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Martha Masters plays Scarlatti [Monday Motivation]

2011 May 16
by Christopher Davis

One of the coolest things happening in the guitar world today is the use of online video. A week ago, Lynn McGrath gave a concert that was streamed live. This video from Martha Masters is from a concert given on April 29th. She plays a Sonata (K. 208) by Scarlatti.

I hope we see more of this: very recent videos and artists updating their youtube channels more frequently. It certainly makes putting together Monday Motivation posts easier.

Paul O’Dette in Lexington, KY on May 11, 2011

2011 May 11
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

Paul O’Dette

When: 7:30 p.m. May 11

Where: Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 405 Rose St.

Tickets: $15, $10 students

Learn more: (859) 257-4929.

Austin Classical Guitar Society fills Another Austin Venue

2011 May 11
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

The Cactus Cafe and the Austin Classical Guitar Society formed a partnership this spring to host some of Austin’s finest classical guitarists in front of the Cactus’ red velvet backdrop one evening a month.

“It’s got so much history, you feel part of that,” says guitarist and instructor Kim Perlak. When you’re on this stage, it changes the way you play. “You feel the spirit,” she says.

I’m not a big fan of the “concerts in unexpected places” movement — like the opera flashmob at the mall. But when an arts organization moves to a venue not typically associated with art music — but a venue that works well for it — that’s something that makes sense. It also has the potential to actually turn listeners into fans. Why? Because it’s not just an annoyance or something to talk about for a few minutes.

One (Very Big) Guitar Orchestra

2011 May 11
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

Aquarelle Guitar Quartet supported by The Corinium Players Guitar Ensemble at the Sundial Theatre, Cirencester, Saturday, May 7.

THE Sundial theatre in Cirencester came alive on Saturday night with music from the much-anticipated collaboration between The Corinium Players Guitar Ensemble and one of Britain’s leading chamber
groups, Manchester-based Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.

After months of practice and a day workshop with Aquarelle, who are both performers and teachers, the Corinium Players were thrilled to be supporting such a nationally acclaimed guitar ensemble.

Read the whole review:

How to Research Just About Anything

2011 May 11
by Christopher Davis

how to research
Are you one of those people who connect with music by researching the piece and the composer? If you find it interesting to read up on what you’re playing, keep reading, because this post talks about how to get started.

Think Big

Wikipedia gets a lot of flack because anyone can edit it. Therefore, one must assume that wikipedia is only as good as the lowest common denominator: the angry dude to who edits without concern for the facts or anything else.

The reality is that wikipedia is mostly written by a lot of folks with a lot of knowledge on specific subjects. Can you cite it as a source on your latest research proposal? No (not yet, anyway). But you can certainly use it as a starting point.

The real strength of wikipedia and other dictionaries, like Oxford/Grove Music, are their bibliographies (or works cited, if you prefer). They provide a starting point for your research.

Let’s use Fernando Sor as an example. If you head the >bibliography section of his wiki page, you’ll see a list of sources.

How good are those sources?

Guitar music is a bad example, but you can check to see how “good” a source based on how much other research cites the work. Google Scholar is great for this.

To continue to use Sor as an example, one source that pops up at the top of the list on Wikipedia (and on Grove Music Online) is Brian Jeffery’s book Fernando Sor: Composer and Guitarist. And it’s cited by 17 other works of scholarhip. Of course Google Scholar is not a complete list, and the field of guitar music relatively narrow. In other words, don’t expect that every source you find will be widely cited.

Check Your Local (College) Library for the Books

Next up, find a university or college near you and search their catalog for the sources you came up with on Wikipedia. You can also search you local library, but they probably aren’t going to have the scholarly selection that a university library has.

If all else fails, and you don’t want to buy the book, try to get it via inter-library loan. Or check to see if there’s a substantial preview on Google Books.

Find Articles and Dissertations

Jstor is a great place to start your search for articles and dissertations, as is google scholar.

Even if you don’t have access, you can take the citations you find and check for the hardcopy at the local university library. Almost every collect library has a ton of old journals in storage some place, just don’t be afraid to ask — you might even get to use those awesome moving bookshelves.

Dissertations are a bit of a different animal. Open Thesis is a good place to start. If you have a subscription, the Proquest dissertations and theses database** is awesome. You can also just use google scholar to find dissertations. Once you have a title and author, a few google searches will often reveal where they studied and wrote the dissertation. Head to that school’s library website and see if they make any of their dissertations available online. Florida State does. If all else fails, contact the dissertation’s author or request it via inter-library loan.

Prepare for the Dryness

So far I’ve suggested a lot of ways to find scholarly resources. One warning: get ready to read some of the driest, uninteresting prose in the world (sort of like this post). Research can be fascinating, but a lot of dissertations and articles and books are written in dense, academic jargon.

Photo by Errol ImagesMedia

**Proquest is awesome and lame at the same time. It’s great they digital store a lot of works of scholarship, but it’s amazingly lame that they don’t at least open the database search up to the general public. If anyone from Proquest happens to read this and thinks such openness would be crazy, you should get in touch and we’ll talk about how it would bring a lot more business.

Watch Ricardo Gallen Record Bach

2011 May 10
by Christopher Davis

Stumbled upon a great video yesterday of Norbert Kraft, the producer (and guitarist) behind the Naxos guitar recordings, and Ricardo Gallen in Toronto recording a new Bach CD. Gallen also has a Guitar Recital CD out.

The video was done by a Toronto film company, Wandering Eye Productions. Most of the sound was recorded right through the Naxos recording gear. Worth a Listen!

the Bach recordings (2011) from Wandering Eye.

James Piorkowski plays Francesco Corbetta [Monday Motivation]

2011 May 9
by Christopher Davis

I’ve been working on a project that involves a lot of early music listening. While poking around youtube, James Piorkowski playing Francesco Corbetta’s Caprice de Chaconne popped up in a search result. If you like the piece, check out James’ arrangement or head over to his website.

Brad Conroy Interview on Guitar International

2011 May 7
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

It takes a special kind of person to make a living in today’s competitive and ever-changing music scene. That person needs to be entrepreneurial, hard-working, multi-talented, internet savvy and above all else a world-class performer. Chicago guitarist Brad Conroy is a musician who possesses all of these qualities and more, which have made him an in demand performer, in multiple genres, and guitar pedagogue throughout the Windy City area and Midwest. His playing is world-class, encompasses a multitude of genres, and his ability to mix classic repertoire with original compositions is exemplary.

David Russell Feature on

2011 May 5
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

David Russell is a leading exponent of Baroque music – one of a few classical guitar virtuosos who are rediscovering masterpieces from that period and transcribing them.

So why does Johann Sebastian Bach work so well on the guitar?

The music “almost transcends the instrument itself”, says Russell. “Maybe he wrote it thinking of one instrument, but often it doesn’t rely on instrumental tricks or devices. It’s very pure in its conception – and each instrument can bring its own qualities to the music.”

Read the whole article:

Lynn McGrath in Troy, New York on May 10, 2011

2011 May 5
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by The Classical Guitar Blog

Lynn McGrath, classical guitar, noon, Tuesday, May 10. Tickets at 273-0038 or

Lynn McGrath, in addition to being a performer, works for the GFA as the tour director.