The Cuerdas Duo will be performing for:
CALCUTTA International Classical Guitar Festival & Competition
DELHI International Classical Guitar Festival & Competition
Joey Woch (right) and Norman Villas (left) make up the Cuerdas Duo.
Joey Woch was born on December 29, 1978 in Nagaland, India. He began playing the guitar at the age of 5 when he received his first guitar, made out of a wooden tea box, from his father and uncle. He learned to play on his own without any formal training. In 1995, he took up Western Music as a vocational course during Pre-University Degree from Patkai Christian College under Mrs. Margaret Shishak and Dr. Ren Merry. It was during this time that Mr. Ren Merry recognized his gift and inspired him to pick up the classical Guitar. He studied under him for two years and to this day he is his constant motivator and mentor. He also toured America with Dr. Ren Merry’s Guitar Ensemble in the year 1999. After graduation in 2000, he taught guitar and directed the Guitar Ensemble in Patkai Christian College. Joey also studied under Boux Roxas (University of Santo Tomas, Manila) and Phil Valdez (University of Philippines).
In 2011, Joey had the honour and privilege of being the first Indian Classical Guitarist to compete in the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America’s XXVIIth International Concert Artist Competition (Georgia, Columbus, USA). He was also among the winners in the Indian category in the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Competition 2010. Joey also presented a guitar recital during the Baptist World Alliance’s 16th World Youth Conference 2013 in Singapore as a Guest Artist.
Joey also performed with several bands in Nagaland among which were: Spindrift (1997), Orleanders (2003), Divine Connection (2006) and Ballad Fusion (2008) and has won many band competitions as well as individual accolades apart from performing with various nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians in numerous events. Further, he has had the honour of judging prestigious national competitions such as Furtados Dimapur’s Acoustica 2012 (Online Acoustic Guitar Contest) and Sky Entertainment’s National Guitar Contest 2013 apart from judging numerous state-level competitions.
Joey Woch taught in many of Nagaland’s premier music institutions in the past such as Patkai Christian College, Hope Centre for Excellence, Crown Centre and Pilgrim School among many others.
Currently, he runs his own Music Studio, Joey Woch’s Studio, where he has been giving private lessons for Guitar and Violin since 2005 in addition to teaching the same in the Nagaland Conservatory of Music. Consequently, he was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of training his own Orchestra of Guitar and Violin players which came in the form of “The Strings Ensemble”, an ensemble of about 50 musicians, who presented a concert on November 2012 in Dimapur.
Joey also led the Nagaland Guitar Ensemble in their first performance as an ensemble during the opening ceremony of Asia’s biggest Classical Guitar Festival, the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition, 2014.
Joey is also the founding President of the Nagaland Classical Guitar Society that is aimed at development and promotion of Classical Guitar Music in the region. Its first initiative was organizing a series of classical guitar workshops at Dimapur in collaboration with the Indian Guitar Foundation featuring internationally acclaimed Classical Guitarist, Dr. Paul Cesarczyk.
Joey’s greatest contribution to the Nagaland musical world would be training a good number of musicians over the years, many of who are now teaching music to a vast array of students in most of Nagaland’s premier music institutions, not just in the musically advanced Kohima and Dimapur but also in the interior regions of Nagaland such as Mon and Tuensang.
Normando M.Villas Jr. graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (Philippines) Conservatory of Music Major in Guitar Performance under the tutelage of Professor Ruben F. Reyes.
Norman participated in the 2005 National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) – Guitar Category C) and made it in the roster of finalists. He also won 2nd prize in the UST Guitar Competition of 2008 with his interpretation of Harangang Taga by Bayani Mendoza de Leon.
An active member of the UST Guitar Ensemble (Philippines) since 2004, Norman has performed in most of its concerts. He is also one of the UST Guitar Quartet’s proponents who performed the Philippine premiere of Malamatina for guitar quartet by Carlo Domeniconi at UST GUITARRA 2011 held at the UST Museum.
Norman is now currently residing in Nagaland, India. He is a faculty member of the premier music school in Nagaland as a guitar teacher in Nagaland Conservatory of Music which inaugurated in 2012. A pioneer member of the Nagaland Guitar Ensemble which premier their first performance in Calcutta International Guitar Festival and Competition honoring Roland Dyens in December 2014.
Norman has participated in master classes under Joseph Henriques (Spain), Angelito Agcaoili (Philippines/USA), Thibault Cauvin (France), Ruey Yen (Taiwan) and Roland Dyens (France)