Archive for category Classical Guitar Life

LAGQ, Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival, Valpraiso IN, March 24, 2012

Yes, LAGQ has played in most of the sacred performance facilities in the world… and now, Valpraiso! at the Mid America Guitar Festival.

When: Mar 24 2012 – 7:30pm

—From LAGQ Press Relase—

For three decades on the concert stage, the members of the Grammy® Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles, while perennially redefining themselves in their musical explorations. Popularly known as the LAGQ, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, is recognized as one of America’s premier instrumental ensembles. As one of the most charismatic groups performing today, their critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground.
The LAGQ has given recitals in many of the world’s top venues, including Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, Tokyo Opera City, and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. They have toured extensively in Europe and Asia, where they were featured at the Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila International Arts Festivals and recently made a highly successful debut in Beijing. Performances in Moscow close out 2011 and orchestral performances in Sydney and Perth in November 2012 will mark the Quartet’s first-ever visit to Australia. Summer 2011 includes a Germany tour as well as debut performances at the Minnesota Beethoven, Big Sky (MT) and Skeneateles (NY) Festivals, and a return to Grand Teton Music Festival (WY) for a week-long residency including a solo concert and an orchestral program conducted by Matthias Pintscher.
In the 2011-12 season, solo concerts and residencies take the LAGQ throughout the United States and their performances of Rodrigo are highlights of the Jacksonville (FL) and Madison (WI) Symphonies. Projected for residencies in Loudoun County Virginia and at Valparaiso University in Indiana is a new work for the LAGQ and Guitar Orchestra by Japanese composer Shingo Fujii; this work will be dedicated to those affected by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. Productions of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote: Words and Music from the Time of Cervantes” with guest artist, Firesign Theatre veteran and voiceover actor, Phil Proctor continue to delight and expand audiences in St. Louis and Los Angeles this season. The St Louis performance at the Sheldon Theater will be recorded for DVD and available in 2012. This project was originally developed and premiered in collaboration with the British actor John Cleese actor John Cleese at the Santa Barbara Guitar Festival and tours with Phil Proctor have been received to great acclaim at numerous venues across the US and Canada.
A highlight of 2010 was the Telarc release of “Interchange,” their first recording of concertos by Rodrigo and Assad. “Interchange for Guitar Quartet and Orchestra,” the new concerto written specifically for these four virtuosi by Brazilian composer and guitar master, Sergio Assad and featured on the Telarc CD, recently received a Latin Grammy® nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. This work originally premiered in 2009 as part of the Southwest Guitar Festival with the San Antonio Symphony and subsequent performances included the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Seattle, New Jersey, Santa Barbara and Delaware Symphonies. The work was then recorded with the Delaware Symphony and Music Director David Amado.
Past highlights have included performances of the Rodrigo “Concierto Andaluz” at the composer’s official centenary in Spain at the invitation of his daughter and to a crowd of thousands at the Hollywood Bowl, tours in support of their “Brazil” CD with vocalist Luciana Souza and, a special New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Tisch Center at the 92nd Street Y(NY) and serving as two-time curators for the week-long guitar celebrations in Santa Barbara sponsored by the Symphony. Members of the Quartet also performed and recorded two works of Osvaldo Golijov with the Atlanta Symphony in Atlanta and at the Ojai(CA) and Ravinia(IL) Festivals.
The LAGQ’s CD, “Guitar Heroes,” released on Telarc, won the group their first Grammy Award in 2005. It is a heartfelt salute to the great players who inspired the quartet, as individuals and as a group. It has received raves for its unique ability capture the feeling and fervor of diverse musical styles such as jazz, bluegrass, rock and flamenco. In November 2008, this recording joined those by artists such as the Who, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits on Sound and Visions “Top 10 Surround Discs of All Time”. Their first Telarc CD, “LAGQ – Latin,” features their popular transcription of Bizet’s Carmen, along with works from Chile, Cuba and some new original works by members of the quartet. This CD, which has received raves from listeners and critics alike, received a 2003 Grammy nomination and the Super Audio CD (SACD) version won the award for “Best Made for Surround” at the 1st Annual Surround Music Awards. The LAGQ’s release, “SPIN” (2006), shows yet again that the group is equally at home in a wide variety of musical genres and also features several commissioned works from their recent collaboration with percussionist Colin Currie. The ensemble’s current release, LAGQ-Brazil (Telarc, 2007) continues to receive raves and includes performances with singing sensation Luciana Souza. The LAGQ’s “Interchange” CD (March 2010) features their long-awaited recording of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Andaluz” and the premiere recording of Sergio Assad’s “Interchange” with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The LAGQ’s first live-concert DVD appears on the Mel Bay Artist Series.

For more information about the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, visit their website at

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Musical Terms Misunderstood by Country-Western Musicians

Here is something that I’ve wanted to post for some time.  This list was a gift of a colleague many years ago, originally printed in the Flatpicking and Madolin Catalog (not sure which company).

