Together: Northeast High School with Tony Mariano

This month we’re sharing a series of beautiful stories about ACG community and education projects that happened in the spring! If you’re curious to see more of our past projects please check out our ACG Productions page and our previous Blogs!

This spring we had the opportunity to connect with the students of Northeast Highschool’s guitar program in a spectacular way. Our Teaching Artist and Director of Ensembles, Tony Mariano connected with local singer/songwriter Daniel Fears, to guide the students of Dallas Shreve’s guitar and orchestra classes through composing and recording their own music. 

Daniel Fears visited several classes and walked students through his compositional process to inspire them to compose their own music. Dallas and Tony then worked with the students directly to create some outstanding pieces of music inspired by the theme of Hope. 

We had the opportunity to speak with Tony Mariano about the process and value of the project. Tony shared, 

“Helping students to be creative in a way that brings them out of their comfort zone is incredibly valuable. It's what musicians do all the time - create beautiful music from nothing. We started with an idea of Hope, and ran with it. And in doing so, the students had the opportunity to take their limited experience on their instruments and create something brand new that connected what they were playing and composing to a specific feeling and idea. This gave them an opportunity to create despite feeling unsure of what would come from it. It allowed them to feel vulnerable in a safe and positive space, and seeing the final product gave them a chance to feel proud, not just of a performance, but proud of what they created. It wasn't always easy, in fact, the composition process was incredibly difficult, and many students felt super hesitant and self-conscious. But in the end, everyone was able to contribute a little bit of something to the final product, whether it be an idea for a melody, thoughts on the form, a video clip, or some poetry.”

The students in Dallas’ class were given the freedom to create their piece of music in any style or genre and were not limited to only the classical guitar or orchestral instruments. 

“While each composition began with music notated and composed in the manner you'd find typical of a "classical" piece of music, we did not limit their creativity to a classical genre. In the final product, there are drums, electric guitar, spoken word, etc. We were less concerned with creating a piece of music that adhered to a specific genre, but rather we were more interested in providing the students with an opportunity to use their musical voice to create something beautiful, whatever that may be,” Tony shared. 

The process of creating something beautiful is different for every artist and musician. It can be so rewarding and intricate to be able to create what is in your mind into something tangible or audible. We asked Tony to share what a typical composition lesson looked like for the students and how their creative process began. He shared, 

“A typical composition started with a prompt - "pick one string, pick three notes that sound good together." From there, we built a melody. Then, we would ask the students to come up with a bass line that sounded good with whatever melody they created. Usually we'd help them out with this part by choosing certain notes for the students, and allowing them to improvise with those notes until they came up with something that felt right. We then added ostinatos, chords, middle voices, anything that added positively to the "mix" we were creating - all improvised and coming directly from the students. And with each step, we would try to tie in what they were doing with the idea of Hope - "does this sound hopeful" , "what chord would make this sound and feel more hopeful" etc. Once the mixes were finished, we turned some of the more advanced students loose to compose their own solo's, which turned out incredible. And we passed one song on to Daniel to add his special touch to the mix.”

We at ACG are constantly astounded by the fiery creativity and talent that surrounds us. And today, we are so excited to share the hard work of Dallas Shreve’s students with you. 

“Composing and recording can be so messy, even for the pros. So seeing all that hard work pay off in an incredibly beautiful video was heartwarming in a truly special way. Whenever you start on a journey like this, you never know what is going to come of it. The students don't know, the teachers don't know. So it is always a special surprise to see the final product. And passing that video on to the students so that they could take it and show it to a family member or friend to say "Hey, I made this" is so so powerful.” -Tony Mariano

https://youtu.be/5VWD1iccAQk


Together: A Conversation with Justice Phillips

Over the next month we will be sharing a series of beautiful and inspirational stories about ACG community and education projects that happened in the spring! If you’re curious to see more of our past projects please check out our ACG Productions page and our previous Blogs!

This blog is part of a two part series on our youth and community ensembles. Read the first part here. 

This year brought us many unanticipated gifts! One being our ability to expand our community ensemble reach beyond Austin and another being our opportunity to connect with and commission local artists more consistently. 

