Triple Fret – Gitara Filipina

  Beauty. Youth. Talent. Passion Marga Abejo, Iqui Vinculado and Jenny de Vera are Triple Fret, the only all-female classical guitar trio in the Philippines. They have captivated the hearts of music lovers all over with their refreshing brand of music, performance, and love for the classical guitar. Their goal is to transcend barriers of different social class, culture, and religion, to truly bring the joy of music to all. Formally trained in the premiere music schools of the country, Triple Fret stands out with their extensive repertoire of Spanish, Filipino traditional, and well-loved classical pieces, all infused with a style uniquely their own.
Gitara Filipina

So the write up goes, and I have to agree. I was lucky enough to meet and listen to this talented trio in a recent visit to Hong Kong where they were playing at Music City. Their enthusiasm and love of the guitar comes through in their playing and the way they are so open and excited by other performers and teachers. David Russell’s appearance was a source of a flurry of photo snapping! Being of Filipino descent myself I was particularly interested in the way they included Filipino music into their programmes and their wish to make this music more well known around the world with the help of expert arranger, Jeffrey S. Malazo. While I was there, Jenny and Jeffrey were engaged! We had just had an amazing meal in a Japanese restaurant with sashimi, sushi and Korean barbecue (pretty protein rich meal). It was also Jeffrey’s birthday and the enterprising restaurant owners made him a cake consisting of sushi rice and shrimp eggs. Here are some clips of Triple Fret’s concert in Music City, plus a short interview I made with them.

Here is an interview about their debut album “Gitara Filipina”

Here is an interesting article with more music from VerJube Photographics

Berta Rojas with Triple Fret live in Manila and Cebu

Composing for guitar – Soundboard

An interesting issue of Soundboard with contributions from Sergio Assad and Stephen Goss, amongst others.

LAGQ play Spring Snow by Gerald Garcia

This piece is one of a set of three Chinese pieces which the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet asked me to write on hearing the news that they were to visit China in 2008.
“Spring Snow” is a traditional pipa solo (the pipa is a plucked instrument which ended up in China, having begun its journey in the Middle East) from the 14th century and is almost monothematic in structure, with an obsessive four bar riff which branches out in many directions later on in the piece.
I have turned it into a chamber work by adding several sections and elongating others as well as introducing a percussive element which is implied in the original. The work requires extensive use of pipa techniques such as tremolo, crossed string percussive effects and heavy string bending.
The first performance of this piece was dedicated to Prof Chen Zhi of Central Conservatoire, Beijing.
LAGQ have since performed it many times as part of their “World set” this season.

Bill Kanengiser has also arranged some of this on solo guitar.

See this video by Guy Traviss, after I worked on the piece with Bill in a spare moment snatched from our busy schedules at Iserlohn 2014.

 

Jorge Caballero on mistakes and interpretation Interview 3


When I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part, so this ends with Jorge playing “Malaga” from Iberia by Albeniz. This is from his stunning concert at the Goldsaal Schauburg, Iserlohn this year.

Jorge Caballero on Focal Dystonia Interview 2

Jorge CaballeroWhen I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part. However, what there is is still fascinating and gives an insight into the mind and method  of one of the great guitarists and musical thinkers of the 21st century.

Jorge Caballero on technique Interview 1

Jorge Caballero

When I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part. However, what there is is still fascinating and gives an insight into the mind and method  of one of the great guitarists and musical thinkers of the 21st century.

Interview with Professor Xu Bao with Chinese subtitles

Alberto and Xu Bao practising
Alberto and Xu Bao practise tomato throwing

Many thanks to Alberto Cuellar, whom I met in Shanghai – a Flamenco guitarist and cool guy who also runs a website in Chinese dedicated to the guitar. This is slightly strange, my interview in English, translated into Chinese answered in Chinese, but with Chinese subtitles!

http://www.jitamen.com/interview-xubao/

John Williams Queen Elizabeth Hall July 1989

selftaughtgirl has this to say about this wonderful concert, which most of the known guitar world in the UK at the time attended:

“John Williams gave a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (UK) on 19th July 1989 which was broadcast live on the radio. I was at the concert so a friend pressed the record button for me. I remember JW limping onto the stage as he had hurt himself playing tennis and also him reading the Ponce from the score. I last heard him only a couple of weeks ago playing two concertos at the RFH (the main hall next door to the QEH) and still on fine form.
Villa-Lobos: 5 Preludes
Ponce: Variations and fugue on “La Folia”
Brouwer:Elogio de la Danza, Berceuse, Danza Characteristica
Barrios: La Ultima Cancion, Cueca, Aconquija, Choro de Saudade, Waltzes Op 8 Nos 3 & 4
Piazzolla: Verano Portena (as encore)”

 

This is a marvellous record of a great performance. Thank you, selftaughtgirl!

A few years earlier, the newly reformed “John Williams and Friends”, of which I was a part, toured the UK, Ireland and Italy. Unlike this concert, there were quite a few hi jinx on stage (including Brian Gulland, taking a break from his bassoon duties,dressed as a chef and making an omelette while JW and I played some duets!).

Nigel North plays Bach on BBC Radio 3

Nigel North - photograph by Hanya Chlala

selftaughtgirl’s recording of a radio broadcast from the 1980s of a series called “Bach on the Lute” featuring Nigel North, whom I met Oxford University Students’ Union on one of his many visits. A very nice person and a great artist.
Bach: Prelude in Cm (BWV 999)
Bach: Fugue in Gm (BWV 1000)
Bach: Suite in E (BWV 1006a)

Altamira Shanghai Guitar Festival

Altamira posterA personal take on this amazing event which had 450 contestants and 120 jury, and concerts and clsasses by Aniello Desiderio, Eliot Fisk, the Amadeus Duo, Emma Rush, Eva Beneke, Kuang Junhong, Beijing Quartet, etc and yours truly with a movement from
China Sings!” for guitar solo and Guitar orchestra