ROCHESTER — The president of Keuka College has been playing the harp since he was a child.
But Jorge Díaz-Herrera does not play the classical harp. Rather, he plays a traditional Latin American harp called the arpa llanera, which originally came from Spain, he explained during a Nov. 1 benefit recital at Chapel Hill. The recital, "Not All Harps are Created Equal," raised funds for the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester.
Grace Tillinghast, the council’s chairwoman, said that the event not only surpassed her goal of raising $2,000 but helped introduce the Rochester area to this music.
"Latin America is very extensive and is home to all kinds of music that unfortunately is not well-known," she said.
A native of Venezuela, Díaz-Herrera began playing when he was 12, he said. He plays by ear and only recently has begun learning how to read music, he added. He is a native of Barquisimeto, which he said is the musical capital of Venezuela. The traditional harp is played throughout South America and Mexico, with each country providing its unique sound, noted Díaz-Herrera.
"I grew up with this kind of music," he said. "It’s in my veins."
EDITOR’S NOTE: To see a video from the recital, visit http://on.fb.me/1MvsJBy.