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20 Dec 2022

Jack And Elle Davisson Record Music By Mussorgsky, Bach, Rodrigo, Assad, And A Duet By Ben Verdery!

D'Addario artists, Jack and Elle Davisson, have recently stopped by our showroom for their second recording session at GSI. Despite their young age (Jack is 17 and Elle is 15) the duet is already playing a repertoire played by guitar virtuosos.

Jack and Elle are siblings from Palo Alto, California, where they study at the California Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Christopher Mallett. Since 2017, they've also been playing as a duet. Together, they won second prizes at the 2017 and 2018 GFA Small Ensemble Youth Competition.

As soloists, Jack and Elle have won many prizes in various prestigious classical guitar competitions across the country, including 1st place at the 2018 Columbus State University Guitar Competition, 1st place at the 2017 Indiana International Guitar Competition, 1st place at the 2017 Boston GuitarFest Competition, and 1st place at the 2016 and 2018 United States International Music Competition.

During their second session at GSI, Jack recorded three solo pieces, and Elle recorded two. This time, they also recorded one piece in a duet.

Jack started his session with Kazuhito Yamashita's famous arrangement of "Promenade" and "Gnomus" from "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881). This video was published as our "Halloween special". For this video, Jack chose a 2001 Ignacio Rozas CD/CSAR guitar. This is a fine concert-level guitar built in the renowned Madrid workshop of Ignacio Rozas, who worked in both the Jose Ramirez shop (1959-1969) and the Contreras shop (1970-1987) before setting up on his own. 

After that, Jack played the first movement "Prelude & Très Vite" from the Lute Suite in G Minor, BWV 995 by Johann Sebastian Bach on a 2015 Manuel Adalid "Torres" SP/IN. This is a beautiful-sounding guitar based on structural details from the work of Antonio de Torres - the smaller body shape and style of detailing are reminiscent of the great guitars put out in Torres' "first epoch".

For his third and final solo piece, Jack played the third movement, "Zapateado" from the "Tres Pieces Españolas" of Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) on a beautiful 1988 Jose Ramirez "1a" SP/CSAR. This guitar has all the color and warmth normally associated with a great Ramirez and has playability more like the Madrid-style guitars of the 1950s. It's an excellent choice for Rodrigo's compositions.

During this visit, Elle recorded two pieces from Sérgio Assad's "Seis Brevidades" - "Chuva" and "Ginga". Elle played "Chuva" on a 2019 Jochen Röthel CD/CY . Rothel guitars are built with a level of workmanship and attention to detail that is hard to surpass, and an elegant appearance that is nearly perfect, and this guitar is a fantastic example. For "Ginga" on the other hand, Elle chose a 1945 Jose Ramirez II SP/CY. Under Ramirez II's direction, this workshop produced mostly plain, inexpensive, but adequate guitars, particularly after 1936 during the Spanish Civil War when high-quality materials were difficult to obtain. Despite these challenges, Ramirez II was able to fill the economic niche for well-made guitars bearing the name of a famous workshop. These instruments were very usable for serious musicians both in flamenco and classical genres.

Jack and Elle finished their session with an excellent recording of "Milwaukee, WI", a duet piece composed by Benjamin Verdery. It's a fantastic interpretation. We believe that both Elle and Jack have a bright future ahead of them. In this video, Jack and Elle are playing on a 2002 Rafael Moreno Rodriguez "Sueno" CD/CSAR and a 2018 Rafael Moreno Rodriguez SP/CSAR.

Check out their videos below!

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