Elvis Bendaña Rivas is a classical guitar performer and orchestral conductor from Managua, Nicaragua. He was the concertmaster of the Nicaraguan Guitar Orchestra and producer, creating the 1st International Plectrum Music Festival and 2 editions of the Nicaraguan International Guitar Festival.
Elvis has played as soloist in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil and the United States. He premiered the guitar concerto Concierto en Sol Mayor by the Nicaraguan composer Luis Abraham Delgadillo, along with the Chamber Orchestra of the National University of Nicaragua, and the guitar concerto Fantasia para un gentil hombre, by the Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo with the National Symphony of Nicaragua. In 2014 he gave a concert for the Miami Classical Guitar Society and in 2015 was selected to participate in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, along with 89 musicians from all around the world, to play in the world-famous theatre Carnegie Hall in New York.
He has also conducted the University of Costa Rica Orchestras and Bands, the Heredia Symphonic Band and was the titular conductor of Sifais Youth Orchestra in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Has received guitar master classes with David Russell, Adam Holzman, Juan Carlos Laguna Alejandro Cordova, Rafael Serrallet, Isaac Bustos, Thomas Patterson, Jason Vieaux, Iliana Matos, Rafael Padron, Eduardo Isaac and Mario Ulloa and conducting master classes with Carl St. Clair, Alondra de la Parra, Raul Gomez, Luis Diego Piedra, Gabriela Mora, Gary Lewis and John Nelson.
Elvis holds a Bachelor in Graphic Design from University of Commercial Sciences in Nicaragua and Bachelors in Classical Guitar Performance and Orchestral Conducting from the University of Costa Rica. He is currently enrolled in the Performance Studies’ Master program at Texas A&M University.
Born in Texas and raised in Mexico, Salvador Garcia was exposed to different styles of music from a young age. At the age of twelve, Salvador began his studies in music in the Texas public school system as a saxophone player. In high school, he became a self taught guitarist and featured in local rock as well as mariachi bands. Salvador continued his music education at Texas A&M University (TAMU), where he studied classical guitar under renowned guitarist Dr. Isaac Bustos. While studying at TAMU, Salvador often performed as an ambassador for the Department of Performance Studies. Later, Salvador completed a Master of Music degree at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) with an emphasis on guitar performance and research on guitar and music theory pedagogy. Salvador Garcia has since returned to TAMU’s Department of Performance Studies where he is currently a graduate assistant pursuing a Master of Arts degree.
As a guitarist, Salvador Garcia performed in master classes for grammy award winning musicians such as the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Jason Vieaux. Additionally, he has opened concerts for classical and flamenco guitar virtuosos Jorge Caballero and Grisha Goryachev. Salvador has taught in both private and studio settings as well as serving as a substitute teacher and ensemble coach at university level guitar courses. As a researcher, Salvador is interested in vernacular practices such as nicknaming, live online streaming, and popular music.
At this moment Marianna Tanska is a first-year Master of Arts Student at the Department of Performance Studies in Texas A&M University, who recently came from Ukraine. Marianna’s background is in business and international trade management in which she has received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from National University of Food Technologies in Kyiv, Ukraine. Marianna has a working experience in confectionery and agriculture companies’ administration, as well as significant performance experience with Ukrainian folk vocal and dance ensemble, J-pop girls-band, children’s choir and also in carrying out festive events as a master of ceremonies. After moving to the United States Marianna has obtained her first musical theatre experience participating in the productions of the “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Big River” with “The Theatre Company”- community theatre in Bryan, TX.
Most of her life, Marianna was balancing between economics and art fields, that finally brought her to the Performance Studies graduate program, which encourages her analytical and artistic formations to collaborate. Passionate about a human voice and singing practices, Marianna now is interested in studying vocal performance within popular music culture, especially mediated through TV and social media. During the graduate program Marianna is going to explore relationships between talent shows celebrity construction and national identity by studying Ukrainian version of the show “The Voice”. She is also interested in the perception of Ukrainian identity and culture preservation in Ukrainian immigrant’s community in the United States, and currently conducting fieldwork within the Ukrainian community of Houston, TX.
Hector Aguilar was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at Brownsville and dedicated his undergraduate studies to Music Education, with a focus on Guitar Studies. While doing his undergraduate degree, he was a Music Theory mentor, and began gaining experience in music instruction by working in music studios around the Brownsville area. In preparing for his Sophomore, Junior, and Senior recitals for guitar studies, Hector participated in several competitions in which he was awarded 2nd place in the South Texas Guitar Competition. He is an active Classical guitarist and has had the privilege of performing in cities around Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. Upon graduating with a Bachelors in Music Education, Hector opened a teaching studio for Orchestral and Pop instruments. He is the Director of Programs at MusiK Studio. Hector has volunteered at the Cultural Center in Brownsville as part of the Texas A&M volunteers program. He began an Estudiantina/Guitar Ensemble for women in this program, which is still being offered to members of the community.
Hector is currently doing his graduate studies at Texas A&M University in College Station. His research interest is to continue working with marginalized communities, specifically Latino women, and observing if learning music in a group setting might impact the perception of an individual’s well-being, and if through this group they gain a sense of social support. He hopes to keep giving back to his community and keeps the goal of opening a Music Therapy practice in the future.