Born in 1950, Carlo grew up in a sprawling Italianate villa in Cleveland “filled with relatives from Italy, people my grandmother took in, the most interesting characters. On any given night, if you walked into the parlor, you'd see actors, singers, musicians.” Carlo’s mother played and taught piano, so at seven he started studying the piano. At thirteen, his family moved to Florence. That year, in school, he heard his first classical guitar concert. On the spot he knew guitar was his instrument. He started lessons; the piano was soon eclipsed. Later the same year, hearing his first de Falla piece—“Nights in the Garden of Spain”—sparked a lifelong commitment to the music of Spain and Hispanic America.
In 1968, he entered the Rome branch of Loyola University. Simultaneously, he began an intense five year apprenticeship under guitar master Sergio Notaro. Notaro was a distinguished disciple of Andres Segovia, the giant who reinvented the guitar as a concert instrument. Not long after, at a concert in Rome, Carlo heard Segovia himself—a transcendent experience. For Carlo, Segovia’s playing transformed Sor’s “Mozart Variations” from a piece he despised to one he couldn’t wait to play.
The next summer, at Notaro’s urging, was the first of six spent studying guitar in Spain, initially under Jose Thomas and then under Segovia himself. More than student and master, Carlo and his mentor became lifelong friends. Carlo continued visiting Segovia almost every summer until the maestro’s death in 1987.
In 1969 Carlo transferred from Loyola to Rome’s Morlacchi Conservatory for studies in music theory in parallel with Sergio Notaro's tutelage in performance. In 1973, with a Master’s in hand from the Conservatory, Carlo was honored by Notaro with an instructorship at his Institute for the Classic Guitar. A year later Carlo moved to Dallas to launch his performing career in the U.S.
Soon Carlo was touring nationally and internationally, playing both solo and with orchestras. He accepted teaching positions at several Texas universities and, like Segovia, he remains deeply committed to nurturing gifted young guitarists. In 1982 he made his Carnegie Hall debut. He has toured most of Europe, most of South America, Mexico, and China. His concerts have been televised and broadcast nationwide in the U.S., Spain and China (the Chinese audience was three million).
Playing over 60 concerts a year for three decades, Carlo has grown into the foremost proponent and interpreter of the guitar composers of this century and the last—particularly composers from the Spanish-speaking world. Officially recognizing that role, in 2000 Spain invited him to play before King Juan Carlos at the national festival honoring Hispanic culture.In his performing, as in his teaching, Carlo continues to carry the torch for the unbending Segovia tradition: technique as an instrument of passion rather than as an end; phrasing and tempo ruled by the drama of the music, not by the metronome; the widest possible range of expression, tonal colors and timbres, uncompromised by the pressure to play loud for large concert halls; interpretation that follows the dictates of the heart, not the trendy tastes of the critics and the conservatories. And, just like his great mentor, closest to his heart are those who write for the guitar today and those who will play it tomorrow.
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