Virtuoso Guitarist Makes American Debut at Festival of the Arts BOCA

One of the highlights of the Festival of the Arts BOCA, which runs through March 12 in Mizner Park, is the United States debut of Milos Karadaglic, a classical-guitar virtuoso who began as a child prodigy. By 14, the

Montenegrin-born musician he had performed in many famous concert halls, and he later studied in a master class under guitar legend David Russell.

Karadaglic’s debut album, “Mediterraneo,” will be released in June, but critics across Europe and beyond have already praised his eclectic mastery of the instrument. He will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Mizner Park Amphitheatre.

I understand your performance at the Festival of the Arts will be your American debut. We’re honored to have you. What is it about this festival that finally brings you to our shores?

I am absolutely delighted to be here! I feel there cannot be a more beautiful place to make music. Boca is magical, and it feels like the ocean cleanses the soul. This is the first time I am performing in the States and I feel very excited indeed.

What was it like being a musical prodigy at such as young age? Did you still get to enjoy a conventional childhood?

When I was young I just loved to perform and felt that was normal. My family is not musical at all, so the fact that I was made everyone feel great. My childhood memories take me back to the coast of Montenegro, where I spent summers with my many cousins. It was beautiful, innocent and full of joy, and I feel very lucky for that. Guitar was a part of that too. I would, almost every evening, play a piece or two to my family.

What made you fall in love with the guitar as your instrument of choice?

When I was eight years old I discovered a dusty old guitar on top of the cupboard in my parents’ bedroom. This was a guitar my father received as a gift from my uncle when he was young. From the moment I picked it up, I felt as if this was my destiny. I imagined that one day I would be a rock star.

The guitar is probably seen by most as a rock instrument. Do you feel it is under-utilized in classical compositions, and has yet to reach its full artistic potential?

Whether it is a rock guitar, acoustic, jazz or classical, guitar is a guitar and it can connect to more people then any other classical instrument. There is not as much repertoire for it as for the violin and cello, but there still is a lot. However, guitar has not yet reached its peak. The future is in the new music — lifting the barriers and exploring new possibilities.

What are some of the most important lessons you learned from the many maestros you’ve studied under?

To always be myself.

What do you do when you’re not playing music?

I love to take long walks to think through stuff. I also adore reading. As I am away a lot, I try to use every opportunity to go out and see my friends.

Tickets are $20 or $85. Call 866/571-2787. To hear some of his music, visit hiswebsite.