We recently commissioned four local composers, Justice Phillips, Matthew Lyons, Cassie Shankman, and Alan Retamozo, to write a piece for the ACG Youth Camerata, the ACG Youth Orchestra and two community ensembles. 

We had the exciting opportunity to speak with Justice a little more about his composition Winter to Spring. Justice composed this beautiful piece for the ACG Youth Camerata during the Texas winter storm in February. Justice shared, 

“I remember walking my dog, Luna, during the storm, and the harmonies at the beginning really captured how I felt in that icy environment. The piece moves and transitions throughout until finally at the end, spring arrives. When I first heard the performance the ACGYC did of the piece, I was more blown away by the level at which they play than I was about the piece itself honestly. It's crazy to me to hear a virtual ensemble of young people playing that beautifully.”

Justice began his path as a composer during his Freshman year of college when he broke a finger playing basketball. He wasn’t able to play his guitar so he dove into composing and became the talented young composer he is today! Justice shared a little about his process in composing,  

“Typically when I am writing a new piece, I create a ‘skeleton’ of the piece initially, then I improvise based on the skeleton with the guitar and add/subtract things as I see fit. While I was improvising Winter to Spring, I had the icy weather in my mind.”

We are so grateful to have Justice on our team! He creates constant beauty and we are so thrilled to watch it unfold. Justice shared about more beautiful things he has done this year, 

“I had the fortune of writing a piece for my old middle school Lively. Their guitar program and Orchestra played a piece of mine together, and their dance program danced to it. It was gorgeous and I was very honored to be a part of it. I also was commissioned by the Sans Duo to write a piece for Guitar and Saxophone that I titled Luna after my dog. For our GIVE project, I wrote a guitar solo for my best friend Alex Lew titled "Soni Time" named after his dog Sonata, and I'm currently working on a commission for the Austin Guitar Quartet!”

The abundance of beauty and creativity in our world leaves us speechless at times. We are so grateful for our community and cannot wait to continue thriving together in our bounty of magnificence!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObskMDnRuCk&list=PL7wuzEY0eIyCU1VEos0HX5mI0uvl-8Vjr&index=6


Together: A Conversation with Catalina Galvan

Over the next month we will be sharing a series of beautiful and inspirational stories about ACG community and education projects that happened in the spring! If you’re curious to see more of our past projects please check out our ACG Productions page and our previous Blogs!

Being completely virtual this past year brought us unexpected things to be grateful for. Particularly special was our ability to expand our Youth and Community Ensembles to areas beyond Austin! 

ACG Youth and Community Ensembles are a place to experience the joy of making music with others. We are so grateful that we could still build connections with our community through music, despite the obstacles we faced this year.

We had the opportunity to speak with one of our ACG Youth Orchestra members, Catalina Galvan, about her experience being part of a virtual ensemble this spring. 

Catalina is from a rural part of Texas about five hours away from Austin! She learned about ACGYO online and was able to participate regardless of her distance! 

Catalina shared, 

“My experience this Spring was one like no-other. I have never had the opportunity to collaborate with such a diverse group of people and work on a beautiful piece to make it our own, until I joined the ACGYO. The pandemic actually impacted my experience favorably because the ACGYO going virtual gave me the ability to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities ACG has to offer.”

This semester the ACGYO took part in multiple projects including GIVE and Cassie Shankman’s “Hello, I just wanted to see how you are doing?”

Catalina shared,

“The GIVE project taught me a valuable lesson: that music, though seemingly small and simple, can have a huge impact on those around us and can be used as a way to give back to those in our life and tell them how meaningful they are to us when words can’t. It was truly phenomenal.

I made my GIVE project for my grandma. It was a performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. I made it to simply give back to all of the support and love she has given me in my study of music and basically every part of life. It’s her favorite song.” 

We asked Catalina to share her ‘behind the scenes’ experience in working with Cassie Shankman’s composition as a virtual ensemble. She shared, 

“Cassie Shankman’s “Hello, I just wanted to see how you are doing?” was my favorite piece in the repertoire because it accurately represented each one of our stories throughout the past year and allowed us to weave all of that together into one amazing work.

