Posts from ‘Artist Spotlight’
Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Sharon Isbin has been hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time”. She is the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award, and the Toronto and Madrid Queen Sofia competitions, and was the first guitarist ever to win the Munich Competition. She has appeared as soloist with over 170 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in the world’s finest halls, including New York’s Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Madrid’s Teatro Real and many others. She has served as Artistic Director/Soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall, the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the acclaimed national radio series Guitarjam. A frequent guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, she has been profiled on television throughout the world, including CBS Sunday Morning and A&E. She was a featured guest on Showtime Television’s hit series The L Word, and a soloist on the GRAMMY nominated soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning The Departed.
Composer-performers who write primarily for their own instruments have left great impressions in the past, and Nikita Koshkin is no exception. Paganini pushed back the technical limits of the violin, gaining for the instrument a new range of musical possibilities, Chopin’s music unleashed the expressive potential of the piano to the great profit of later composers, and now, the ambition of the Russian composer-guitarist Nikita Koshkin in writing music for the guitar has been twofold: to expand the vocabulary of effects on the guitar, and, more importantly, to develop means to incorporate these into musical expressions.
Hailed as “the Sultan of Duende” and already an international sensation, Spanish-born flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo won the Latin Grammy in 2001 for Best Flamenco Album for his BMG debut City of Ideas. Like Amigo’s first three albums, it has won him new fans in his homeland and across Europe, as well as in South America and Japan. Windham Hill/RCA introduced the guitarist to American audiences on August 6th with the first U.S. release of City of Ideas, an expansive East-meets-West affair that combines the solea rhythm of puro flamenco with elements of buleria, bolero, rumba, tango and alegria.
The Illinois Times wrote that guitarist Martha Masters “…is on a swift and certain trajectory to star territory.” Masters’ playing has been described as “seductive” (Ft. Worth Star Telegram), “intelligent and natural” (Guitar Review), and “refined and elegant” (American Record Guide). She is active as a solo recitalist, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist with orchestras. Recent concert seasons have included performances on concert series and at festivals in China, England, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Germany, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States.
Hailed for his superior artistry as the Spanish maestro of the guitar, Angel Romero’s eminence in the music world as soloist and conductor is heralded by audiences and critics alike. One of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, Angel Romero has appeared in the major cultural centers throughout the world including those of London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Munich, Zurich, Chicago, Los Angles and New York among others. He has appeared as soloist with such leading orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. As conductor, he has led numerous orchestras worldwide including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Royal Philharmonic, Germany’s NDR Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Symphoniker, the Beijing Philharmonic, the Euro-Asia Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony, the Bogotá Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Orquesta de Baja California, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra among others. Regardless of his role on stage, his driving intensity and flawless control mark him as a true master of the arts.
Kai Narezo is a flamenco guitarist who has always had one foot planted in the Old World and the other in the New. His sound is a reflection of his reality—a deep reverence for the roots and the soul of traditional flamenco, a love for the modern flamenco landscape, and an American sensibility rooted in jazz-fusion and contemporary production techniques. His expertise will be shared in the soon-to-be released textbook, A Compás: The Flamenco Guitar Survival Guide, co-authored with Dr. Scott Wolf, and which is the first book to explain the underlying structure of the flamenco forms and other ‘unteachable’ aspects of this art form. A Compás will be the first text ever to be used to teach flamenco at Berklee College of Music. In addition to being a world-class teacher and performer, Kai is also an avid recording artist, having recently completed his latest feature length album, “Contra Tiempo”.
Paco de Lucía (December 21, 1947 – February 25, 2014), whose full name was Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes, was a Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer and producer, born in Algeciras, a city near the far southern point of Spain in the province of Cádiz. A leading proponent of the New Flamenco style, he helped legitimize flamenco among the establishment in Spain, and was one of the first flamenco guitarists to have successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a “titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar”, and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as “one of history’s greatest guitarists.”
NPR describes Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” and Gramophone magazine puts him “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. In June 2014, NPR named “Zapateado” from the album as one of its “50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far).”
Narciso Yepes was born in the open fields of Lorca, in the region of Murcia, on November 14th 1927, and he passed away in Murcia on May 3rd 1997.
Narciso grew up in Lorca, where he learned to reflect and meditate well in nature, and this made for an experience that he would cherish throughout his life. His potential to succeed professional fields where many others would was limited because of his po0r eye-sight; however, Narciso learned at an early age to make the most of everything he was involved in and to look deep into things, especially his own existence, with discerning wisdom.
It has been generally accepted that Agustin Barrios “Mangoré” was born in San Juan Bautista de las Misiones, Paraguay. However, there is no definitive proof of this as his baptismal document found in the book of registries in the cathedral in San Juan Bautista does not state his precise place of birth. Also, several biographers and authorities present convincing documented evidence that Barrios was born, instead, in the nearby town of Villa Florida, Misiones, situated on the Tebicuary River some 30 km north of San Juan Bautista.