Mario Otero, born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico, began playing the guitar at the age of 13. He was influenced by his father, a musician who played the piano and trombone. Otero is well known for his originality as a composer, lyricist and guitar player. Playing with a rock 'n roll group called "Mercy," they pleased audiences in Texas and New Mexico for three years. After "Mercy" disbanded, he began a solo career as a guitarist and vocalist. When his first album was released, it sold more than 3,000 copies.
He traveled to California where he studied jazz on his own in Hollywood where he landed a gig in Venice Beach at the Sidewalk Cafe for two and a half years. After the death of his father, Mario returned to El Paso. He formed the group "Otero" and they released an album that was a moving mixture of rock and jazz. "Otero" performed in the Texas Jazz Festival in 1987 as the opening band for Gato Barbieri.
Mario has studied with jazz guitarist Curt Warren who was a student of Herb Ellis. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from The University of Texas at El Paso in May 1992 and he is currently working towards his Masters degree. Mario writes music with all of his diverse influences and has developed his own original style. His jazz-inspired style makes his steel string guitar sound exciting, yet delicate when called for.
Stefan Schyga, a native of Hildesheim, Germany, began studying violin at age 11. Soon after he developed an interest in guitar and started teaching himself. At 15, he and his family moved to El Paso, Texas. He attended The University of Texas at El Paso for two years where he studied violin with Laurence Gibson and studied classical guitar with Neil Pennington.
In 1981, he returned to Germany to audition for a position at the German Navy Band and was accepted. He also performed with a top 40 band, "Melody Kiel," playing bass and electric guitar. He continued his violin studies with Ludmilla Slavianska and studied Flamenco guitar with Christopher Sturm.
In 1984, Stefan returned to El Paso to continue his studies. He received his Bachelor of Music in 1988 and his Masters in 1991 from The University of Texas at El Paso. In 1990, he won the university's fourteenth annual Concerto and Aria Contest. He studied classical guitar with Aquiles Valdez and worked and studied with Flamenco artists Antonio & Rita Triana, Roque "Jarrito" Montoya and Elsa Rosario. He studied composition with Dr. Joseph Packales.
Stefan used flamenco and classical techniques to bring to life his nylon strung Spanish guitar. He is now a part-time faculty member at The University of Texas at El Paso.