Carlos Perez is the 2011 Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies. In the past, the scholars have been authors, politicians, poets and journalists. Perez is a world-class guitarist.
He took part in the 2010 Columbus State University Guitar Symposium, so he’s familiar with the Schwob School as well as some of the guitar students.
“I liked it a lot,” he said of the Schwob campus. “The faculty is very impressive.”
And he really liked the facilities at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Perez also likes all the historic markers outside many of the buildings in downtown Columbus and the Historic District.
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Before coming here last year, he knew Andrew Zohn, the CSU guitar professor.
“I knew his work,” Perez said of Zohn. “I knew him as a performer, teacher and composer.”
Perez is excited about being the Amos Scholar because he brings his love and knowledge of Latin-American music to the Schwob students as well as the local communities.
His earliest memories of childhood involve guitar music. His father, though not a professional guitarist, would play guitar almost every day. Around the time he was 5 years old, he picked up one of his father’s guitars and started playing.
“I tried to imitate him,” Perez said. Instead of a child-sized guitar, he used a regular, full-sized one. He remembers he could barely lift the guitar, much less try to fit his small hands around the guitar’s neck.
The first things he learned from his father were popular and folk tunes of Chile.
Now, he teaches guitar at the University of Chile in Santiago and performs and gives master classes around the world. He also records.
He’s really happy to be able to bring the music of Latin America to Columbus, especially the composers that many students had not heard before.
He plays a 1999 guitar made by Angel Benito Aguado in Madrid.
Perez, 34, is engaged to Genevieve Leitner, a fellow guitarist. He says they’ll marry in May 2012. And he hopes to perform a duo with her one day, he said.