I am a solo classical guitarist, a provider of live instrumental background music for parties, banquets, weddings, restaurants, or any special gathering that calls for a lively and elegant ambiance.
I have been performing professionally in and around Chicagoland as a soloist since 2004. My repertoire includes a savory mix of Latin American folk and popular styles, and classical guitar music of Spanish and Latin American origin.
My background as a classical guitarist is quite unique. Rather than being a product of a music school, I apprenticed privately with the Chilean master guitarist Alfonso Chacon for nine years until his passing in 2011.
Through my studies and travels, I have fostered a great love of Latin American guitar music and, as a “North American,” I embrace the challenge of interpreting this work with passion and humility.
I consider it my mission is to bring these styles to new audiences and hopefully pass on these songs and techniques to the next generation of guitarists.
I hope to provide your event with a warm and inviting atmosphere — a welcome spark to conversation, a fine compliment to food and wine, and a raising of the spirits.
Neil Dixon Smith: Guitarist
My background as a classical guitarist is unique, as I am not the product of a music school/conservatory. Rather, for nine years I studied/apprenticed directly with a master guitarist from Chile, Alfonso Chacon, who passed away in 2011. From him I was introduced to the great guitarists of 20th Century South America: Louis Bonfa, Baden Powell, Roberto Grela, Oscar Aviles, Ricardo Acevedo, Augustin Barrios and Atahualpa Yupanqui, and others.
Of course, I am a lover of all music - I grew up playing in garage rocknroll bands, playing jazz in the school band, graduating to reggae/carribean bands, in the 1990's, and then to Latin music in the 2000's.
What to Expect
Typical Gig Duration: 60 - 240 minutes
As a solo classical guitarist, I provide background music for events (if not providing ceremony music for weddings). My specialty is guitar music of Latin America and Spain, which depending on the event can mean a set of lively, uptempo music (such as for a cocktail party) or slower romantic music (such as for a dinner party).
I always perform my music from memory, so you'll never see me with a music stand in front of me. This makes for a more soulful performance of the music, and it means there are literally no barriers between me and the public, adding a touch of intimacy.
I consider myself to be a very empathetic musician, sensing the scene about me, and really playing to it, intuitively sensing when the energy needs to come up or down.
I play through a small amplifier that I bring along, all I require is a chair and some proximity to electricity.
For weddings, I'm equally comfortable performing traditional wedding repertoire (Ave Maria, Canon in D, Bridal Chorus), or a more non-traditional approach, be that creating a solo guitar arrangement of a favorite pop song, or choosing something unique from the "beautiful but obscure" corners of my repertoire.
For most events, folks hire me to "do what I do best", which for me is guitar music of Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Peru, etc., as well the great works of Spanish romantic music. But I'm always happy to take direction.
I pride myself on a positive attitude and I hope we can work together this year!
Proximity to electricity
I bring my own amplifier (100w), and at least 25' of extension cord. All I need is a chair, and some proximity to electricity!
A "typical" 50 set will begin in Brazil, move down to Argentina, then up through Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and ending in Mexico and Cuba, with phone calls to Spain along the way!
I can play four 50-minute sets without repeating any material, I typically play 50 minutes on, with 10 minute breaks.
CDs For Sale
Los Guitarristas "Paisajes de Sudamerica"
2006: 21 gigs
2007: 17 gigs
2008: 24 gigs
2009: 55 gigs
2010: 108 gigs
2011: 109 gigs
2012: 90 gigs
Available for Your
Anniversary Party, Birthday Party, Casino, Christmas Party, Church Service, Club/Nightclub, Concert Venue, Convention, Corporate Event, Cruise, Dinner Dance, Fundraiser, Funeral Service, Holiday Party, Hotel, Luncheon/Tea, Restaurant, Seminar, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Reception