Julian Bream: studio concert playing Richard Rodney Bennett

Thanks to selftaughtgirl

Recording of a radio broadcast of a studio concert by Julian Bream in 1986.
Bennett: Impromtus, Sonata (first broadcast performance)

Paco Peña: live concert playing Peña, Ricardo, & Sabicas

Thanks to selftaughtgirl

Recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980s of Paco Peña playing at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre UK
Peña: Malaguena, Tarantas
Ricardo: Seguiriyas

Paco’s Facebook page

Requiem for the Earth

Requiem for the Earth

Django Reinhardt demonstrates his guitar genius in rare footage from the 1930s, 40s & 50s

Thanks to Open Culture and Josh Jones for this:

Reinhardt and jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934, and in the forties, Reinhardt began composing, and toured England, Switzerland, and the U.S. as a soloist with Duke Ellington’s band. He recorded his final album, Djangology in 1949, retired in 51, and died in 53, already a legend, “one of the few European musicians to exert a serious influence on the American art form of jazz,” writes an NPR “Weekend Edition” profile. Django’s playing, “at times joyous, fierce and lyrical,” draws heavily on his Roma roots while mastering the vocabulary of swing—a language, it seems, still new to many audiences in 1938, when the film at the top of the post, Jazz “Hot,” was made.

Related Content:

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Legend Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt and the Inspiring Story Behind His Guitar Technique

Deadline for National Youth Guitar Ensemble auditions approaching fast!

NYGE logo

The National Youth Guitar Ensemble is currently looking for young talented guitarists who have a passion for performing and interacting with like-minded musicians to audition for the ensemble’s 2015 courses.

If you know of a gifted guitarist aged 13-18 years old, that is of at least grade 6 standard then NYGE would love to hear from them.

Details below
Link to the audition flyer :

Excerpts from last summer’s concert
From the Steppes of Central Asia – Borodin arr.Crawford

Variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky are.Gordon

Auditions are taking place in January at the following venues:
2015 AUDITION DATES & VENUES:

11th Jan: London - Royal Academy of Music

24th Jan: Manchester - Chetham’s School of Music

31st Jan: Birmingham - Edgbaston High School for Girls

The National Youth Guitar Ensemble offers the highest standard of ensemble training in the UK to young aspiring guitarists. Directed by guitarist/composer Gerald Garcia, the NYGE is currently made up of twenty four of the UK’s finest young guitarists.

Successful candidates are invited to attend two residential courses per year. Bursaries are available to students in financial difficulty.

Applicants need to be 13 – 18 years old on the 1st September 2015 and the equivalent standard of grade six or above.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 5th December 2014

For late applications please email the Co-ordinator for availability.

Successful applicants are invited to attend two residential courses at Easter and in the summer led by Musical Director Gerald Garcia. The VIDA Guitar Quartet performed with NYGE for the 2014 concert season. Other past artists and conductors with NYGE include Leo Brouwer, Gary Ryan, Chris Susans, Carl Herring, Belinda Evans and Keith Fairbairn.
Bursaries for the courses are offered in cases of need.

Applicants can apply for an audition online here

More videos here

Concerto Romantico for violin and guitar – Čepinskis-Krinicin Duo and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra

Vilhelmas and Sergej

In 2002, I was invited to write a concerto for the Christée-Baldissera violin and guitar duo. This was performed in the German town of Bad Munder.
I finished the piece in a couple of weeks and heard nothing from the duo or the conductor for weeks. Jeanne Christée requested a more virtuosic final movement which I rewrote as a tango and battle between the soloists and the orchestra!
Finally I received an invitation to attend the concert and worked out how get to Bad Munder.

It was quite a journey, compositionally and geographically.
Alison and I got off a train at Bad Munder to find the station was in the middle of the countryside with no clue as to where the town was. Far away on the horizon there was a steeple, so we headed out towards it across snowy fields. It was indeed the town, but there was absolutely no one around.
I had never heard the duo and luckily they had the music down to a tee despite problems with the guitar amplification. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the snowy ghost town. It was beautiful, with traditional north German wooden houses.
In the evening, there were suddenly hundreds of people attending the concert – where had they all come from?

