NYCCGS is knee-deep in the middle of another exciting season of classical guitar concerts. The first few months have already included sold-out performances with The Tali Roth Trio and a Flamenco Festival that included Dennis Koster, Jose R. Ramos, and Ivan and Juan Gomez. If you were there, you know what incredible events they were. If you weren’t, you missed two fantastic afternoons. Well, the season’s not over yet — try to make up for it and revive your love for classical guitar by attending our upcoming events:
The next NYCCGS concert will be on April 23, 2006, when Cuban guitarist Rene Izquierdo is welcomed back to New York. Rene left New York last year to join the faculty of the University of Milwaukee as a Lecturer in Classical Guitar. While we miss him here, Rene says the new position is “excellent. The student body has increased 200% in a year and a half. They are thirsty for knowledge and a great joy to teach.”
The enthusiasm of his students reminds Rene of his youth in Cuba. “When I was growing up I was very much into sports and was not interested in music,” remembers Rene, whose says the second half of his program will be Cuban music. “It was only when my father took me to a concert and I saw Costas Cotsiolis perform the Black Decameron by Leo Brouwer that it hit me. That same night I asked my father if he could get me a guitar.”
After learning popular songs by Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes, Rene soon reached higher. “I realized that my playing was very weak and it needed major improvement. I remember that I wanted to play the Romance and to use all of my fingers across the fingerboard.”
Those who have seen him play at previous NYCCGS events know that Rene definitely utilizes all available resources when he plays. A long-time supporter of the NYCCGS, this is Rene’s third performance with the Society. In 2003, he entertained us at the annual BBQ, and in 2004 he played alongside Jason Vieaux, Jorge Caballero, Dennis Koster, and others at the Tribute to Jorge Morel.
Rene’s first full-length concert for the Society will include music by Scarlatti, Bach, Sainz de la Maza, and Debussy, as well as some Cuban danzas and songs. “I will play my own arrangement of the Cuban danzas, and maybe the Debussy Arabesque,” he says. “They are part of the piano repertoire and you will seldom find them in a solo guitar program. Because the pieces were intended to be played on another instrument, the ways that the phrases are built are not very guitar-like, and it is a challenge to make them sound as though they were meant for the guitar.”
If the past is any indication, we think he’ll do just fine. The NYCCGS and all of our members are pleased to welcome him back to New York City.
Speaking of enthusiastic students, on May 4, the NYCCGS will hold its annual “Conservatory Concert.” For the past two years, this event has showcased some of the most promising talent in the New York area. Julliard, Mannes, Manhattan School of Music, and Yale will each send a representative virtuoso to display their talents on the same stage. Presented in alphabetical order, here are profiles of this year’s candidates.
Name: Jeremy Bass
Originally from: somewhat-rural-Massachusetts
Current School: Mannes
Current Teacher: Fred Hand
Former Teachers: Anne Waller (Northwestern), Oscar Ghilia
Musical Influences: Very eclectic. Started out on deep south delta blues. Currently very much into latin music, flamenco, jazz (Bill Frisell and Keith Jarrett right now), and early music/baroque.
Favorite Composers: Jobim, Baden Powell, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Debussy, Bach, Barrios and Ponce
Musical Goals: To eventually develop a program that showcases all my diverse interests, from Bach to Baden Powell, jazz to classical, and everything in between. Until then I’m just trying to create expressive, inviting, and musical performances of the pieces and repertoire that first drew me to this lovely instrument.
Musical and Non-Musical Hobbies: Composer, singer-songwriter, poet, sommelier, master dog-walker.
Other info: Composer/performer of Off-Off-Broadway hit Olsen Terror” a two-man show exploring pop culture, metamorphosis, and celebrity obsession. Featured in the Warning: Not for Broadway musical theatre festival, 2 month run at Dixon Place, sold out shows at Joe’s Pub. Featured regularly as a guest artist at Joe’s Pub as part of dramatic readings and theatre events. Member of the cross-disciplinary performance group “Are We Not Grownups” exploring (every other month) the cross-pollination of songwriting and storytelling built around an ever-changing central theme.
Name: Scott Borg
Originally from: Australia
Current School: Yale
Current Teacher: Ben Verdery
Former Teachers: Sharon Isbin (Juilliard), Greg Pikler (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), and my father, Victor
Awards, Scholarships and Other Accolades: Augustine Foundation Scholarship, Australian/American Association. Performed in Alice Tully Hall, Apollo Theatre in NY, ICPNA Festival Peru, Shell Darwin International Festival.
Musical Influences/Favorite Composers: I listen to anything interesting
Musical Goals: Creating a new musical movement would be nice. Composing a concerto that stands the test of time.
Musical and Non-Musical Hobbies: I do not really have many hobbies, but I like sleep and mangoes.
Other info: Member of the classical/bluegrass fusion new music ensemble “Diesel Lounge Boys”
Name: Stefan Roos
Originally from: Locarno, Switzerland
Current School: The Juilliard School
Current Teacher: Sharon Isbin
Former Teachers: Alberto Ponce (current teacher at the Ecole Normale de Musique
Awards, Scholarships and Other Accolades: Scholarship to Juilliard from the Augustine Foundation
Musical Influences: Studying with Alberto Ponce and Sharon Isbin, combining the “European” and “American” ways of teaching and playing.
Favorite Composers: I don’t have a favorite composer, yet the music of J.S. Bach is the basis for what I am doing in my music.
Musical Goals: To have technical precision in order to express my musicality (this goes for everyone) to connect with the audience.
Musical and Non-Musical Hobbies: Watching new movies in order to unwind.
Other info: Thank you for this opportunity to perform in this concert series.
Unfortunately, MSM’s representative, Soichi Muraji, could not be reached for this article.
NYCCGS is also pleased to present William Kanengiser, a native of New Jersey, on May 14. To read more about this member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, turn to the NY Focus article in this issue.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our upcoming concerts, and we look forward to seeing you in the audience. In addition, don’t forget that we also have monthly general meetings the first Thursday of each month. In April, Mike Barry of the International Studio of Music will join us for a seminar titled “How to Practice.” For more information about this and other events, please visit www.nyccgs.com.