After taking a break from the blog, there is now lots of new material.
I would like to start with this interview with the composer of a favourite piece with guitar quartets- “The Leaves be Green”.
The composer, Timothy Bowers, is a rather shadowy figure, but I managed to find him as he and I were the only ones raiding the drinks table at a reception for the Vida Quartet’s concert (featuring the ‘Full English’ on their eponymously titled CD, The Leaves Be Green) at King’s Place last year.
Timothy Bowers is Head of Undergraduate programmes at the Royal Academy of Music.
He is a versatile composer whose large output (approaching 100 pieces) includes works written for a wide range of instruments as soloists, including the series of six works commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music Brass department and published by Queen’s Temple Publications.
I was surprised to learn that he has written many guitar pieces, most of which are in manuscript, but some are available from Spartan Press.
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.
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.
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.
A date for your diary – Friday 25th July – 7.30pm THE CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST 109A Iffley Rd, OXFORD OX4 1EH Here is a video of NYGE at Easter
Video by Sophie Standford
National Youth Guitar Ensemble, Easter Concert, April 2014
Anton Arensky (1891-1906) Variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky arranged by S. Gordon
Performed at The Menuhin Hall, Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey, UK
Musical Director: Gerald Garcia
Last Year with Belinda Evans
Gerald Garcia conducts the National Youth Guitar Ensemble with Belinda Evans in his “Four Hebridean Songs”. Easter 2013
The alternative performing space I like best is Goldberg’s room next door to his boss Count Kaiserling. The Count was an insomniac and used to get Goldberg to play the clavichord to while away the night – no iPod or TV!
I often wonder how Goldberg must have spent his day and when he had time to practise! Of course, this would all have been a footnote in history if Forkel, Bach’s biographer had not written that Count Kaiserling had commissioned old Bach to write his eponymous set of variations for Goldberg. The Count was reported to have said, frequently ‘Dear Goldberg, do play me one of my variations.’
A few years back, where would you have been able to listen to the following guitarists in a more or less regular series for free? Xue Fei Yang, Johannes Moller, David Leisner, Alison Smith, the Eden Stell Duo, Gerald Garcia and Alison Bendy?