An enthusiastic crowd of spectators were graced by the beautiful and innovative sounds of Nephtali Santiago’s guitar last Friday night during his faculty recital in VSU Whitehead Auditorium.
Santiago began the performance with three popular, classical selections including “Pavane” by Luis Milan, “Gran Sonata Eroica” by Maurio Giuliani and “Chaconne” by the easily recognized Johann Sebastian Bach.
Following his first three pieces and several healthy rounds of applause from the audience, Santiago went into his own, personal arrangement of several popular jazz tunes, the most widely known being a Henry Mancini number, “The Days of Wine and Roses.”
Other works in Santiago’s chosen arrangement included “I Fall in Love Too Easily” by Jule Styne, “Body and Soul” by Johnny Green and “Meditation” by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Upon striking his last note, Santiago took his bow and left his audience in a wake of impressed satisfaction, their applause resonating throughout the entire auditorium.
Such dulcet and pleasing tones do not come without years and years of experience and hour after hour of practice.
Originally from Philadelphia, Santiago grew up in the church community where he began playing guitar at just 5 -years-old.
“I initially learned from watching older members of the church play their instruments,” Santiago said.
After forming the foundation for continuous progression and eventual expertise, Santiago honed his craft, obtaining a degree in Guitar Performance from Temple and a Masters in Music from Yale, evolving and developing into the virtuoso that he is today.
Part of the VSU faculty since 1990, Santiago teaches mainly the one-on-one guitar classes offered at VSU. He can sometimes be found out and about in Valdosta, charming various restaurants such as Guilios with his refined flow of classical and popular favorites.
Santiago has also received many accolades, including the Charles H. Ditson Scholarship for outstanding scholarship and performance, the Florida State University Fellowship and being a prize winner at the International Guitar Competition in Puerto Rico.