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What Makes an Artist?

  • What Makes an Artist?

    Conversation with Classical Guitarist Rene Izquierdo (Part 1)

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    Rene Izquierdo, a native from Cuba, graduated from the Guillermo Tomas, Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana. In the United States, Mr. Izquierdo earned a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale University School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. While at Yale he represented the university in an exchange program with the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Danse du Paris and worked with guitarists Olivie Chassain and Roland Dyens. Rene has appeared as a guest soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has shared the stage with prestigious guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Benjamin Verdery and Jorge Morel, as well as renowned flutist Ransom Wilson, soprano Lucy Shelton, David Jolley and Paquito d’Rivera. Renowned composers such as Jorge Morel and Carlos R. Rivera have dedicated works to him.

    Mr. Izquierdo is a recipient of numerous awards. He is a winner of JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in 2004, Extremadura International Guitar Competition, Schadt String competition, Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition among others.

    He is currently a professor of classical guitar at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and an active solo performer and chamber musician. Rene has studied with Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Eli Kassner, Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Starobin, Eduardo Fernandez, Jorge Morel, Robert Beaser and Anthony Newman among others.

  • What Makes an Artist?

    Conversation with Jazz Drummer Sam Belton

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    Sam Belton owner of CITY.NET Café. CITY.NET Café, Milwaukee’s passport to great coffee is an abode for the cultured and a hub for the jazz lover. Indeed, CITY.NET Cafe is unique, and its distinctive appeal can be attributed to owner Sam Belton. Mr. Belton encompasses all that his shop represents. CITY.NET Café is in two locations, 306 E. Wisconsin Ave. and the lower level of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

    Mr. Belton is not only a jazz lover; he is a jazz drummer and percussionist. Hence the atmosphere is an extension of him. The walls of the coffee shop are decked with pictures, posters and signs of jazz greats. The air is filled with the captivating sounds of Coltrane, Miles and Hancock. Willingly or not, listening customers are wooed into a world of rhythm and spontaneity as they enjoy coffee or a meal. In addition to the powerful jazz presence, Belton exposes patrons to his experience as a world traveler. He shares this through pictures of skylines in cultural hotbeds such as Philadelphia, New York, and Paris. In fact, Belton explains that the idea for an internet cafe came from his exposure to such cafes during travels to Paris, London and Amsterdam.

    Prior to embarking on his entrepreneurial quest, Mr. Belton served the youth of Milwaukee’s inner city as a music teacher. Through his tutelage, several students have gone on to become professional musicians. Countless others have been inspired to study and appreciate music as a true form of art. Belton’s own educational background is impressive. He has earned a Bachelor’s of Music from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and Master’s of Education from Lesley College.

    When Mr. Belton is not managing the affairs of CITY.NET Café or playing at local event, he pastors Spirit of Truth World Ministries along with his wife Lazonnie Belton. There he teaches with passion and expresses the importance of a life of discipline, love and faith. And if Mr. Belton’s stated multi-dimensionality isn’t enough, he is the proud father of three adult children and five grandchildren. Milwaukee is privileged to have a model citizen such as Sam Belton in the community. His altruism is and has been demonstrated through his service on the educational, business and faith-based levels. Mr. Belton’s foresight is admirable. His style is irreplaceable. His heart is genuine.