Award-winning virtuoso guitarist Gabriel Ayala’s career has long been followed by Arizona Senior Academy audiences, and he has brought along a variety of musical partners to share the stage with him over the years. On Tuesday (Sept. 25), Ayala will return to the ASA, this time for a solo recital, beginning at 11:30 a.m. His program will draw from diverse styles, ranging from Renaissance and Baroque to Tango and Flamenco, and “everything in between.”
A member of the Yaqui people of Southern Arizona, Ayala is at the forefront of a generation of Native Americans making a career performing classical music. He earned a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Arizona in 1997 and has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college.
Traveling the world as a touring musician, he serves as an advocate for education for all youth while instilling his values of living a traditional lifestyle and abstaining from alcohol, drugs and tobacco. Ayala wants to share the gift of music with all people and show children that they can become whatever they dream. He believes in leading children in the right direction through his philosophy: “Love your Children, Honor your Elders, Respect your Women.”
Ayala has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum for the American Indian, and at the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum’s series, “Guitar Masters.”
This past May, he presented a lecture-with-performance at the Arizona Senior Academy to share his experiences at the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, where Native Americans from over 300 tribes came together to attempt to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Concerned about the ”silent genocide” of Native Americans, Ayala stated, “Water isn’t just a native issue; it is a human being issue.”
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer