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Lalo de Pilar Joins Music Preparatory School

Photo: Lalo de PilarThe University of St. Thomas Music Preparatory School added internationally acclaimed flamenco guitarist Lalo de Pilar to its rank of world class instructors.

De Pilar, born Eduardo Ilan Ranon, is a Houston-based flamenco fusion guitarist and teacher. Originally from Lugo, Spain, de Pilar began playing guitar at four years old, under the tutelage of guitar master, El Cojo. De Pilar has since performed in venues across the world with notable artists such as Patricia Velazquez and Paco del Puerto.

De Pilar began using Skype, an Internet video application, to communicate and keep in touch with colleagues and friends. He was contacted by a man in Virginia interested in taking lessons and the idea to teach via Skype was conceived. Teaching through Skype allows de Pilar to reach students across the world and communicate as if they were in the same room.

De Pilar was introduced to Paul Krystofiak, the director of the Music Preparatory School, through a mutual friend and quickly struck up a friendship.

“Paul has been great, everybody is very welcoming,” de Pilar said. “They have made me feel very welcome and are very accommodating.”

Within the Preparatory School, de Pilar is focused on starting a program in which other professors can teach through Skype. Along with his Skype lessons, he teaches on the St. Thomas campus. De Pilar hopes the program will continue to grow and flourish.

“I would like to be able to bring flamenco dancers and guitarists from all over the world to come perform at UST,” he said. “I look forward to opening people’s mind to the world of flamenco.”

The Music Preparatory School is a non-degree seeking program at the University of St. Thomas that aims to educate children and adults who have a desire to make music a part of their lives. The school offers lessons in violin, voice, piano, guitar and cello, as well as in composition and theory.

The Music Preparatory School has a number of world-class musicians instructing each lesson. UST alumna Michelle Shannahan ’09, a piano instructor, was a top-prize winner in the 2008 Texas Music Teachers Association Collegiate Young Piano Competition.

Michael Whitebread ’03, ’06, a guitar instructor, is a sought-after musician who has toured internationally. Whitebread earned two bachelor’s degrees from UST while studying music composition, jazz guitar and classical piano.

UST alumnus Felix Pena ’06, the composition instructor, obtained his master’s in Music Composition at the Boston Conservatory. In 2010, Pena received the prestigious Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award.

Interested students may contact the director, Paul Krystofiak, for more information at 713-525-3566 or by email at

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