RAHWAY, NJ — Francis Goya, a Belgian classical guitarist with more than 50 albums, will join the New Jersey Youth Symphony as the featured soloist at its annual holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 11. at 4 p.m. at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. Tickets can be purchased at ucpac.org.
“We are thrilled that world-renowned acoustic guitarist Francis Goya will join us from Europe as the featured soloist of the New Jersey Youth Symphony holiday concert,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, executive director of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “Collaborating with him is a real coup, and we look forward to the flair and artistry his presence will bring to this concert.”
“Francis Goya’s music is beloved globally beyond cultural boundaries,” said Helen H. Cha-Pyo, Wharton’s artistic director and NJYS principal conductor. “I attribute this to his unique ability to communicate deeply through seemingly simple melodies that touch one’s soul and speak to the common human experience. I can’t wait to share the stage with Francis and the talented New Jersey Youth Symphony in presenting our annual holiday concert.”
“I am so excited to join the award-winning New Jersey Youth Symphony for this very special occasion,” said Goya. “Performing with students, the professional musicians of tomorrow, is very dear to my heart, especially as I recall the challenges of my own career path. I’m really looking forward to this concert.”
Born to a family of musicians, Goya touched the guitar for the first time at the age of 12. At 16, Goya formed his first group, Les Jivaros, with his brother, who played the percussion, and several friends. In 1966, he met producer Lou Deprijck, who joined Goya’s rock group, the Liberty Six. In 1970, Goya joined the soul music group J.J. Band, with which he recorded two albums. Goya became an in-demand studio guitar player and played onstage with performers of various styles.
In 1975, Goya released his first solo recording, “Nostalgia.” That was the beginning of his impressive international career as a romantic acoustic guitar player. Goya tours all over the world. Between tours, he records his albums. He is also the artistic producer of many hit recordings, and his song “Faded Lady” was sampled in a Busta Rhymes hit. Goya conducted the Eurovision Symphony Orchestra in Rome in 1991 and in Millstreet in 1993.