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About Iuri Bittar
Iuri Bittar is a guitarist, composer, music producer, and teacher. Originally from the city of Franca in São Paulo’s interior, he has dedicated himself to playing the guitar for 20 years, specializing in the Brazilian genres of choro and samba. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2008, where, for more than 10 years, he has been on the faculty of the Escola Portátil de Música and the Instituto Casa do Choro, two internationally renowned centers for teaching and researching choro music. As an academic researcher, his pioneering Master’s thesis about guitarist Jayme Florence (also known as “O Meira”) has made him an important reference in the historical and musicological study of Brazilian guitar. In his 20 years as a guitarist, Iuri has participated in various choro and samba groups, with whom he has shared the stage with big names in Brazilian music, such as Paulinho da Viola, Paulo César Pinheiro, Luciana Rabello, Áurea Martins, Nei Lopes, Monarco, Nelson Sargento, Pedro Amorim, and João Camarero, among others.
In 2022, Iuri Bittar released his first solo guitar album, “Alma Brasileira,” with the label Biscoito Fino, which features previously unpublished arrangements of works by Ernesto Nazareth and Radamés Gnattali. In this work, Iuri combines his vast experience as a guitarist within the world of choro through the detailed arrangement and adaptation of piano compositions by Nazareth and Radamés to the guitar. The result is a series of choro, Brazilian tango, waltz, and samba arrangements that, according to a testimonial by guitarist João Camarero, “will contribute much to Brazilian guitar literature,” through the skill and creativity demonstrated in Iuri’s writing and adaptation of such works for the guitar in this idiom.
In concert, Iuri Bittar includes works by important names in Brazilian guitar, including Ernesto Nazareth and Radamés Gnattali, as well as João Pernambuco, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Dilermando Reis, in addition to his own compositions. His performances are filled with lyricism, swing, energy, and virtuosity—all fundamental characteristics that highlight Iuri’s place in the most Brazilian of musical genres, choro.
About Almir Côrtes
A native of Bahia, Brazil, versatile multi-instrumentalist Almir Côrtes is equally at home on mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars, Viola Caipira (Brazilian ten-string guitar) and the rarely-seen Bahian guitar. His repertoire of styles is equally broad and includes Choro, Frevo, Samba, Baião, Bossa Nova and Brazilian jazz. Equally in demand as a teacher and scholar, Almir is currently a professor at the University of Rio de Janeiro’s Villa-Lobos Institute – where he conducts the Orchestra of Plucked Strings and the web series Villa de Sons.
Almir holds a B.A. in classical guitar from the Federal University of Bahia, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in popular music performance from the University of Campinas-São Paulo. He was on the faculty of the 2012 Mandolin Symposium, was a visiting artist/scholar at the Jazz Studies Department at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and at the College of Liberal & Creative Arts at San Francisco State University, and at the Latin Music and Culture Celebration, organized by Berklee College of Music.
As a leader of his own groups, which feature many of his original compositions, he seeks to expand the boundaries of traditional Brazilian musical styles through experimentation and improvisation. He has performed throughout Brazil as well as the United States, Europe and Cuba with David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Nailor Proveta, Howard Alden, Jovino Santos Neto, Armandinho Macêdo, Alessandro Penezzi and Izaías Bueno. In 2018, his Quartet appeared at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California and featured Harvey Wainapel and Scott Thompson.
Presently, he is releasing his sixth CD, the album “Três Baías” (Three Bays), a Choro trio with Nando Duarte (7-string guitar) and Brian Rice (pandeiro). It is is inspired by the three bays from where each of us come; Bahia de Todos Santos in Bahia Brazil, Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco Bay. Três Baías celebrates the release of their first CD featuring several musical guests: Silvério Pontes (trompet and fluguel), Nicolas Krassik (violin), Mike Marshall (mandolin), Daniela Spielmann (soprano sax) and Marcelo Caldi (accordion).