Jorge Caballero


Classical Guitar

Competition Winner

Born: 1977 (Lima, Peru)

Guitarist and Composer Jorge Caballero has accrued wide  recognition as the recipient of several international awards, and performing in recitals, chamber music and as a soloist around the world.

Critics from international newspapers and guitar publications have praised Mr. Caballero’s depth of musicality, as well as his technical mastery when tackling the unique difficulties of his concert repertoire. Aside from the standard guitar literature he performs –which spans centuries of music from the Renaissance until the present, Mr. Caballero is notorious for adapting and performing masterworks originally written for piano or orchestra, among which we find Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite and Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata Op. 1 to name a few. One critic in Italy referred to Mr. Caballero as “standing on top of the repertoire’s Mount Everest,” while the New York Times called him “a masterly guitarist” with “chameleonic timbres.”

Since his first solo recital at age thirteen, Mr. Caballero has given numerous concerts throughout the world, including performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress, and as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York’s Chamber Ensemble and Turkey’s Presidential Symphony. He has also collaborated with the Mendelssohn and the Miró String Quartets, with Soprano Theresa Santiago and flautists Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson and Carol Wincenc.

Born into a musical family, Mr. Caballero began his guitar studies at the age of ten at the Preparatory Division of the National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru with Eleodoro Mori, and years later, with Oscar Zamora. At age 12, he tied for First Prize at the Conservatory Guitar Competition, which included participants at the college-level division more than twice his age. The following year, he earned Second Prize at the Peruvian National Guitar Competition sponsored by Jeunesse Musicale, competing in the adult category. His first international award occurred in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the First Latin American Guitar Competition. He was 15. Additional awards include top prizes at the Luis Sigall International Competition, as well as the Tokyo and Alhambra guitar competitions.

In 1996, at the age of 19, he earned First Prize at the 1996 Walter W. Naumburg International Guitar Competition in New York City, a unique award for musicians often compared to the Pulitzer Prize. To this day, he is the youngest musician and only guitarist to have ever received this award.

As of 2021, Mr. Caballero has been appointed to the  Guitar Faculty at the University of Toronto in Canada. He is also part-time faculty at Kean State University in the United States, and  Honorary Professor at the National University of Music in Lima, Peru.

Excerpt from The New York Times, March 1, 1997 (Jorge Caballero's Naumburg concert)

Guitarist Provides a Blend of Technique and Touch

"In its 70-year history, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation has sponsored competitions for piano, voice and most of the orchestral instruments, but it was only last year that the foundation turned its attention to the guitar. Jorge Caballero, a 19-year-old guitarist from Peru, won the foundation's first guitar competition, and as part of his prize he was presented in his New York debut recital at Merkin Concert Hall.

Mr. Caballero's playing offers the unusual combination of technical security and a gentle touch. He seems uninterested in the pyrotechnics of virtuosity: in showpieces like Granados's ''Andaluza'' and ''Galante,'' or Ponce's ''Folias'' Variations, everything was neatly in place on Tuesday night, and the attention was drawn to subtleties of shading and to textural details in the musical fabric.

Similarly, his sober readings of several fantasies by the Renaissance composer Francesco da Milano brought an illuminating clarity to the music. And in contrapuntal works -- Milano's extraordinary gloss on a Josquin Pater Noster, a Bach Trio Sonata (BWV 1034) and the closing fugue in the Ponce -- his ability to keep the strands distinct and give them perspective was admirable.

That is not to say that Mr. Caballero's playing lacked a visceral side. There was considerable energy in his readings of the Ponce and Bach works, and if his account of Elliott Carter's ''Changes'' lacked some of the raw power the work's more vigorous sections demand, he rendered its complexities coherently. He also gave a vital account of Ginastera's Sonata (Op. 47). Yet the moments that lingered longest were not the fiery ones, but those in which Mr. Caballero took a simple, pianissimo phrase and shaped it with a touching gracefulness." Allan Kozinn


1996 Classical Guitar Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

1996 Philip Naumburg Solo Recording Prize (Jorge Caballero)

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