  1. Diminished Fifth — An empty bottle of Jack Daniels
  2. Perfect Fifth — A full bottle of Jack Daniels
  3. Ritard — There’s one in every family
  4. Relative Major — an uncle in the Marine Corps
  5. Relative Minor — A girlfriend
  6. Big Band — When the par pays enough to bring two banjo players
  7. Pianissimo — “Refill this beer bottle”
  8. Repeat — What you do until they just expel you
  9. Treble — Woman ain’t nothin’ but…
  10. Bass — The things you run around in softball
  11. Portamento — A foreign country you’ve always wanted to see
  12. Conductor — The man who punches your ticket to Birmingham
  13. Arpeggio — “Ain’t he that storybook kid with the big nose that grows?”
  14. Tempo — Good choice for a used car!
  15. A 440 — The highway that runs around Nashville
  16. Transpositions — Men who wear dresses
  17. Cut Time — Parole!
  18. Order of Sharps — What a wimp gets at the bar
  19. Passing Tone — Frequently heard near the baked beans at family barbecues
  20. Middle C — The only fruit drink you can afford when food stamps are low
  21. Perfect Pitch — The smooth coating on a freshly paved road
  22. Tuba — A compound word:  “Hey, woman! Fetch me another tuba Bryll Cream!”
  23. Cadenza — The ugly thing your wife always vacuums dog hair off of when company comes
  24. Whole Note — What’s due after failing to pay the mortgage for a year
  25. Clef — What you try never to fall off of
  26. Bass Clef — Where you wind up if you do fall off
  27. Altos — Not to be confused with “Tomes toes,” “Bubba’s toes” or “Dori’s toes”
  28. Minor Third — Your approximate age and grade at the completion of formal schooling
  29. Melodic Minor — Loretta Lynn’s singing dad
  30. 12-Tone Scale — The thing the State Police weigh your tractor trailer truck with
  31. Quarter Tone — What most standard pickups can haul
  32. Sonata — What you get from a bad cold or hay fever
  33. Clarinet — Name used on your second daughter if you’ve already used Betty Jo
  34. Cello — The proper way to answer the phone
  35. Bassoon — Typical response when asked what you hope to catch and when
  36. French Horn — Your wife says you smell like a cheap one when you come in at 4 a.m.
  37. Cymbal — They use at deer-crossing signs so you know what yo sight-in your pistol with
  38. Bossa Nova — The car your foreman drives
  39. Time Signature — What you need from your boss if you forget to clock in
  40. First Inversion — Granpa’s battle group in Normandy
  41. Staccato – How you did all the ceilings in your mobile home
  42. Major Scale – What you say after chasing wild game up a mountain “Darn! That was a major scale!”
  43. Aeolian Mode — How you like Mama’s apple pie
  44. Bach Chorale — The place behind the barn where you keep the horses


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Sheet Music Viewing On My Droid Tablet

I am an impulse shopper.  Idle time in any electronic department of any store can lead to uncontrollable purchases of electronic equipment.  I will typically avoid these situations altogether by staying out of these stores.  Several months ago, I had a weak moment which led to a morning stroll to the neighborhood Target, not exactly a tech super-store but, I did find an electronic department and therein a beautiful Acer Droid Tablet.

To those of you who do not understand the attraction to tablets, in general, here are a few great things:

  • Relatively inexpensive.  The prices are hovering around $400; not exactly cheap but certainly not the $1200-2000 for a Mac or fully loaded gaming PC.
  • The Android platform allows for flash and java technology.  These technologies allows for all the really COOL content of the web.
  • The Acer tablet offers a USB jack, micro USB, micro HDMI out.  These are great and familiar ways of importing files.
  • Large, bright, display.

There are disadvantages too.  Mainly security issues.  Allowing the cool internet stuff also allows the bad malware stuff from those questionable web sites.

So, where to get the sheet music?  There are plenty of options online, both free, public domain and retail outlets.  The Android offers Amazon Kindle’s App which provides many titles for download.  However, some (if not most) of these titles are public domain and are available from other sites.  Such as:

  • Free  Tony Wilkinson prepares many, many public domain scores into very nice, typeset files available for free.
  •   Jean-François Delcamp offers the most active forum on classical guitar in the world.  Literally thousands of pages of sheet music.  The only requirement is to log in and participate in the forum.
  • Check out my Forums and Sheet Music Links page for many more sources.

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Chaconne Klaverenga on Performance Today, Sept 29, 2011

Chaconne Klaverenga will be featured in this Thursday’s broadcast of Performance Today.  Chaconne has been featured several times on the Indiana Classical Guitar Blog as well as provided many recital concerts for the Indiana Society for the Classical Guitar as well as many more noteworthy appearances.

She is currently studying with Jason Vieaux at the  Cleveland Institute of Music.

 listen online. 

