We have photos of the next guitar on its way to us from Zoran Kuvac – a beautiful cedar and CSA rosewood classical that is in the final stages of construction. Though the one Kuvac is currently building is cedar, you can get an idea of Kuvac’s sound by checking out the video of Max Brenner playing the spruce classical that just came through GSI (and went very quickly!).
Our friend Jaxon Williams was back for more videos. Jaxon jut finished the second year of his DMA studies at USC and is currently performing a program of music by American composers in the US and in Europe, so he recorded six of Bryan Johanson’s Preludes on six different guitars, including a 2018 Jean-Noel Rohe, 2001 John Weissenrieder ‘Garcia’ model, a 2015 Hermann Hauser III, a 2018 Annette Stephany, a 2018 Francois Leonard and a 2013 Paolo Coriani ‘Manuel Ramirez’ model. Jaxon will be off to Spain this Summer to work on his flamenco chops and then he’s back to the US to finish his DMA and continue performing, so we hope to see more of him soon.
Check out GSI president David Collett on Zagreb television. David was attending the Zagreb Guitar Festival and discussing historic guitars. David reports that “I was invited to give a joint talk with Hrvoje Grgic, a local guitar aficionado and collector. He brought in about 25-30 guitars from his collection, including Torres, Santos, Simplicio, Garcia, etc. as well as several pre-Torres guitars like Panormo, Lacote, Stauffer, Pages, etc. They discussed the guitars with the audience – the background, history, etc. and had some players (including our friend Mak Grgic) demonstate the guitars. There were even some curious volunteers from the audience who demo’d some of the guitars including Carlotta Dalia from Italy and a local professional, Sasha Dejanovic . One of the players who did demos was Hrvoje’s son, Zlatko. Zlatko is becoming a bit of a local celebrity in Croatia, he plays concerts, enters competitions and lately has done a few TV features. His style is very interesting – he plays without nails, and plays on gut strings. His style is also very personal – very subtle, sensitive and unique in terms of phrasing, color shifts, exploration of sound, etc. Very interesting young man!”
We have photos of the first guitar being built for us by Julia Wenzel, who won the silver medal in last year’s Antonio Marin Montero Guitar Making Competition. The guitar she is building for GSI, like the guitar that won the competition (the finished guitar in the photos below), is a cedar and cypress classical built completely in the traditional Spanish style. Julia has been working with Florian Blochinger and considers Edmund Blochinger to be one of her mentors. She tells us that while making a canoe she realized her passion for woodworking, and went on to study at the ‘Instrumentenbauschule Mittenwald’ for three years and graduated top of her class. Six years later she completed her Master of Crafts Examination in Munich, Bavaria. Then last year she entered the Antonio Marin competition and won Silver. We are very excited to be representing Julia Wenzel in the US and look forward to receiving our first guitar from her.
After poring over all of the submissions from talented young guitarists from all over the world we are extremely pleased to announce that the winner of the GSI Summer Arts Scholarship is USC student and Summer Arts alum David Steinhardt. In addition to being an outstanding young guitarist David gives back to the guitar community by hosting a podcast called Classical Guitar and Beyond and he will be coordinating the youth program at this year’s Guitar Hamilton festival.
You can watch the video that David submitted below – a performance of Bach’s Chaconne recorded in 2016 – and check out his bio as well:
Here’s Chris Garwood showing off a brand new guitar from French luthier Jean-Noel Rohe. Rohe is seen by both Daniel Friederich and Dominique Field as the leader of the current generation of young French luthiers, and to date they would seem to be right. Rohe’s work is balanced and elegant in every respect, as you’ll hear from Chris’ demonstration.
We’ve just had word of the passing of the great Spanish luthier Marcelino Lopez Nieto. Lopez Nieto got his start as a luthier like so many mid-century Spanish luthiers – as a cabinet maker. But he was also a serious guitar player – a student of Daniel Fortea no less – and became something of a renaissance man, continuing his guitar studies into advanced age and also becoming a painter and opera singer. He even delved into history, finding evidence that the guitar may have had its roots in 2nd Century Rome. And in addition to making fantastic classical and flamenco guitars Lopez Nieto was a collector with a very impressive collection, and he did quite a bit of restoration work as well. In all, his was a life in every way dedicated to the guitar and the arts, and his contribution to the history of the Spanish guitar was considerable.
Cuban-born guitarist Iliana was playing in Los Angeles and was kind enough to stop by and record some videos for us. Here she is playing her transcription of Elegía a Benny Moré on a beautiful 2014 Sebastian Stenzel in spruce and maple (as far as we know this is the first video of this piece), Leo Brouwer’s An Idea (Passacaglia a Eli Kassner) on a stunning 1992 Ignacio Fleta, and Mirándote by Eduardo Martín on a Cordoba C12 in spruce and Indian rosweood.
We’ve got photos of a guitar coming to us any day now from luthier Stephen Hill, who though English has been building in La Herradura, just outside of Granada, Spain, since 2004. The guitar is his Concert model in cedar and some stunning ziricote back and sides. This is his Granada style guitar, built in the traditional manner. On a related note, Sergio Valverde Castillo, who just won the first annual Antonio Marin Montero guitar making competition in Granada last Summer, was a student of Stephen’s at the European Institute of Guitar Making, and we’ll have one of his guitars coming soon as well. The Hill guitar is ready to ship to us and should arrive very soon!