Award-winning Filipino guitarist Bernardo Soler and guitarist/composer Tania Ravbar entertained a multicultural crowd showcasing the breadth and diversity of their guitar skills. The duo performed samples of music from different countries like the Philippines, Brazil, Greece, Spain, America, Italy, Mexico, and Australia. They also used various instruments from these countries.
Bernard and Tania enjoyed their music and the audience could feel the warmth, intimacy and brilliance by the way they strummed their guitars. Before performing Australia’s most widely known bush ballad, “Waltzing Matilda”, Bernard shared a story about his first brush with Tommy Emmanuel, an Australian guitarist/singer best known for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. During his concert, Tommy wanted someone from the audience so he could show some guitar tricks. When the lights were turned on, Tommy pointed to Bernard to come up to the stage. “I was the only Asian in the audience and because I was new in Australia I haven’t played any Australian song,” he recalls. Tommy showed him the tricks and Bernard was gingerly following him pretending he was a novice until Tommy told him to make it faster and faster. In the end, Tommy discovered that Bernard could play because he saw he could easily follow. “He then kicked me out,” Bernard laughed.
Throughout the concert, Bernard and Tania gave a short background and little stories about the songs. The concert, titled “Music Sunday featuring ‘Strings X 12’” was held last 25 August 2013 at the Narre Warren Library in Fountain Gate.
Bernard’s world of music
Bernard began having guitar lessons from his brother, Rufino Soler, at the age of fourteen. In 1989, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree major in Classical Guitar from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music in Manila, Philippines. In 1992, he studied at the Melba Conservatorium of Music (Victoria University) in Richmond, Victoria under the tutelage of Jochen Schubert.
He has enjoyed enormous success in guitar competitions around the world. In October 1981, he won first prize in the “Concourso de Guitarra” from the Centro Cultural de la Embajada de Espana in celebration of La Semana de Hispanidad. In November 1981, he won first prize in the “National Music Competition for Young Artist” in the Philippines. In October 1982, he was declared Grand Prix winner at the Sixth Philippine Guitar Festival then, in November 1982 he grabbed second prize in the Southeast Asia Guitar Festival, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bernard teaches guitar in Melbourne, Australia and performs in various functions and concerts.
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