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Meet the artist: Marco Sartor

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Marco Sartor, a classical guitarist from Uraguay, will perform Saturday at the Indiana History Center.
Marco Sartor, a classical guitarist from Uraguay, will perform Saturday at the Indiana History Center.

The guitar is an instrument that would seem to the antithesis of classical music.

Shrieking solos and driving power chords would seem better suited for the rock ‘n’ roll arena than the symphony hall.

But for Marco Sartor, strumming and picking is his favorite vehicle for capturing the beauty of some of classical’s best composers.

The Uruguay native will perform Saturday at the Indiana History Center. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Sartor performing with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.

His repertoire will include Villa-Lobos’ “Guitar Concerto” and Vivaldi’s “Guitar Concerto in D Major.”

Tickets to the show are $30 for adults and $12 for students. The history center is at 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis.

How did you get started playing guitar?

I was 7 years old, and for my birthday, I asked for a guitar. I actually wanted a toy guitar. My parents actually shopped around and found a three-quarters-size real guitar. I remember it came with eight free lessons. They bought it and sent me to lessons.

Did you start out studying classical, or was it more contemporary?

It was classical. My teacher, Robert R., he was a classical guitarist. I was a kid, and I didn’t know the difference. I just wanted to play popular music, but I started right from the beginning learning proper classical guitar.

When did you begin appreciating how beautiful this music can be?

It was in my mid-teens. I was getting better, and learning more complex pieces. When I was 14 and 15, I delved a little bit in rock and roll, electric guitar. I tried to put the classical guitar in the corner. But deep down, I knew eventually, I knew I would always go back to classical.

How did you transition to a professional musician?

When I was 17, I was finishing high school in Uruguay. I had to pick either going into engineering school or music university. It was a landmark, a big step. “OK, this is what I’m going to do.” Also, around that first time, won my first competition in Uraguay. I got some concerts out of it and appeared on national TV.

What are the challenges of playing classical guitar vs. rock ‘n’ roll guitar?

The main difference is that we play music that has been written out, with very specific instructions of how it should sound, so we have to practice them very many times. If you play rock ‘n’ roll, you play your own tunes how you want, or you do other people’s songs with your own interpretation.

What can people expect from this concert?

Great music. I love both pieces. The Vivaldi piece is an audience favorite. It’s three rather short movements, two that are very lively and a middle one with a slow, beautiful melody. And the Villa-Lobos piece is a very important guitar concerto. It reunites many of the things of Vialobos music — Brazilian music, indigenous music. It’s an exploration of the guitar.

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