Jorge Caballero is the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition Award, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument, and comparable to the Pulitzer Prize for musicians. He is also the recipient of top prizes at the Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the Luis Sigall Competition, the Alhambra Guitar Competition and the First Latin American Guitar Competition. He is known for his dazzling virtuosity, his intense musicality and his spellbinding performances. Widely regarded as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, Jon Pareles of the New York Times called him a "masterly guitarist" and praised his "meticulous balance and chameleonic timbres."
Mr. Caballero has performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic and the Presidential Symphony of Ankara, Turkey, among others. His recital appearances include performances at New York's Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress in Washington (in the historic Great Performers Series), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and other venues in the United States and internationally. Recent performances include recitals in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.
Mr. Caballero was featured as the center artist for the production of "Austin Pictures," one of the largest events ever produced featuring a solo classical guitar. The production took place at the Austin City Limits Live Theater and it involved visual arts, film, and Mr. Caballero's performance of Modest Mussorgsky's iconic work "Pictures at an Exhibition." The show was broadcasted live on National Public Radio (KUT 90.5 FM Austin), and on KLRU (PBS) National Television later.
In 2009, Mr. Caballero was called at the last minute to replace John Williams at the 18th edition of the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium, one of the most important guitar festivals in Europe. Reviews of the concert state that "From the first note, [Mr. Caballero] revealed a perfect mastery of guitar and music." Another critic said: "The guitar proved to be a universal instrument with unlimited possibilities of orchestration and better than any other instrument."
Mr. Caballero's most recent album (titled Quadros) featured Kazuhito Yamashita's famous arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. This recording, along with his earlier recording of Yamashita's arrangement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, makes Mr. Caballero the second guitarist in history to record these iconic transcriptions. His Musical Heritage CD of Bach Cello Suites, recorded in 2000, was highly praised by critics, drawing comparisons to Casals, Rostropovich and Segovia. He also recorded "Alba," a one-movement work by American Composer Mark N. Grant, released on Albany Records. Mr. Caballero's new album, which will feature his arrangements of works from Albeniz' Iberia and Chants d'Espagne, is scheduled for release in 2017. In addition, Mr. Caballero was featured playing a 1940 Hauser I guitar (formerly played by Julian Bream) in video productions by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A native of Peru, Mr. Caballero comes from a musical family. His mother is a well-known singer in Peru and as a child he spent many evenings sitting backstage at her concerts. He began his formal guitar studies at the age of ten with Eleodoro Mori at the Lima National Conservatory, although he had already obtained much knowledge of the instrument through observing the lessons taught by his father, a well-known teacher and guitarist. He continued his studies with Oscar Zamora until the age of sixteen. Growing up at a time when terrorists in Peru bombed electrical stations, he became an expert at practicing in the dark.
At age 18, Mr. Caballero relocated to the United States, where he attended the Manhattan School of Music. After being in the United States for one year, he won the prestigious Walter W. Naumburg award, making him the first and only guitarist, as well as the youngest competitor to win first prize in its 91-year history.