Working on Cassie’s composition was a great experience, not only for me but the whole group! Joe would consistently send us to small breakout rooms of two or three during rehearsals and we were able to use that time to share variations of Cassie’s piece that we came up with to be inspired and to collaborate with what we were sharing. We also discussed video ideas and were able to collaborate on how we could represent the visual aesthetic of the piece. We all had completely different interpretations and feelings for the piece and we worked hard to blend them all together into something amazing.”

We are so thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to expand our services in such a remarkable way! We are so excited to continue our online reach in the future, even as we begin to feel safer to connect in person, in order to continuously expand, inspire, and connect through music despite distance!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rSR1NvuP2w&list=PL7wuzEY0eIyCU1VEos0HX5mI0uvl-8Vjr&index=8


Season Finale: Behind The Scenes

It’s our May Fund Drive, and during this time we love to share inspiring things friends like you have helped make possible. Here is a special behind the scenes look at our 30th Season Finale. If you’d like to support our May Fund Drive, you can Donate Online Here

May 22, 2021 was a beautiful day at Austin Classical Guitar. It was our 30th Season Finale with the Texas Guitar Quartet, and our 2021 ACG Ensemble Festival. Between the two events we premiered five newly commissioned pieces of music, and featured performances by more than one hundred guitarists.

If you watched our Season Finale, then the picture at right will look familiar to you! It’s the Texas Guitar Quartet dazzling us from the stage of the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center. What you didn’t see in the video, however, were Todd and Keith behind the cameras that were capturing all the magic. But you can see them in this photo. If you didn’t see the show and you’d like to we have attached the video below. And while we’re at it, if you like to see our 2021 ACG Ensemble Festival too, click here

Here’s a look even further behind the scenes. From nearest to farthest we’ve got Vern, who was acting as Technical Director, Joe Williams who is Artistic Director and was calling the camera shots in real time, and Jordan Walsh who was making the changes and layering in the videos and slides throughout the show. These three have been working alongside other remote team members, and our virtual concert wizard Eric Pearson, all season long!

 

 

 

Here’s a close up look at Jordan’s console where you can see what he’s seeing as the show progresses. In the past fifteen moths our team at ACG has basically had to evolve into a kind of television show production team. And for our new faraway friends we’ve made this year, we’re thrilled to announce that the streaming format will continue even as we head back to in-person events. In fact, we’ve got some big exciting news to share soon in that regard…but just not quite yet!

 

 

 

No post about ACG technological innovations would be complete with the master himself, Eric Pearson. Eric has a very rare set of incredibly deep skills and knowledge from music to recording to acoustics to technology all combined with a uniquely powerful combination of will and caring that enabled him to develop what is, in our opinion, one of the best live-stream music rigs in the United States. Read a feature about Eric and his technical innovations online here

Our remote team and AV teams are not pictured here! Jen, Jess, Lennox, Kevin, Ciyadh, and others were directing key components of our event production all year long.

The bottom line is that we are grateful. We’re grateful to our staff, to all the artists, to our partners near and far, and to all the experts who swooped in with their knowledge and goodwill. We are grateful to you, dear reader, for your support, for telling your friends, for your presence and supportive comments along this strange journey, and for your donations. 

Speaking of which, if you were inspired by our concerts and services this year, and you haven’t yet made a contribution, and you’d like to. We promise you this: we’ll work as hard as we know how to do the most good with your contributions. Thank you for your support, and thank you for your belief in the power of music to do good in the world. 

Donate online here

Related story: 30th Season Finale, A Conversation with Mason Bynes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kghY9UfOxzA


30th Season Finale: A Conversation with Mason Bynes

Our 30th season finale was an energetic celebration of Spring. An orchestra of young guitarists from all over Texas premiered Broomsticks by Mason Bynes, and the Texas Guitar Quartet dazzled us live from the AISD Performing Arts Center on Saturday May 22nd.

