After strumming his first guitar at age 6, Néstor Benito knew he would dedicate his life to music.
“I asked for a guitar since I was four, but at age 6 my parents finally bought me one,” he says, “When I was four years old, from what I remember, we listened lots of music of all types, lots of variety.”
Without music in his childhood home, Benito, an Argentinean classical guitarist, wouldn’t have realized that the guitar was the instrument for him he says. When asked who most influenced his musical career, Benito could easily think of one person, Eduardo Faru.
“Disks of Eduardo Faru, a grand guitarist famous all across the world – Argentina -, would be heard and I felt such a great attraction for what I would hear while listening to his music, with his guitar, how he’d played the guitar,” he says. “And from then, I wanted top lay. I would stand in front of the music apparatus with a toy guitar and I would try top lay what I heard.”
From there, Benito went on to study as a child with the Master Jose Franchini, then moved onto the ten strings guitar with Master Narciso Yepes, and finally began learning composition and orchestra conducting with Master Pedro Herz.
When it came to recording, Faru had continued to be an important influence for Benito as he recorded his first album in 1993. For his first album “Works”, which was produced by Lito Nebbia, Benito got in contact with his idol and asked him to write the biography to include in his first album’s book.
“He listened to my music and we became friends and he wrote me a lovely letter that was published in the book,” Benito says, “That CD, ‘Works’, was a dedication to my teacher Jose Franchini, and the other part of the disk was a dedication to Eduardo Faru because he was the one who inspired me to dedicate myself to the guitar.”
Since his first album in 1993, Benito has turned his focus to a project that seems to be taking the spotlight in his life at the moment. The project, called “La Guitara en Argentina,” has Benito touring college campuses to promote the art of music in young people’s lives. Benito performed at ASU on Sept. 17 as part of the School of International Letters and Cultures’ International Artist Lecture and Performance Series. His United States visit was co-sponsored by the República Argentina Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.
“I started the Project in ’93 which coincided with the debut of my first CD. It was with the intention of spreading awareness of writers who hadn’t been recognized and in reality, are of great quality. They’re important composers but didn’t have a discovery and no one recognizes them in the world,” Benito says. “I had the intention to influence children, young adults to study because through the study of music many important life-lessons are learned.”
The success of his project has been through showcasing the music that Argentina has to offer. It has been more than 20 years since the founding of “La Guitara en Argentina,” and since then, Benito has been able to make sure that the music of Argentina holds a place in conservatories and universities of music across the world.
“I’m spreading awareness of composers and placing them in the programs of concerts, their works, so people can listen to them and so musicians can too listen to them, ” he says, “The Project has had the support of the administration of exterior relations of the republic of Argentina… through the direction of cultural issues that support me in order for my travelling and playing of our music to happen.”
When it comes to thinking about the future it seems that music is the only thing that Benito would ever want to be doing.
“It represents a large part of my life,” he says. “I have dedicated so much time to studying and playing that it has come to represent my longing to become this and accomplishing it.”
His advice to other musicians is simple.
“Let’s work really hard. Let’s study hard, practice constantly,” he says, “Try to listen to everything one can listen to and to listen to all types of music, all types of genres. It’s important to understand why it’s there.”
Reach the reporter at Alexis.Andreopoulos@asu.edu
*Direct quotes by Néstor Benito have been translated from Spanish to English by SPM’s multimedia editor Noemi Gonzalez