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Sometimes practicality plays a major role in how we choose the instruments we first play as kids. As a youngster with asthma, I steered clear of wind instruments, but since I loved banging on things, I chose percussion.
Milos Karadaglic, a shockingly talented guitarist from Montenegro, never had breathing problems — he began his musical training as a singer. But like almost any 8-year-old, he wanted to play something more tangible when it came time to attend a formal music program. His parents were supportive, but discouraged the piano — too expensive.
The closest instrument at hand was a neglected old guitar, collecting dust atop of an armoire in his parents' bedroom.
"It had missing strings, it was terrible," recalls Milos (he likes to go by just his first name). "I said, 'Can you give me that? I just want to feel it.' The moment I picked it up for the first time and pretended to be a rock star, I said, 'This is what I want to play.'"
The rock star phase was short-lived. By age 14, Milos was playing concert halls in his war-torn home country, eventually racking up competition prizes and enough nerve to send a demo tape to London's Royal Academy of Music. At 17, with a full scholarship, he found himself in a strange new city, honing his technique and building repertoire. Ten years later, some of that music landed on Mediterraneo, his debut album.
In this Savannah Music Festival recital, Milos, 28, performs a few of those pieces — including Albeniz's "Asturias" and "Granada" — and adds a Villa-Lobos set and a rhapsodic work by Fernando Sor, once called the Beethoven of the guitar. Look for news about a new album from Milos this summer at his website.
(Watch Milos play a Tiny Desk Concert.)