We were so thrilled to present the season finale in our thirtieth year at ACG with the support and collaboration of Austin ISD, Virtual Guitar Orchestra, Augustine Foundation, and Ex-Aequo. 

As part of Ex-Aequo’s Changing the Canon project that is dedicated to sharing and promoting living composers of color, the Virtual Guitar Orchestra premiered composer Mason Byne’s Broomsticks. We have been so lucky to get the opportunity to speak with Mason.

Mason Bynes is a composer, vocalist and multi-media artist from Sugar Land, TX. She stays musically inspired by chasing collaboration in a myriad of artistic disciplines, including film and television,  theatre, dance, the culinary arts and music for an acoustic/live setting. Her passion and musical curiosity has encouraged a diverse variety of commissions and collaborations with  groups like: The Westerlies, Bass Players for Black Composers, the National Youth Orchestra  of Great Britain, the Dallas Opera, the Fort Worth Opera and many others.  

Mason shared some insight about her composition process and what this project in particular meant for her:

“A  common process of mine is using the piano, guitar or my voice to compose what’s in my head.  I’ve also enjoyed processes that involved listening to music that include the instruments I’m  writing for. I’ve enjoyed processes that involve making field recordings of sounds that inspire  musical material. Other versions of my processes include taking pictures and videos to inspire  a new sound world, finding and wearing different fashion trends, or even cooking a new meal. I  love synthesizing these experiences when trying to find musical inspiration- it’s more fun to me  this way!  

This collaboration with Ex-Aequo was so fun, as was the process behind it! At the time, I had  recently discovered Brazilian guitarist, Luiz Bonfa. I soon realized that I had growing list of  Brazilian artists that I really loved to listen to: Maria Rita, Joyce Moreno, and Adriana  Calcanhotto. So this process started with a lot of listening, singing and dancing! These artists' rhythmic styles in addition to their sense of lyricism, groove and musical transformation  overtime was helpful when writing this new piece. In addition to this part of the project, Ex Aequo also organized composer- talk sessions with different schools around the country. This  was my favorite part of the project, as there are so many bright and talented young guitarists,  performers and composers out there.” 

Broomsticks is a special composition for Mason because it is the first piece she has composed for solo classical guitar! Mason shared what this meant for her and how it influenced her growth as an artist. 

“I’ve written for rock groups  before, and I love writing for electric guitar- but I’d never written for solo classical guitar. It was  a good challenge and it was so rewarding. The compositional processes behind this piece  allowed me to deepen my listening by way of discovering new artists, and it has had a lasting  impact on the way I listen and compose as a musician. I’m also grateful for the people I’ve met  in this collaboration and for being introduced to the classical guitar community. I was intrigued  by this project when I was first approached by Ex-Aequo, because of their passion for new  music, “changing the canon”. What a thrill it will be to hear all of this incredible new music by living Black composers.”

We are so ecstatic to share Mason’s incredible composition with you! (arr. for the Virtual Guitar Orchestra by Alejandro Montiel). We hope you enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0site3DDsoo


Guitar & Horses: A Letter from Edward Kimball

It’s our May Fund Drive, and during this time we love to share inspiring stories. This is one of our recent favorites, brought to us by ACG Community Ensemble member Edward Kimball. If you’d like to support our May Fund Drive, you can Donate Online Here

 

Every Tuesday morning I go out to a place called Healing With Horses Ranch in Manor, TX.  HWHR helps children and adults with a wide variety of physical and emotional afflictions.  Its services are free for military veterans like me, and the rest pay fees.  

Along with ACG, visiting HWHR is what I've been doing to cope with my chronic ankle pain & surgery recovery, hearing disability and struggles with major depressive disorder.  We all must figure out ways to compensate for the genetic hand we've been dealt.

Because of my previous experience with horses, my instructors steered me into more refined aspects of horsemanship. Sort of like the difference between the folk-song strumming most of us did "back in the day," and learning classical guitar. 

I've been kicked, bitten, bucked off and fallen with a horse. I’ve trained a few, and ended up being trained by them.  Obviously I love horses.  Most of them read human emotions better than humans.  

