Peter Fletcher began guitar study at the age of seven under classical guitar instructor, John Sutherland. In 1980, classical guitarist José Tomás, teaching assistant of Andrés Segovia in Spain, held a week long Master Class in Atlanta, GA; Peter Fletcher was the youngest student to perform in the class, playing music by Bach and Carcassi. In December, 1983, he made his formal debut at the age of fifteen under the auspices of The Brasstown Concert Association in North Carolina. Wrote the critic of The Cherokee Scout, “He has technical facility but what one remembers about his playing is the nuances, the poetical phrasing, dynamic and tonal changes, his harmonics, his cadences.”
Fletcher furthered his studies in Master Classes with David Leisner, David Russell, Oscar Ghiglia and Pepe Romero. As a performer in the Christopher Parkening Master Class in 1988, he was broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). In 1990, the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) awarded Fletcher a prize at its National Level Competition, and in 1995 he received the Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music under Nicholas Goluses, and was twice the recipient of an Eastman Graduate Award.
In demand as a performer in cultural venues throughout the country, Mr. Fletcher has been invited to give recitals at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY; Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall; St. Philip Cathedral in Atlanta; Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and many others. In 2003 he performed on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center. In January 2005, Mr. Fletcher was invited to join the distinguished Jury of the 9th Annual Schadt String Competition in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He made his New York Debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in February 2007, and returned in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to a completely sold-out house.
Impressions on Segovia’s 1969 José Ramírez 1a “AM”
“To Guitar Salon,
Last November I had the very good fortune and the rare honor of playing a remarkable instrument, the Ramírez 3339 [aka: 1969 José Ramírez 1a “AM”].
As a rule I have never been a great fan of the world-renowned Ramírez instruments, although I love all of Christopher Parkening’s EMI recordings, Julian Bream’s Romantic Guitar album on the RCA Victor Gold Seal label, and the sound of almost all the recordings maestro Segovia made in the 1960s.
In addition, in the Spring of 1985, I attended a Segovia concert in Charleston, SC, and when he played the descending melodic line of Villa-Lobos’s ‘Prelude No. 3′ the audience literally melted. Never in my life have I seen such an intensely powerful effect on an audience. My mother drove me to the concert from Atlanta, and after this piece was over we looked at each other, and my mother said ‘that was unbelievably beautiful.’ Parkening has shared similar experiences, and the instrument cannot be discounted.
However, the Ramírez guitar was never the right instrument for me.
In 1987, Christopher Parkening gave me first option of purchasing a beautiful Ramírez guitar which he owned and played. The occasion was Parkening’s Masterclass in Montana, and Mr. Parkening was kind enough to allow me to play his guitar for my two lessons with him. Mr. Parkening, and several of the students at the class, felt very strongly that I should own this guitar.
Moreover, in 1995, Jim Sherry invited me to his original shop in downtown Chicago, where I played several of his Ramírez guitars, all of them pre-1974 (for what that is worth).
All of these guitars, especially the one owned by Parkening, were excellent. However, my feeling was that although the treble was always exquisite, the bass did not have the clarity that I desired, especially for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Also, I was always disappointed with the mid-range. I was interested in a more well-rounded guitar, and I did not wish to sacrifice all aspects of tone for an extremely warm and sweet treble.
In addition, the Ramírez guitar had become the official instrument of the likes of Segovia, Parkening and Liona Boyd – all international stars – and I wanted to create my own original path. I searched for my own luthier – someone to get to know and grow with.
My opinion changed when I played the Ramírez 3339. Immediately I was drawn to the sui generis sound of this particular guitar. It had the typical gorgeous, sweet tone in the treble, the mid-range did not sound nasal, in fact it was velvety, and – to my total surprise – the bass was as clear as any spruce top guitar. This instrument was easy and delightful to play – I was not strained by the long string length. I felt at one with the instrument.
The Ramírez 3339 is the greatest instrument I have ever played.”
PETER FLETCHER GUITAR DEMOS
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