February 2015 Meeting: Benjamin Verdery

Exploring Falla’s Homanaje
Interactive lecture/class on Manuel de Falla’s masterpiece Homenaje: Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy

The presentation will be followed by open-mic playing time for members. Sign up in advance to play — see the Member Events page for details. NYCCGS Member Events are free and open to all members and first-time guests, and are supported by a generous grant from the D’Addario Music Foundation.

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 7:00 PM

Manhattan Theatre Club Creative Center
311 West 43rd Street, 8th floor, between 8th and 9th Ave. (map)
New York City

Described as “iconoclastic” and “inventive” by The New York Times and as “one of the classical guitar world’s most foremost personalities” by Classical Guitar magazine, Benjamin Verdery enjoys an innovative and eclectic musical career.

Since 1980, Mr. Verdery has performed worldwide in theatres and at festivals, including Wigmore Hall in London, the 92nd Street Y, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera. His tours regularly take him to Canada, Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. He has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey, and John Williams. Several composers have composed music for him including Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Daniel Asia, John Anthony Lennon, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel, and Jack Vees. Of particular note was the commissioning by the Yale University Music Library of a work by Ingram Marshall for classical and electric guitars. With Andy Summers he premiered Dark Florescence at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra and at the Belfast Festival (Ireland) with the Ulster Orchestra.

Mr. Verdry has released over 15 albums, his most recent being Happy Here with William Coulter (Mushkatweek) and Branches, with works by J.S. Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional “Amazing Grace” (Mushkatweek). His recording Start Now (Mushkatweek) won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award. Other recordings of note include Some Towns & Cities, which won the 1992 Guitar Player magazine Best Classical Guitar Recording, and his collaborations with John Williams (John Williams Plays Vivaldi) and Andy Summers (First You Build a Cloud).

A prolific composer, many of Mr. Verdery’s compositions have been performed, recorded and published over the years. Recently, Pensacola College (FL) commissioned a work for guitar orchestra commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Guitar, and the New York State Council on the Arts commissioned a work for koto and guitar. In 2010, the Assad Duo premiered Ben’s work, What He Said. Commissioned by the 92 St Y, the work is dedicated to the late luthier Thomas Humphrey. Other recent works include Now and Ever (for David Russell, Telarc), Peace, Love and Guitars (for John Williams and John Etheridge, SONY Classical), Capitola (John Williams, SONY Classical), and Give (for eight guitars). This last was composed specifically for Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and dedicated to the memory of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. His Scenes from Ellis Island, for guitar orchestra, has been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet included it on their CD Air and Ground (Sony Classical). Doberman-Yppan (Canada) is currently publishing his solo and duo works for guitar and Workshop Arts (distributed by Alfred Music) has published the solo pieces from Some Towns & Cities as well as instructional books and video.

In addition to his performance tours and recording, since 1985, Mr. Verdery has been chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music and Artistic Director of the biannual Yale Guitar Extravaganza. He has also been Artistic Director of Art of the Guitar at the 92nd St Y (New York City) since 2006. He is an honorary board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the Swiss Global Foundation and the D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts. Each summer he holds his Annual International Master Class on the Island of Maui (Hawaii).