Do you think competitions are important for the up and coming guitarist? Why?
In my opinion depends from the personality of the player. Yes, in a way the competitions are very important, you play in front of an audience of managers, guitarists, musicians and guitar lovers, and especially if you win a very good publicity follows with some wonderful prizes and money. So if you are born to compete then competitions are better than simple concerts. But music is something different. In the competitions the participants have to perform a certain program which the majority of time is obligatory and this do not allow the soloist to express his own personality, to think to create to choose. He follows some steps in order to win. From the other hand a guitar soloist has to speak only to his heart and mind in order to choose the repertoire he wants to perform in his concert. And then the audience applauds the whole musical personality of the soloist, not a competitor but a music creator, a performer. Of course the problem here is that you don’t have a big publicity for a recital.
Do you do any judging at competitions? How does that work?
Yes I usually am member of the jury in competitions around the world. It does not work all the time. One problem is that after a competition I do not want to play or even hear once more the works the competitors played. And it is true that there are different opinions about technique, musicality etc. and very different guitar (or music) schools around. So the best way is to be democratic!
Count the votes and accept the result.
Any big plans or projects in the works? What on the agenda?
Big plans and new ideas are always in my mind. But I am afraid that some of them I will not be able to manage because of this world financial crisis. So I‘ll have to focus to the wonderful “small” ones. I do have concerts in Bulgaria and Greece as well as a big tour in Italy during spring 2009. I am preparing also the 3rd International Guitar Days of Lafkos in July, a guitar festival of which I am the Artistic Director and I‘m trying to finish the Dimitris Fampas Guitar Method, for which I ‘m doing the revision and fingering and preparing the edition. I do hope that this terrible crisis will not be for long as I have a series, the Eva Fampas Collection, for the Balkanota editions which I proposed but now they have stopped for a while.
And of course the preparations of a very interesting and wonderful Guitar Event which will take place in Athens during November 2009 in the Parnassos Concert Hall. A two day festival where all guitar soloists and ensembles will perform the World Premiere of 23 New Works for guitar dedicated to the memory of Dimitris Fampas. This event comes to complete the International Call for works which the Guitar Friends Association Dimitris Fampas (of which I am the Founder and President) organized through 2008. So we will present the works by some excellent composers from around the word who accepted this invitation and composed new material for this reason. This means that I have to practice new works, to organize the whole project and find sponsorship!
Any tips for aspiring guitarists- technique, musicality, anything really?
Allow your heart to speak through the music. A fine technique is needed in order to make the composer’s notes come alive and create the musical ideas through our conception and feelings.
What’s life like on the road for a classical guitarist? How does touring really work?
If you like traveling and if to meet different cultures, new people and places is something you would like then nothing is better than to be a classical guitarist on tour! I personally like it very much . I‘ve been touring twice in India, for instance, and I‘ve been alone with my guitar in Nepal where I had two concerts. I toured in China during 2006! and I‘ve toured South America /America Latina twice–Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brasil, Mexico wonderful! New musical experiences! Different ways of thinking and living. And of course I ‘ve been lots of times in more than 25 countries of the world!
But of course there are problems, especially the financial ones … And you can be very very tired travelling all the time. And then if you accept to teach it is really difficult to follow this way of life. So recently I’ve been trying to give concerts in Europe as I can go and return and continue teaching.
Then of course if you have a family is more difficult. But anyway, Artists know how important it is to give concerts and communicate with different audiences. Do you know what other people say for us? That we live for the applause !!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is very important for an artist to know that so many people around the world like his artistry his performance his personality so touring comes as a result of a good or interesting musical profile. Who doesn’t want it?