledge and experience accessible to serious students of guitar through masterclasses and private instruction. During his annual European concert tour, Morel’s itinerary is specifically designed to accommodate an active teaching schedule. Acting in the role of mentor, he has offered several former students the opportunity to join him in live performance, lending his name and support to help launch a gifted young professional’s career.
Jorge Morel made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1961, followed by appearances at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Town Hall in New York, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, National Hall in Dublin, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. His performances have been enthusiastically received in many countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, England, France, Japan, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.
Morel’s musical career began in his native country of Argentina as his father taught him the rudiments of classical guitar at the age of seven. He went on to study advanced guitar at the internationally recognized Academy of Professor Pablo Escobar in Buenos Aires, and after graduating joined Mr. Escobar in radio and concert performances.
Morel left Argentina to perform in Ecuador, Colombia, and Cuba, where he recorded his first solo LP and was featured on a weekly TV show. Vladimir Bobri, President of the New York Classical Guitar Society, lent his recognition and support to Morel after hearing him perform in Puerto Rico. This led to concert engagements in California and Hawaii and Morel’s eventual debut at Carnegie Hall. At this time, he recorded his second LP for Decca Records and subsequently recorded three more solo albums.
After moving to New York City, Morel performed nightly at the jazz lover’s haven, The Village Gate, sharing the bill with jazz legends such as Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, and Herbie Mann. Around this time, Jorge met Chet Atkins and established what was to grow into a lifelong friendship. Chet Atkins demonstrated his admiration for Morel in a very tangible way when he helped to arrange for the recording of Jorge’s sixth solo album with RCA Victor.
Morel continued to solidify his reputation as an outstanding artist and composer with the premiere of Suite del sur, a concerto for guitar and orchestra, which he performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He continued his study of composition for a number of years with the late Rudy Schramm, respected teacher, author, columnist, and arranger.