National Youth Guitar Ensemble play original music at SJE

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The National Youth Guitar Ensemble are performing at St.John the Evangelist, Oxford,UK on the 9th of April 2015.

The programme will consist of original compositions for guitar ensemble including:

Leo Brouwer – Acerca del cielo, el aire y la sonrisa

Gary Ryan – Flower of the Field

Shingo Fujii – Quatro Ritornelli

Gerald Garcia/Mozart – Wiegen and K.546

Carlo Domeniconi – Oyun

Celso Machado – Folguedo

Previous to this concert they will be playing on 8th April, 6.00pm at the Thomson Hall in Abbots Bromley School, Stafford.

8 things top practisers do differently

This article in Creativity Post comes up with some surprising and useful results for all who play an instrument.

The research led by Robert Duke at the University of Texas, Austin was done on pianists, but would equally apply to guitarists.

The researchers note that the most striking difference between the top three pianists and the rest, was how they handled mistakes. It’s not that the top pianists made fewer mistakes in the beginning and simply had an easier time learning the passage. The top pianists made mistakes too, but they managed to correct their errors in such a way that helped them avoid making the same mistakes over and over, leading to a higher proportion of correct trials overall. And one to rule them all The top performers utilized a variety of error-correction methods, such as playing with one hand alone, or playing just part of the excerpt, but there was one strategy that seemed to be the most impactful. Strategically slowing things down. After making a mistake, the top performers would play the passage again, but slow down or hesitate – without stopping – right before the place where they made a mistake the previous time. This seemed to allow them to play the challenging section more accurately, and presumably coordinate the correct motor movements at a tempo they could handle, rather than continuing to make mistakes and failing to identify the precise nature of the mistake, the underlying technical problem, and what they ought to do differently in the next trial. The one-sentence summary “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” -George Bernard Shaw

– See more at: http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/8_things_top_practicers_do_differently#sthash.6IBDmP3Y.dpuf

Classical Guitar Beats


You may have read my interviews and posts with the extraordinary guitarist and enquiring mind, Jorge Caballero.

He and his wife Maggie have started a new project – Classical Guitar Beats – here is the intro

Welcome to Guitar Beats! This site is dedicated to the study of Classical Guitar, using advanced and innovative methodology. Our approach is innovative in that  total exploration of the psyche (mind, body) is employed to achieve mastery of the guitar. This pedagogical method is universal: its methods can be directly transferred and applied to other instruments and disciplines. Simply stated, our goal is to provide all levels of music students the tools to learn and progress.

 

The site provides fascinating insights into such vexing subjects as the collapsible joint rest stroke, semi-rest-stroke free stroke and the downward push free stroke,
Find out more by visiting the site which has a monthly feature.
Here are also my interviews in Iserlohn with Jorge.

Music for a movie

Some time ago, Les Frères Méduses, Randall Avers and Benoit Albert, came and played a stunning gig in the shed. Their reason for coming to the UK from Norway and France was to rehearse music for the film –
THE UNKNOWN
• live music performed to Tod Browning’s classic silent film “the Unknown (1927)”
• LFM score including music by Ravel, Granados and DeFalla
• violin and 2 guitars
The score was co-commissioned in 2012 by The Austin Classical Guitar Society and the Alamo Draft House and premiered at the Laguna Gloria in Austin.
It received a nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance by the Austin Critics Roundtable.
Here is a link to the performance

Personnel
Randall Avers/Benoit Albert, guitars
William Fedkenheuer, violin
Todd Waldron, audio
Arlen Nydam, camera, film editing.

Sean Shibe

Sean Shibe was born in Edinburgh in 1992, and is currently studying guitar at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, under Allan Neave. His musical education was grounded in the Scottish National Centres of Excellence from the age of 9, firstly in the City of Edinburgh Music School. Shortly after turning 14 he moved to the Aberdeen City Music School to commence study under Allan Neave. When 15 years old he auditioned for music conservatoires, receiving scholarship offers from the RSAMD, Trinity College, and the Royal College of Music in London. He received his ABRSM Diploma (perf.) with distinction in the Summer before assuming his place in the RSAMD, as the youngest musician to ever enter the establishment. Upon graduating he received honours of the first class.

He has worked with such groups as the Barbirolli Quartet, the Scottish Flute Trio and Scottish Opera, and is in regular demand as a soloist from guitar festivals around the United Kingdom, having performed at Dundee Guitar Festival, Big Guitar Weekend and Ullapool Guitar Festival. In 2009, he was invited by West Dean International Classical Guitar Festival to perform the first movement of the Brouwer Sonata to the maestro himself. In addition to these invitations, he has performed recitals and as a concerto soloist to critical acclaim in the United Kingdom, China, Holland, Germany, Liechtenstein and has featured on the BBC and European television and radio.

He regularly collaborates with composers in reworkings and new compositions to consistent critical acclaim, so far having premiered seven new works. These include a reworking of Jacob’s Ladder by Halfidi Hallgrimsson (Icelandic Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence) in his first recital series in the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In the annual PLUG new music festival of 2009, his premiere of Marek Pascienczny’s Sequenza for guitar solo was reviewed as: “pure magic…the best acoustic guitarist I have ever heard…Sean Shibe…remember the name, one day he will be famous” (Michael Tumelty, The Herald).