Many years later, my friend Sergej Krinicin of the Baltic Guitar Quartet asked if he could play the piece – he had a duo with the violin virtuoso, Vilhelmas Cepinskis.
Vilhelmas wanted the concerto rewritten for symphony orchestra, but it was originally conceived for strings! We finally agreed it should be played in its original form, and the concert was given in February 2013 but the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Bokor.
This was a big concert which was televised, and I managed t get an audio recording of the whole piece.

Here is the middle movement:

Here is the audio of the complete concerto

National Youth Guitar Ensemble – auditions – calling all teachers in the UK

NYGE logo

The National Youth Guitar Ensemble is currently looking for young talented guitarists who have a passion for performing and interacting with like-minded musicians to audition for the ensemble’s 2015 courses.

If you know of a gifted guitarist aged 13-18 years old, that is of at least grade 6 standard then NYGE would love to hear from them.

Details below
Link to the audition flyer :

Excerpts from last summer’s concert with the Vida Quartet
Cuerda Pa’rato arr. Louis Trépanier

Spectral Dreams by Gerald Garcia

Auditions are taking place in January at the following venues:
2015 AUDITION DATES & VENUES:

11th Jan: London - Royal Academy of Music

24th Jan: Manchester - Chetham’s School of Music

31st Jan: Birmingham - Edgbaston High School for Girls

The National Youth Guitar Ensemble offers the highest standard of ensemble training in the UK to young aspiring guitarists. Directed by guitarist/composer Gerald Garcia, the NYGE is currently made up of twenty four of the UK’s finest young guitarists. 

Successful candidates are invited to attend two residential courses per year. Bursaries are available to students in financial difficulty.  

Applicants need to be 13 – 18 years old on the 1st September 2015 and the equivalent standard of grade six or above.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 5th December 2014

For late applications please email the Co-ordinator for availability.

 

Successful applicants are invited to attend two residential courses at Easter and in the summer led by Musical Director Gerald Garcia. The VIDA Guitar Quartet performed with NYGE for the 2014 concert season. Other past artists and conductors with NYGE include Leo Brouwer, Gary Ryan, Chris Susans, Carl Herring, Belinda Evans and Keith Fairbairn.
Bursaries for the courses are offered in cases of need.

 

Applicants can apply for an audition online here

 

More videos here


 

Interview with Hanson Yao CEO of Altamira Guitars

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When I was in Hong Kong in October, I had the chance to interview Hanson Yao, an unfamiliar name to many, but a highly successful guitar maker and manufacturer. His company, which he started with his wife Jenny in Guangzhou, is Altamira Guitars, which sponsors many guitar events both in China and the west.

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I ask him how he started and how the company has grown over the last seven years to producing 28,000 guitars a year with 120 workers, all of whom have been personally trained by Hanson at the factory in Guangzhou.

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His recent venture has been the opening of a guitar shop containing his workshop in Hong Kong, which is already becoming a centre for Hong Kong guitar activities (during the interview, David Russell was giving a masterclass in the shop).
As well as guitars, the shop also sells violins, and Altamira will be sponsoring CD recordings for Naxos of prizewinning guitarists in many of its competitions throughout China.
I was lucky enough to produce just such a recording with the 14 year old prodigy Kuang Junhong which is to be released in December, and the hope is that there will be many more.

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This enthusiasm for the guitar and hard work to get it established commercially in China is an undertaking which many of us could learn from – here’s to Hanson and Jenny’s continuing success.

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How playing a musical instrument benefits your brain

We knew it had to be good, but never realised it was this good.
Well presented TEDEd animation – engaging and concise.
time to get back to learning those Bach lute suites again…

Lesson by Anita Collins
Narration by Addison Anderson
Music by Peter Gosling
Animation by Sharon Coleman Graham

Eden-Stell Guitar Duo 25th Anniversary Concert at Kings Place 25th October 2014

Eden Stell Duo

This special concert was part of the London Guitar Festival, and there were other interesting events happening during the day as well.
I discovered that Jack Hancher and Haydn Bateman, both formerly NYGE members were playing on the Aspire Stage programme, and so were Julian Vickers and Dan Bovey (also former NYGE alumni) on the Young Artist Platform. Wonderful musicianship and exciting playing and a great taster for the main event that evening. I particularly enjoyed the Vickers Bovey performance of Pierre Petit’s Toccata and Joe Cutler’s Every Day Music, which was given its World Premier, and the Hancher Bateman Duo’s exciting Rodrigo Tonadilla.

