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Guitarist finds inspiration in father

Fabio Bartoloni

Fábio Bartoloni. Photo by Gal Oppido

December 07, 2016

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2016 commencement. See more graduates here.

Fábio Bartoloni is following in the footsteps of his father, but it hasn’t always been a clear path for the DMA in guitar performance student.

Bartoloni started playing guitar as a 7-year-old growing up in Brazil.

“Until 11 or 12 I did really well, winning several young guitar competitions,” he said. “After that I became a little lazy. I just didn't have enough discipline to work at that point.”

Bartoloni says his father, a concert performer and a guitar professor at São Paulo State University, never forced him to keep performing, which kept the young guitarist from giving up the instrument altogether. 

“I think because of that I never stopped playing, although I was really inconsistent in my practicing and more concerned about soccer and video games,” Bartoloni said.

At 17 years old, he decided to take guitar seriously again, and eventually, after completing a master’s degree in Brazil, chose to come to the United States to pursue his DMA at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He graduates next week, and his plans for the future include working as a professor while continuing to have a career as a performer. 

Bartoloni says having his father as an example helped him see the possibilities for his future.

“Of course, having such a close and good example of a successful career in this field has been good to motivate me and see that it would be possible to do that. On the other hand, I'm a different person, with a different personality and ideas. I'm learning other things, in a different time frame,” he said. “Basically, I'm finding my own path, inspired by him.”

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

Answer: When I decided to come here, I knew about the excellence of ASU, so I cannot say I am surprised about the huge amount of things I have been learning here. But this environment allowed me to learn a lot about myself. Several things that were inside me and just coming here I could notice. That was unexpected to me.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose (ASU) because of professor Frank Koonce, director of the guitar program since 1978. He is known worldwide because of his books, especially the arrangements for guitar of Bach’s lute works. I knew the legend, and when I came here in 2013 and met him personally, I knew for sure that ASU would be the best choice for me.

Question: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

Answer: ASU is a great environment to develop you as an artist. In several ways our community provides great support: knowledge, opportunities, personal support, etc. Also, I had great teachers and professors everywhere I studied, but at ASU all professors were simply great, I had not a single bad experience here. So people should take advantage of that, because it’s not so common.

Question: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

Answer: I will carry good memories from the School of Music, where my favorite spot is the TA office of the guitarists, where I spent days practicing, studying and teaching. I enjoy going to the Cafe Biblioteca of Hayden Library and to the MU, especially that part where there are armchairs and a fireplace and the TVs where I could watch some good soccer matches while having lunch.

Question: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

Answer: Obviously, we have several terrible issues such as hunger, war, violence, intolerance, etc. I think although helpful, this amount would not be enough to solve those problems, so I would invest in art. The world needs art now more than [ever]. In my opinion art is the fundamental part of education, and just with art and education we can solve all problems of the world in the long term. I would use this money to create a foundation.

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