Arts, Culture & Media

Berklee grad gets a chance to play 'Stairway to Heaven' in front of Jimmy Page, and nails it

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Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Graduating student Sebastian Fernandez performs a Led Zeppelin song at the Berklee College of Music Commencement Concert in Boston.

Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" — it's the guitar rock anthem of all time.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

Overplayed? Perhaps. But not if you're Sebastian Fernandez.

He's a budding guitarist from Buenos Aires who just graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

At a Berklee commencement program, Fernandez got the chance to play Stairway in front of Jimmy Page, who is, of course, lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin.

The next day, Jimmy Page commented on the student performances of several of his famous Zeppelin songs.

"What a spirit there is here," Page said. "The quality of musicianship that was shown last night was really moving, right across the different genres that were being played. Thank you so much for the interpretation of my music. That was really touching."

Sebastian Fernandez says he wasn't nervous playing on stage in front of Page.

"I love playing live," he says. "I love the spiritual place that it takes me. I think I was really connected to that emotion. It just felt like great energy. I felt like I belonged there. I could see Jimmy while I was playing, so it was like living a dream but being conscious about it. It was probably the best show and moment of my life." 

Fernandez starting playing guitar at age 6, but didn't start listening to Led Zeppelin until he was a teenager. At Berklee, he honed his playing and now he's heading out into the world armed with his music and his Gibson SG Classic.

"I'm very happy to have graduated because I couldn't take going to class anymore," he says laughing. "That's enough for me, that's what I say. Now it's the real world. I know it's going to be hard work, but I like it. My main project right now is my band, Stone Giant."

Fernandez says his band's been playing a lot in Boston and New York and will be heading to South America, Portugal and other places to play some festivals. Stone Giant will also be releasing an album this summer.

Fernandez says he hopes to "actually become what I always envisioned."

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