Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The Calaveras County Arts Council's 2013 "Ovations" performing arts series comes to a close on Sunday with international flutist Viviana Guzman.

She will perform with Frank Levy on piano, Alan Hall on drums and Michel Taddei on bass.

The concert will take place at the Dr. Elliott Smart Performing Arts Center in Angels Camp. The theater is at 323 Highway 49 on the Bret Harte High School campus.

Doors will open at 2:30 p.m and the music begins at 3 p.m.

"Viviana Guzman travels the world charming audiences with her unique style of music," said Mary Jane Genochio, the arts council's executive director. "Her range is from classical to tango, mambo, flamenco, world and meditation."

Flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal hailed Guzman as "a remarkable talent … an exceptionally equipped flutist and a superb performer." Conductor Sir Georg Solti agreed that "she is a first-class musician."

Born in Chile, Guzman immigrated to the United States with her parents at a young age due to health issues. Her early goal was to study medicine but she changed those plans and directed her passion to music and dance.

Guzman is a now globe-trotting, jet-set gypsy flutist and dancer performing up to 80 concerts a year in 120 countries on all seven continents.

She is a graduate of the Juilliard School and a former member of the New World Symphony in Miami as well as the Houston Grand Opera.

Her music carries influences from her travels as she performs classical, Latin, Celtic and other world music. She has performed with such luminaries as Placido Domingo, John Denver and Glenn Close and has graced the stage of Carnegie Hall five times.

"My background in very classical but we jazz things up, too," Guzman said by telephone last week. "We'll start off classical, with Bach, and end up playing salsa. We'll also be playing some Celtic for St. Patrick's Day."

Guzman said she collects flutes wherever she travels and will bring her collection along on Sunday, playing several of them in the concert.

Adult tickets are $25 and youths 18 and younger are free, thanks to Calaveras Community Foundation, which is underwriting the youth tickets to help expose them to a variety of music and dance performances.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 754-1774.

Guzman was born in the small town of Concepcion, Chile, with bilateral hip dislocation. She was told by her doctors that she would never walk.

Determined to change her destiny, she emigrated with her parents to America in search of the best medical care, undergoing 11 surgeries to repair her body.

Guzman grew up in and out of hospitals, body casts, wheelchairs and crutches. Refusing to see this as an impediment, she started playing the accordion when she was 5. By the time she was 7, she had won her first competition playing tango at the local pizza parlor.

"I was thrilled to have won first place as the prize was free pizza for an entire year," she said.

That same year, she began piano and dance lessons.

"When I was 7 years old and in a body cast," she remembered, "the only thing I could do was read.But if they flipped me over on my hospital gurney, I found that I could play the piano.Hence, I started my piano lessons.For a young girl, physical therapy is a little repetitive and boring.I decided to take ballet lessons which I found much more interesting.And this is how my dance classes began."

Now a resident of Half Moon Bay, Guzman said her favorite places to visit are oceans, rivers, mountains, waterfalls and glaciers.

Her greatest passions are performing, traveling, music, dance, poetry, nature and children, and her greatest indulgence is chai tea.

She also has written a book of poetry, "A Flutist's Love Soliloquies."

The nonprofit Calaveras County Arts Council operates Gallery Calaveras at 22 Main St. in San Andreas. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The current Gallery Calaveras art show is "ArtSpirit," the high school art show.