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Q&A with Johannes Möller

Winning the GFA is a huge accomplishment for any guitarist, obviously.  How long have pursued entering and winning the GFA contest?  What was the difference for you, last year?

I entered the competition twice before winning. I was not quite ready (to win).  The experience served as good preparation.  I improved each time.  One of the difficulties with the GFA competition is the (skill) level is so high.   And, what sets the GFA competition apart from other competitions is the competitors are given a new piece only 6 weeks in advance of the competition.   This new piece is to be learned and performed both in the preliminary round and the final round.  So, the difference for me is the preparation work.   I really spent a lot of time working on the set piece.   

Speaking of your compositions, what was this inspiration?  (when you were twelve) which prompted your outflow of pieces during this time?

I don’t remember what inspired me.  It came to me very natural.  I always like doing things in my own way and I often re arrange things in my head.  Later, I took a more academic theoretical approach.  I learned a lot (from this academic approach) but, I was also holding back my creative side.  About 5 years ago, I found a balance between pure creativity and structure in my music.

In your works what elements of composition does your music focus?  Can you describe your music’s style?

Let’s talk about my music from around 2006 when I wrote my piece for guitar and alto-flute “When The Winds Dissolve” which I, by the way, chose as my Op. 1 and leaving everything written prior behind. What is striking in this music is a strong eastern influence and the music is modal and the form is free with titles like “A Star in the Sky, A Universe Within…”.  I, for the first time, felt that I could express myself freely. One can critique this style for not using harmony in any greater way, but it was very important for me to go to something simple where the expression and not the construction is in focus. However, with time I am, piece by piece, moving in various directions.  My music is now more expressive in harmony and I am leaning more towards traditional forms. 

Due to intense travel schedules I am now working on short preludes.  I am planing to do one in each key, a total of 24.  I am limiting myself to simple formal structures where harmony is very much in focus and moving from the central key to a few parallel keys but nothing too adventurous. It has been very stimulating and the music is quite beautiful.

Obviously, the GFA tour is a whirlwind of travel and performances.  Have you experienced this level of touring before?  Have you any interesting road stories you can share?

This will be the longest tour I have ever done.   I have toured since I was quite young so I am not inexperienced in living life on the road.  The hard thing is to find time to practice and stay in good shape. Perhaps the most extreme experience was playing a concert in Bhutan (Tibet) right after having hiked the Himalayas all day.  I was really tired by my spirit was rejuvenated.

I have to ask, on your website pictures; Is that your dog?

Cassi lives with my father, but she is very much my dog as well!

Johannes’ Indianapolis GFA Tour Concert is presented here:

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“Bach And Friends” Michael Lawerence Films Seeking PBS Underwriter Sponsers.

For those who know me, you may have heard me talk about the Michael Lawerence film documentary, Bach and Friends.  B&F is an in-depth look at the music of J.S. Bach, by musicians.  And, what a list of musicians are included!  From Bela Fleck to Bobby McFarrin… Edgar Meyer to Joshua Bell.  As a musician-type (hardly would call myself a musician), hearing the meaning of Bach’s music explained by these virtuosos is awe-inspiring.  Also, their performances are worth the price of the DVD alone.  Do yourself a favor and order a DVD OR, if you are feeling generous, pick up a copy of the DVD for your local library, school, etc.  It is a gem.

Of course my favorite scene, as you could probably guess, is the classical guitar of Manuel Barrueco.

Michael is seeking donors for a PBS presentation of the B&F documentary.  I would like to see a major network pick it up!  But, alas… hopefully a donor will step up! and provide the funding for the nationwide broadcast.

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El Calido Viento, Ohio State Univ, Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sorry about the late notice on this one.  Rodolfo Vazquez Flute, Guitarist Sean Ferguson and Cellist Darlene Barrett make up the ensemble.  The local paper has a story on the concert here.  I wish I could make the concert tonight!  I love the cello / guitar duo combination.  The trio of guitar, flute and cello sounds intriguing.

The concert is part of the 5 nights on campus concert series.  According to the OSU website:

“El Calido Viento is a brilliant ensemble that offers a musical and cultural journey through the classical music styles of Spain and Latin America. This group’s repertoire includes some of the finest music written by Hispanic composers, such as Rodrigo, Gade, Villalobos, Ponce, Jobim, Lecuona, Vazquez and Goodwin. In promoting Hispanic music, this ensemble brings to its audiences a distinctive definition of what music and the fine arts are in Latin America.”

Location: Ohio State University – Marion, 1465 Mt. Vernon Ave., Marion, Ohio 43302

“El Calido Viento is a brilliant ensemble that offers a musical and cultural journey through the classical music styles of Spain and Latin America. This group’s repertoire includes some of the finest music written by Hispanic composers, such as Rodrigo, Gade, Villalobos, Ponce, Jobim, Lecuona, Vazquez and Goodwin. In promoting Hispanic music, this ensemble brings to its audiences a distinctive definition of what music and the fine arts are in Latin America.”

GiMP3 Demo

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