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Tomas Rodriguez began teaching guitar to youth over 20 years ago, when he created a comprehensive youth guitar program for the largest Latino social service agency on Long Island, Circulo de la Hispanidad. Subsequently, he completed his Advanced Certificate in Music Education in Brooklyn College, while teaching classroom and supplementary guitar programs at James Madison High School and The Essence School in East New York. In the course of his studies, he learned of the Suzuki Method and quickly completed initial training with the founders of Suzuki Guitar: the late Frank Longay and William Kossler. Tomas has completed Level 6 Suzuki Training as well as courses in “Suzuki Principles in Action” and “Setting up Families for Success”. Tomas’ unique approach to the traditional Suzuki method cultivates the child’s interest in and sensitivity to a variety of music, ranging from the classical repertoire to Latin, African and other world music. Mr. Rodriguez presentations on the topic of integrating Latin and African musics and rhythmic concepts into the Suzuki method were highlights at the 2014 and 2016 Suzuki Conferences of the Americas. The 2014 presentation was the first ever on this topic at a Suzuki Conference and generated interest amongst many prominent Suzuki teachers nationwide.
Critic Norman Weinstein (Christian Science Monitor, Boston Phoenix, Village Voice) praised Tomas Rodriguez as: “playing guitar with a passionate originality, with an individual touch, drawing from the musical heart of the Latin world. His original compositions and his collaborations with leading musicians in New York City’s world music scene create an engaging groove, touching harmonies and a mesmerizing exploration of the guitar’s rich background in the music of the Americas, Europe and Africa”. This diverse inspiration is rooted in his background. Born of a Spanish father and a mother from the Appalachian region of Virginia, Rodriguez grew up in New York City, Westfield, New Jersey and Boise, Idaho. As a child he was inspired by his father’s record collection, which included everything from Beethoven to the boleros of Latin crooner Lucho Gatica. He learned to play electric guitar by ear from Jimi Hendrix records, and later studied with renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin at the Manhattan School of Music. This formal study was supplemented by several summer residencies in Sevilla and Granada, Spain, where he met prominent flamenco artists and studied flamenco guitar. Rodriguez’ has performed concerts at International Festival of the Guitar in Lima, Peru, in New York’s Brooklyn Museum, Merkin Hall, Trinity Church, the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts (NJPAC), the World Expressions Series at Boise State University and the University of Virginia. Rodriguez has released three albums, “Ruminations” (2017), Dialogue (2004) and Guitarra de mi Alma (1998), all of which are available on Bandcamp.