Later on, at the reception before the Eden Stell concert, there were many luminaries of the guitar world present, including the duo’s former teacher at the Royal Academy, Michael Lewin and David Russell, who had just flown in from Korea. Tom Kerstens, the genial organiser of the festival was also in evidence.

The concert was superb – a testament to the duo’s hard work and lively approach to the art of chamber music making.
Every nuance in the pieces by Couperin and Rameau was captured, even more so than on the harpsichord for which they were written. Johannes Möller’s “When Buds are Breaking” was similarly expertly and delicately realised.
The staple guitar duo pieces by Sergio Assad (Jobiniana) and Piazzolla (Tango Suite) were thrilling to hear and given a freshness so characteristic of the Eden Stell Duo.
But the revelation of the evening was Mark Eden’s masterly arrangements of Canciones y Danzas by Frederic Mompou – these are magical piano miniatures whose reference to Catalan folksong will be familiar to guitarists though Llobet’s arrangements. The spare texture and simple yet emotionally charged world of Mompou fits the guitar perfectly.
The concert ended with the duo’s signature four handed encore. A CD is due to appear next year, and I am ready to pre-order it!
The evening was a wonderful tribute to Mark and Chris’ twenty five years of playing together, showcasing their subtlety, expert insight, virtuosity and above all their sense of fun which I have been privileged to be party to ever since they formed their duo.

I was not able to record any of the concert, but here is a short video of Chris and Mark warming up before:

Here are some photos of the occasion:

Some videos of the Eden Stell duo in action if you can’t wait to hear them live

Slow down! Rachmaninoff’s Way

I have recently rediscovered the importance of having the right hand returning to a relaxed neutral position after each effort and also picked up Pepe Romero’s tips on playing picado, tremolo and rasgueado.
Very important information presented in a concise manner. (He is also sporting rather fetching shorts)





The following article in Practising the Piano really brings these ideas home. Extremely important for recovering focal dystonics who are retraining their hands!

If you’re serious about playing the piano, there’s no getting away from slow practice. It is a cornerstone of our work from the beginner stages right through to the advanced level, and a practice tool also used by professional pianists and seasoned virtuosos all the time. In this post, I aim to help you not only realise the importance of careful, accurate slow work but also to enjoy it fully!

I have noticed some folk think they should be beyond slow practice – that’s only something beginners do. Far from it! In Abram Chasins’ wonderful book Speaking of Pianists, the author describes a time he showed up for a lesson with Rachmaninov and overhead him practising – but so slowly that he didn’t recognise the piece at first. I know I have used this quotation before, but I am going to use it again because it speaks volumes about how a great pianist used ultra-slow practice for a work he was maintaining (not learning) to keep it spick and span:

Rachmaninov was a dedicated and driven perfectionist. He worked incessantly, with infinite patience. Once I had an appointment to spend an afternoon with him in Hollywood. Arriving at the designated hour of twelve, I heard an occasional piano sound as I approached the cottage. I stood outside the door, unable to believe my ears. Rachmaninov was practising Chopin’s etude in thirds, but at such a snail’s pace that it took me a while to recognise it be- cause so much time elapsed between one finger stroke and the next. Fascinated, I clocked this re- markable exhibition: twenty seconds per bar was his pace for almost an hour while I waited riveted to the spot, quite unable to ring the bell. Perhaps this way of developing and maintaining an unerring mechanism accounted for his bitter sarcasm toward colleagues who practised their programmes ‘once over lightly’ between concerts. (Chasins, Abram. 1967. Speaking of Pianists. New York: Knopf, 44.)”

Continue reading here….