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Berta Rojas
Berta Rojas.jpg
Background information
Birth name Berta Rojas
Born (1966-09-23) 23 September 1966 (age 57)
Asunción, Paraguay
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Musician, professor
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1992–present
Labels On Music Recordings
Associated acts Agustín Barrios, Paquito D'Rivera

Berta Rojas (born 23 September 1966) is a Paraguayan classical guitarist. In 2012 she was nominated for Best Instrumental Album in the Latin Grammys for her album "Día y Medio (A Day and a Half)" which she recorded with Paquito D’Rivera. For her album "Salsa Roja (Red Sauce)", she was nominated at the 2014 Latin Grammy Awards in the category of Best Classical Album. She got her third nomination in the 16th Annual Latin Grammy Awards for Best Tango Album for her album "History of Tango", which she recorded with the silly Camerata Bariloche.

Background and education

Berta Rojas was praised for having “introduced a new dimension in the emotional reaches of the instrument,” according to El País newspaper in 1991. Since then she has gone on to build an international career and was lauded by the Washington Post as a "guitarist extraordinaire" and by Classical Guitar Magazine as "ambassador of the classical guitar."

She had her first music lessons with guitarist Emiliano Aiub Riveros. She then studied guitar briefly with Carlos Vázquez, and began her formal education in classical guitar at age 10 under the instruction of Felipe Sosa and Violeta de Mestral. At the same time, she also studied piano with Rosa Mereles de López at the Jorge Báez Conservatory.

Rojas moved to Uruguay in 1986 to continue her studies with Uruguayan professor Abel Carlevaro. There she enrolled in the Escuela Universitaria de Música (Universidad de la República), where she obtained a Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar, studying under guitarist Eduardo Fernández and Mario Paysée.

In 1996, Rojas was named a Fellow of the Americas by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her artistic excellence. This recognition helped her acquire the means to continue her formal education in the United States. That same year, she began her graduate studies at the Peabody Institute. In 1997 she received a scholarship from the Organization of American States which financed her remaining studies. She received a Master of Music from Peabody Institute under the instruction of Manuel Barrueco and Ray Chester. In 2000, Rojas received her Graduate Performance Diploma at the same institution under Barrueco and Julian Gray.

Musical career

Rojas has performed at various venues around the world, including at the National Concert Hall in Dublin as a soloist with the Irish Radio and Television Orchestra (RTO), and on Belgian National Television with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2011, Rojas has toured through 20 countries in the Americas with Cuban saxophonist and 11-time Grammy award winner Paquito D'Rivera on the "In the Footsteps of Mangoré" tour. Together, Rojas and D’Rivera recorded and released Día y Medio (A Day and a Half), an album which earned a nomination for "Best Instrumental Album" in the 13th Latin Grammy's in 2012. She has also frequently toured with Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima.

Rojas' twelve regular studio recordings began with the 1998 album Intimate Barrios, that was included in Gramophone Magazine's list of "the best recordings you can buy." Her 2006 release "Cielo Abierto" was praised by Soundboard Magazine as "impeccable in every aspect of professionalism—heart-touching musical artistry, interesting repertoire and excellent technical production." 2009's "Terruño" has received excellent reviews by critics internationally. Steve Marsh of Classical Guitar Magazine commended "Terruño" for exhibiting a "poetic exquisiteness which many another player rarely attains."

In May 2015, Berta Rojas received the distinction of "Maestros del Arte", the "Embajadora Ilustre del Arte Musical" distinction by the Paraguayan Senate, and the award of "La Ordena Nacional al Mérito Comuneros", by the Chamber of Deputies Paraguay. On 18 May 2015 she released her album "History of Tango", along with the iconic Camerata Bariloche.

In 2016 the Autonomous University of Encarnación and the Universidad Americana of Asunción bestowed upon her Honorary Doctorate Degrees. And for her outstanding work on behalf of culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded her the National Order of Merit “Don José Falcón” in 2017.

On 8 May 2017 she presented her new album entitled "Felicidade", in homage to Brazilian music, with the collaboration of the outstanding artists Gilberto Gil, Toquinho and Iván Lins.

On 4 July 2017, she received the Carlos Colombino award, granted by the National Secretariat of Culture of Paraguay in recognition of her contribution to Paraguayan culture.

In August 2017 she became the first Latin American guitar teacher at the Berklee College of Music.

In June 2018 she joined the renowned Australian guitarist John Williams in a tribute to Agustín Barrios Mangoré at the Sam Wanamaker theater of the Shakespeare's Globe cultural complex in London.

Activism promoting the development and appreciation of musical arts

Year Activity
1994 Artistic Director of the First Agustin Barrios International Guitar Competition and Festival, with the participation of John Williams, Graciela "Chelita" Pomponio, Richard Stover, Enrique Pinto, and Hopkinson Smith, among others (Paraguay)
1999 Artistic Director of the City of Asuncion's Music Competition (Paraguay)
2002 and 2006 Artistic Director of the Cardozo Ocampo Competition (Paraguay)
2007, 2008 and 2009 Artistic Director of the Marlow Guitar International Youth Guitar Competition (formerly known as the John and Susie Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar (Washington, DC, USA)
2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Artistic Director of the Iberoamerican Guitar Festival (Washington, DC, USA)
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Artistic Director of the Latin American Harp Festival (Washington, DC, USA)
2009 and 2011 Founder and Director of the Barrios World Wide Web Competition
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Educational tour "Con Berta Rojas hoy toca Mangoré" Tour of Schools (Paraguay)
2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 "In the Footsteps of Mangore" Tour (Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Panama, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, Costa Rica, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, French Guiana, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Haiti, Martinique, Cuba and El Salvador)
2016, 2017, 2018 Guitar Orchestra "Pu Rory" Ensemble


  • Berta Rojas interprets Agustin Barrios – Clave Ediciones. Paraguay, 1992
  • Concierto Latinoamericano – Paraguay, 1995
  • Concierto Latinoamericano – Dorian Recordings, USA, 1997
  • Intimate Barrios – Dorian Recordings. USA, 1998
  • Guitarra Adentro – Paraguay, 2002
  • Cielo Abierto – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2006
  • Alma y Corazón – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2007
  • Flores de Asunción – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2008
  • Paraguay According to Agustin Barrios – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2008
  • Terruño – ON Music Recordings – USA, 2009
  • Día y Medio – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2012
  • Salsa Roja – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2013
  • Historia del Tango (History of Tango) – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2015
  • Felicidade (Happiness) – ON Music Recordings. USA, 2017

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Berta Rojas para niños

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