We thought it might be fun to poll everyone at GSI about some of their favorite videos, and we started at the top with GSI president David Collett. So, with the caveat that we all agreed that our ‘favorites’ change on a weekly basis, here are the five videos that came to David’s mind when we asked:
Check out this lovely piece on NPR about Leo Brouwer’s legacy, which includes some very interesting details about his life and how that influenced his musical upbringing. Here’s a great quote that I think we all responded to:
“To be useful is something incredible, because you’re at the service of the world,” Brouwer says in Spanish. “Humans, when they communicate, when they teach, when they show, when they give … they’re doing one of the most beautiful things in life … Perhaps my roots in solitude, of being an orphan — it forces me to these reflections.”
We have Federico Nuñez playing Soledad by Carlos Gardel on a gorgeous 2017 Felipe Conde ‘Centenario’, built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this guitar-making dynasty which began with Domingo Esteso. The Centenario is inspired by a guitar built by Domingo Esteso in 1928 for Daniel Fortea, and uses the very best spruce and CSA rosewood available, along with some of the most beautiful craftsmanship we’ve seen in some time.
Here’s more of Jaxon Williams – this time he plays Penasmiento Español by Jose Brocá on a beautiful 1910 Hauser I ‘Vienna’, an instrument he built before embracing the Spanish (Torres) method of construction. These ‘Vienna’ style instruments were very popular around the turn of the last century, so it’s no wonder Hauser would have built these, and this one is in fantastic condition for its age.
Check out photos of the new guitar on its way to us from Korean luthier Woon Sun Lee – an absolutely stunning cedar and CSA rosewood classical that features Lee’s meticulous and elegant craftsmanship and, judging by our experience with all of his instruments so far, will sound amazing, too!
Jaxon Williams is the new graduate teaching assistant at USC, where he is pursuing his DMA under Bill Kanengiser, not to mention his being a Fullbright scholar (he wisely chose to study guitar in Sevilla). He stopped in to record some videos, and here he is playing Carlos Rivera’s Whirler of the Dance on a fantastic German Vazquez Rubio ‘Custom Elite’ – Rubio’s top-of-the-line model – built with the finest spruce and padauk and his most elegant inlay and crafstmanship.
We have more of Federico Nuñez, this time playing Arturo Quinteros’ Romance del Agua on a great 2003 Greg Smallman classical that belonged to Ben Verdery (and that he used to record on his duo album “First You Build A Cloud” (with Andy Summers of the Police) and also on “Start Now” which features Ben’s own compositions.
We have photos of the new guitar being built for us by Italian luthier Paolo Coriani – a beautiful classical guitar with a spruce top and satinwood back and sides. GSI president David Collett was recently in Italy and saw the guitar, which was completed but not yet varnished. They strung up the guitar and David reports that it sounded great. The varnish is drying as we speak and the guitar should be arriving shortly!
Here’s Andrea de Vitis playing another piece by Johann Kaspar Mertz, An Malvina, on a stunning 2017 Sebastian Stenzel spruce and maple guitar that features what Stenzel himself described as “the most labor intensive purfling” he’s ever made for a guitar. You can read more about the process of making this guitar here.