Susana and the Studenten Gitaar Ensemble Nederland, the Vickers Bovey duo and the OGS!

The Oxford Guitar Society had their annual concert with a difference in the church of St.Mary and St.Nicholas in Littlemore, Oxford yesterday, the 20th May 2018.

They were joined by the Studenten Gitaar Ensemble Nederland and their lively and enthusiastic conductor, Susana Opanski.

After some soulful playing of a Milonga and Roland Dyens’ arrangement of Alfonsina y el Mar, they did a wild and wickedly funny version of Libertango by Piazzolla.

They were then joined by Dan Bovey and Julian Vickers to play a version of Dowland’s Lachrimae with Sweelinck’s variations. What a wonderful sound!

This was followed by a standout performance of my “Lorca” concerto.

The SGEN gave it their all, complementing the wonderful virtuosity and fluidity of the soloists.

The tour

https://vickersbovey.co.uk/concerts/sgen-tour-utrecht/

Many thanks to Steve Greenslade and the OGS for making this such a memorable occasion!

We had a great time afterwards at the Tree Hotel in Iffley – it was a beautiful summer evening and the SGEN barely made it back int time to Oxford station to catch their train for their concert in London the next day.

I had a chance to chat to Susana, with whom I had a lot in common.

She believes that music connects us and that all cultures, ages and abilities have a common voice through this.

The Ensemble is made up of students and ex students of hers, some of whom are not professional musicians. They do not receive a grant and so feel free to play the repertoire they love.

Their enthusiasm and sense of belonging is infectious and evident in their performance.

Susana is convinced that music connects people and that playing an instrument plays an important role in the personal development of children and young people.

For more than 20 years Susana Opanski has been working as a guitar teacher at the Music School in Amersfoort. She also teaches at Muziek in de Wijk (Utrecht) Besides that she develops educational projects to bring children into contact with music.

In addition to being a guitarist, bassoonist and guitar teacher, Susana Opanski is also the founding conductor a of the Student Gitaar Ensemble Nederland (SGEN). Last year the ensemble released a CD thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Duo Flamas and Guitar group Alegria conducted by Marleen Casteele

I am probably biased posting this, but this is a recent fine performance in Cambridge by the Belgian Duo Flamas of my “Lorca” Concerto, based very loosely on Spanish songs collected by the poet and musician, Federico Garcia Lorca. Continue reading