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Guitar virtuoso makes Sellwood his home

by: Rita A. Leonard, World-renowned Classical and Latin Jazz guitarist Alfredo Muro, a native of Peru, now makes his home in the Sellwood neighborhood.

Sellwood has attracted many artists in the past, some of whom you have read about in THE BEE. But the neighborhood is home, today, to a world-renowned classical guitarist.

His name is Alfredo Muro. This talented Peruvian-born musician specializes in Baroque, Brazilian classical, and Latin Jazz guitar, and has played at concerts in Italy, Brazil, Peru, Canada, and Europe, as well as in the United States. He has even been invited to perform before the Pope at the Vatican.

If you are interested in exploring the artistry of this man, you will have your opportunity locally this month. On Saturday evening, March 10th, Muro will present a solo concert entitled 'Latin Impressions' at The Old Church in SW Portland.

Muro grew up in a musical family in Lima, Peru. 'We had a lot of singers and some guitar players in the family,' he says. 'I began playing guitar when I was nine years old, just because I enjoyed it. I never intended to become a professional musician. My family never encouraged me to pursue music, because they did not consider it a serious profession.' Instead, Muro studied Law at the University of San Martin, where he earned his PhD. But his music was not to be denied.

'Peruvian music is very rich in variety and style, and is based on African rhythms,' explains Muro, who first learned to play by ear. 'In the early 1970's, when I was 13 years old, I performed with my 18-year-old sister in a national Talent Show called 'Searching For Stars'. We were surprised to win first place, and I proceeded to play guitar on TV programs and with some of the best contemporary singers in Peru.'

Eventually, Muro earned scholarships to the Jose Torres Guitar Academy, where he trained for three years in Peruvian and classical music. 'I also studied privately with Carlos Hayre, one of Peru's most important guitarists,' he says. 'In 2005, I was privileged to open and close at the 'XVI Festival Internacional de Guiterra' in Lima. I have also been invited to the 2007 Guitar Festival this coming July in Arequipa,' he says. Since he moved to the U.S., Muro has devoted himself fulltime to music.

This talented guitarist has been featured in local publications, now including THE BEE, and twice this year has been spotlighted on 'Oregon Art Beat' (KOPB Channel 10). In October he will be featured in 'The Millennium Concert Series' at the Kennedy Center. Muro has 5 CDs to his credit, available at Music Millennium locally, and through the Internet website: www.CDBaby.com.

'My first CD was endorsed by Jose Feliciano,' he says. 'The others include classical and world music, as well as Brazilian Soul. I have a studio in Portland where I practice and give lessons--mainly in classical techniques and in Brazilian and South American rhythms. In late March I'll travel to Brazil to perform in a concert there.'

Muro, his wife, and children all play guitar and piano. 'Guitar is the easiest instrument to play bad, but the hardest to play well,' he says with a smile. His main instrument is a six-string classical guitar, made in Australia by Simon Marty. 'I also play a Quattro guitar from Puerto Rico, a percussion instrument from Venezuela, and a Peruvian Cajon--a drum with African roots.

'Music is the universal language of love,' says Muro. 'I always try to touch someone's heart through my music.'

For more information, or to inquire about classes, call Muro at 503/997-4492, or visit his Internet website: www.AlfredoMuro.com.