He also competes on an international level – in 2008, aged 16, he was a finalist in the first senior competition he entered, “Westfalian Guitar Spring” in Germany, and later that year received the Chanterelle Guitar Prize. The following year he won the Royal Over-Seas League Len Lickorish Award for a String Player of Promise, was awarded second place in the LiGiTa Liechtenstein International Guitar Competition and Festival, and first prize in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. In November 2010 he won the North East Scotland Classical Guitar Society Award, and 3 months later, in London, won the String Section Final of the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition. In May 2011 he was awarded 3rd prize in the Anna Amalia Guitar competition in Weimar and 2 weeks later became only the second guitarist ever to win the Royal Over-Seas League first prize and gold medal. In February 2012, following nomination and shortlisting, he became the only solo guitarist to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship. Highlights of this season have included a Wigmore Hall debut and sell-out performances at the East Neuk and Brighton Festivals. Later this year he will make his debut with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, performing Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranjuez under Andrew Manze.

I first met Sean when he joined NYGE in 2005. He was around 4’8”when we first met.
He is now an artist of growing stature.

If you can receive BBC playback, this is a great link to listen to his work as a BBC new generation artist.Here is a link to an interview in the Scotsman.

Some videos


Interview

 

 

The Mandolinquents in the Shed

 

Mandolinquents Trio

Last year, just before Christmas, we had a shed party which was rather special. Simon Mayor and Hilary James joined me in the shed to play trios. The fourth member of the Mandolinquents, Richard Collins (banjoist and polymath) found himself playing with Joe Brown and we were reduced to a trio.

Here is an excerpt of that gig, complete with colourful clothing!

Some more Mandolinquents with everybody-


Chopin Minute Waltz


Kisses


Buttermere Waltz


Grieg Rigaudon

Get our latest CD

Interview with Nejc Kuhar

Nejc 1 Nejc 2 All Souls University Registry GG and Nejcs

Last month, Nejc Kuhar (that’s pronounced Nates Kuhar) visited me in Oxford.
I first met this genial Slovenian composer and guitarist at the Iserlohn Festival and was impressed by his playing and general quiet but friendly manner.

He has been composing up a storm since I last met him, and I too the opportunity to quiz him over a pint in the famous Kings Arms pub in central Oxford. He is very tall and had to stoop to get in the snug at the back. We talked about the reason for his visit to the UK, his attitude to composition and his studies with Alvaro Pierri.

Here are some videos of Nejc playing and composing


Composing in real time


Quasar


Black Hole


Hommage a Erik Satie

Oxford Guitar Society

The OGS is going great guns at the moment – Haydn Bateman and Jack Hancher, both at the Royal College of Music in London and ex alumni of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble will be playing on Sunday 8th Feb in Sandford Village Hall, near Oxford.
Daniel Stachowiak has already played twice for them, and they have put on concerts in Oxford for Cheryl Grice, Ray Burley and John Mills, amongst others.

Here is a gallery of some performances.

The society owes its renaissance to the work of a dedicated committee and the time given by :

Patron
Raymond Burley - raymond@raymondburley.com

Secretary

Stephen Greenslade - secretary@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

Treasurer

Adrian Williams - treasurer@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

Website

Lester Backshall - webmaster@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

If you are in the area, please do come along!

 

Craig Ogden and Xue Fei Yang in the Oxford Sheldonian Theatre – fun interview

Happy New Year everyone

Outside the Sheldonian

I have known both Craig and Fei for a very long time (I met Craig in his native Perth when he was 14 years old and Fei in Hong Kong on a visit from Beijing when she was 13!) and it was a delight to listen to both of them on top form playing duets and solos in Oxford’s beautiful Sheldonian theatre last November.

Here is the programme

Solos and duets by PiazzollaDe Falla,
Barrios, Pernambuco, Nigel Westlake & Giuliani

Australian born guitarist Craig Ogden returns to the Sheldonian with his effortlessly brilliant, laid-back performance style. His recordings of both classic and contemporary guitar repertoire have received wide acclaim.

Since Xuefei Yang last played for Music at Oxford (in a Chapel Series concert in 2010), she has shot to stardom, and is now acknowledged to be one of the foremost guitarists of her generation, developing new repertoire for the instrument through ingenious arrangement and commissioning.

A rare opportunity to see these two exceptional guitarists join forces. This concert will take us on a musical journey from the classical guitar’s beginnings in Spain to Brazil, Argentina and Australia.

 

The Westlake was new to me – very listenable and effervescent writing. The Piazzolla and Falla were dispatched with virtuosity and a sense of ensemble which rivalled that of more experienced, regular duos.
The solos were also brilliantly played, highlights for me being Fei’s transcription of a traditional Chinese tune – Fishing boats under the moon – and her rendition of a piece by Paco de Lucia.

Craig and Fei