B I O G R A P H Y
Baltazar Benítez, born in Durazno - Uruguay in 1944, began studying the guitar at age 12 with Pedro Machin. In 1966 he continued his studies under Abel Carlevaro, teacher at the National Conservatory of Music in Montevideo. Two years later Baltazar started his professional career with success; he was chosen by the "Uruguayan Jeunesses Musicales" to tour his nation.
In 1969, he won first prize in a contest organized by the Uruguayan radio. Numerous important concerts followed, including several radio - and television performances, where Baltazar displayed an extremely diverse repertory; among others, concerts with orchestral accompaniment such as Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Joaquin Rodrigo's world famous "Concierto de Aranjuez".
In 1970, he won yet another Uruguayan contest, organized by the Centro Cultural de Música and in the same year he received a grant from the Spanish Cultural Institute to study in Santiago de Compostela under Andrés Segovia.
In 1971, Baltazar won first prize at the annual international guitar competition in Santiago de Compostela. The following year he was sent by his country as the official delegate, to the 26th World Congress of the Jeunesse Musicales which was held in Augsburg, Germany. There he was greatly acclaimed for his playing, particularly for his interpretations of South-American music. Following this, in 1973, he won first prize in the 7th International Tárrega-contest in Benicásim, Spain.
Baltazar's debut recording appeared in 1976, dedicated to Latin American Music. It includes the first recording of Manuel Maria Ponce's "Theme, Variations and Fughetta" from a theme by Antonio Cabezón. As a result of his musical research Baltazar displayed his superb feeling for European baroque music in 1980, when his 2nd album appeared. A high standard interpretation of J. S Bach's famous "Suite in e-minor", and several sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (all transcribed & arranged by Baltazar) were very well received, not only by guitarists, but in the general musical world as well.
In 1984 he recorded another long-play record of Latin- American music, with works exclusively composed by Astor Piazzolla. Baltazar dedicated his album to Piazzolla, which contains, besides the Five Pieces for guitar, also a number of pieces, which Baltazar transcribed for guitar. The "Five pieces for Guitar" from Astor Piazzolla, were dedicated to Baltazar in 1981. Also the transcriptions made by Baltazar himself were authorized and approved by the composer himself. In 1985 he toured in South-America, together with the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. In Montevideo ( Uruguay) on December 23 rd 1985, they performed together the Latin-American premiere of Piazzolla's "Concierto para Bandoneón, Guitarra y Orquesta".
In 1986 he toured in Japan were he gave Master classes at the Conservatory Musashino, Tokyo. In the same year, he played the premiere of the Spanish composer Manuel Castillo "Sonata para guitarra" which was dedicated to Baltazar himself, during the "Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra" organized in Seville. In 1987 he participated at the Spandouer Gitarrenfest organized in Berlin. Later that year he toured in the United States with great success and was hugely appreciated by both the public and the press.
In 1988 the Russian Minister of Culture invited Baltazar to tour through the most important citys of Russia and to give a solo concert at the Tchaikovski hall, Moscow. In the same year he participated in the Series "Masters of the Guitar" in Amsterdam.
In 1989 he toured in Spain, .including the presentation in the famous festival Madrid, "Veranos de la Villa". Then in Lugano, Switzerland, Baltazar performed together with Astor Piazzolla and the Orchestra of the RTSI, conducted by Bruno Pissamiglio.
In 1990 Baltazar toured in the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica. In Oaxaca-Mexico he participated at the Festival Idriart. Later that year he performed at the Festival of Bratislava organized in Czechoslovakia.
In 1991 Baltazar was invited to take part at the Gaudeamus International Music Festival which took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He also participated at the Festival Idriart organized in Bled-Yugoslavia and at the International Guitar Festival in Stockholm- Sweden.
In 1992 Baltazar toured again in the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica. Later that year he performed at the Festival de MontBeliard, "Visages de la guitarre" (France). D'addario Foundation for the Performing Art invited Baltazar Benítez to perform in New York, Washington and San Francisco because of D'Addario's 10th anniversary. Baltazar Benítez started to teach guitar lessons (Technique and interpretation since the 16th century) at the Royal Conservatory in Gent, Belgium. In October he recorded his fourth CD "Tango, an anthology, together with Alfredo Marcucci.
In 1993 Baltazar Benítez took part in the homage to Astor Piazzolla which was held in Amsterdam, Holland. Later that year he gave a number of Master classes among other in Costa Rica, Japan and Belgium.
In 1994 Baltazar stopped playing the guitar as a professional artist due to medical reasons. He remained active in the music scene and as Luthier, next to taking up new artistic hobbies like painting. The 12th of July 2018, Baltazar suddenly passed away in his hometown Tilburg, the Netherlands.