Mapleshade

AARON COTTON

Born in 1982, Aaron grew up in Richardson, Texas. His father was an artist, his mother a cellist. Like Carlo, he started piano at seven. Not quite satisfied, after a year he began trying his hand at other instruments: cello, violin, clarinet. When he was nine, he went with his mom to hear his first classical guitar concert. The music was the "Suite Compostelana" by Federico Mompou. The guitarist was Carlo Pezzimenti. As soon as the music ended, Aaron simply said to his mom, "That's what I want to do."

So she got him a $25 J.C. Penney guitar, sturdy enough to survive a nuclear blast, and she signed him up for lessons with a local teacher. Guitar proved so engrossing that soon the nine year old was practicing every spare minute he had, all day long. In six months he’d absorbed everything his teacher had to offer, so he started studying with Carlo at Brookhaven College. “By 12 he was showing amazing qualities,” in Carlo’s words. From then on he was Carlo’s protégé and disciple, not just his student.

That same year he started taking his first professional gigs, playing classical repertoire for church and private events. At 15 he started playing full concerts. At 18 he took on his first students and also matriculated at Brookhaven. There he broadened his interests beyond classical, joining the Brookhaven Jazz Ensemble, then forming his own group to play the Brazilian jazz he loved. Before graduating in 2001 he had already toured England as a solo artist (with Robert Plant in his audience at Bath). Since then Aaron’s international touring has expanded to include Spain, Japan, and Taiwan.

Other guitar greats, on hearing Aaron play, agree with Carlo. “He misses nothing,” is Christopher Parkening’s succinct kudo. Master composer and guitarist Ernesto Garcia de León gave Aaron’s interpretations a composer’s highest accolade: “It was as if he was beside me when I was composing. He knew exactly what I wanted from the music.” In 2005, the jury of the Eastfield College Classical Guitar Competition felt the same way about Aaron's virtuosity; they awarded him the first place prize.

 

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