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Iren Arutyunyan began studying classical guitar at the age of seven under the instruction of her father. Iren holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Music from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
Guitarist Iren Arutyunyan stopped by the showroom this week and was kind enough to record a beautiful performance of Ronaldo Miranda’s ‘Appasionata’ on a great Manuel Contreras ’10th Anniversary’ model. You can read more about Iren here and her LeChic Duo with Sofia Gleeson at the LeChic website.
In Memoriam: John Weissenrieder (1964-2017)
by Andrea Tacchi
My friend John Weissenrieder and I had the pleasure of knowing each other, as well as time spent working together and later, harvesting the work of those years. And now – unexpectedly and with great sadness – the time has come for me to share some of my memories of John and the work we did together on guitars.
José Fernández Torres “Tomatito” was born in Almería in 1958, in the Pescadería neighbourhood. His family is associated with Almería since many generations back and has an inherent musical tradition. His Grandfather Miguel Fernández Cortés “El Tomate” was a well-known figure at private parties at the turn of the century and among the young aficionados of Almería’s traditional musical evenings, at which he played duets with his brother Antonio.
Vladimir Gapontsev is a young guitarist from Russia – he grew up and studied in Volgograd but currently lives in Moscow. He was in town for the Parkening competition and stopped by to play some guitars. Here he is playing a composition of his own, Falling Into the Green Abyss in four movements on four guitars. The first movement is The Siren’s Call and Vladimir plays a 2009 Manuel Contreras double-top in spruce; the second movement is The Siren and he plays a 2015 Bertrand Ligier; the third is called Recitative and he plays this on a 2008 Oscar Trezzini; and the final movement is Ostinato Blues which he plays on a 1971 Marcelino Lopez.
Sofia Gleeson is in her last year at USC where she studies with Scott Tennant, and she is half of the LeChic Duo along with guitarist Iren Arutyunyan. Here’s Sofia playing Bryan Johanson’s Magic Serenade on a Ramirez Auditorio (Ramirez’ double-top model), and the prelude from Bach’s 2nd cello suite, BWV 1008, on a Sergio Perez ‘Aranjuez’ spruce-top. (I should also mention that while Sofia obviously plays left handed, we simply switched the strings on these guitars, neither of which is made specifically for lefties).
Looking back at all of the videos we shot in 2011 it’s impossible not to feel thankful for all the great guitarists, most of whom have become friends (if they weren’t already), who came through GSI this year and lent us their talent to help show off and archive some of the countless amazing guitars that come through the shop. They all have hectic schedules and tons to do, so I want to thank everyone for making the time. I like to think that everyone had a good time playing some new and interesting guitars, but it’s also important to remember that they all put themselves out there playing guitars they weren’t used to, and many of them were extremely accommodating of my schedule, for which I owe them a personal thank-you.
A lot of the players surprised me with music I hadn’t heard before or just particularly beautiful performances, and some of them just plain lived up to my already-high expectations of them.
In no particular order, here are the players who made this blog a really great place to hear guitar music this year and without whom many of us might never have heard some of these guitars (names will link to videos or articles about them on the blog):
Duo Solaris (Scott Wolf and Connie Sheu)
Alma Nova (Almer Imamovic and Jessica Pierce)
Line Forms Hear (Scott Morris, Steve Thachuk and Julian Coryell)