For some strange reason I don't understand, while at home working on solo pieces on guitar, thinking about phrasing, my mind will wander, sometimes reflecting on things instructors said to me that week about handling horses.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that the subtle details of classical guitar, and the nuances of horsemanship, have much in common.  

I’ve been going to Healing With Horses Ranch since 2017. I’ve been involved with Austin Classical Guitar since 2010. To cut to the chase, as they say, the experiences have begun to meld.  

From my two instructors at HWHR, Crystal & Libby, I’ve been taught "nuance," subtle positioning of body parts while riding, as well as connecting and communicating with the horse while on the ground. Meanwhile, as a member of ACG Community Guitarist Ensembles, I’ve been learning "nuance" from Carlos, Eric, and now Tony, as well as fellow members of our groups.  

This picture of “Mr. Dude” and me was taken at our last Vet's program of the fall season. I got to do what I’d wanted to do most: play guitar for the horse I'd been working with.  

Having had a hearing disability from birth, I envy horses' ears.  We may never know what a guitar sounds like to a horse, but I like to believe that something was going on in his mind as I was doing my best to play for him.  It’s quite possible he was totally bored and felt like just standing there…nothing else to do!

 - Edward Kimball

Thank you so much Edward! Since we received the marvelous letter and photograph above, Edward has continued his artistic connection to HWHR by creating the beautiful video below for his friend “Patience,” also a client at HWHR, as part of the ACG GIVE project in April. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYGR0zihrGA

 


Flowers of Life: A Conversation with Gabriel Santiago

Inspired by the transformation of winter to spring at the Wildflower Center, composer and performer Gabriel Santiago collaborates with master horticulturist Andrea DeLong-Amaya to celebrate the intersections of nature and music. Thursday, May 13th at 7pm CDT. Register online here. Free, Donations welcome. 

 

We are so thrilled to share an incredibly special event called Flowers of Life on Thursday, May 13th, at 7pm CDT, presented in partnership with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

As part of the Austin Now series, ACG’s Artistic Director Joe Williams asked the talented composer and performer Gabriel Santiago to collaborate with master horticulturist Andrea DeLong-Amaya from the Wildflower Center to create a program inspired by the intersections of nature and music.

We have seen many transformations this year, including the infamous Texas Winter Storm that turned into this beautiful spring we are now experiencing. 

Nature's beauty and complexity has been a common inspiration for some of our Austin Now events such as Cycles from last fall. Joe Williams shared some of his inspiration for Flowers of Life, 

“The ACG Spring season has been centered around the themes of hope, rebirth & celebration. In many ways, these themes grew out of a conversation with Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the director of Horticulture at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

We talked about the cycle of seasons and the process that plants go through every year: from winter to spring, from seed to bloom, from dirt to fields of flowers. And it occurred to me that that transformation - that process - in many ways reveals where we are.  We’ve been in a sort of winter since Covid hit and, starting with the new year, sparks of hope are igniting.  We can peak at a foreseeable end to the pandemic and the human spirit and our community is in the process of blooming.  But we aren't out of the woods yet - we need to nurture every last bit of hope in our community - and that's what we have been endeavoring to do.

I am so inspired by Andrea and Gabriel's collaboration and their work together.  In Flowers of Life, Gabriel Santiago's gorgeous music evokes the beauty of both wildflowers and our community and Andrea's voice offers poems and quotes gently urging us to take part in the wonder around us and ignite hope for our future.”

We also spoke with Gabriel about his creative process in this collaboration and what this event meant to him, 

“There was a lot of inspiration from photos and videos of birds, flowers, and nature, which inspired me to try to come up with a musical description of what I was seeing to enhance the imagery that was being presented to me. This made the creative process very fruitful for me.”

Gabriel shared how this inspiration is expressed in the music, 

“The music is made up of main themes and variations. The main theme is the transformation from winter to spring, of course. But here’s another example: I saw an image of a bumble bee, so in one of the pieces I created a small variation within the main theme about that bee! The process was very similar to scoring music for a movie, and that  was exciting for me.” 

During the planning of this event the title “Flowers of Life” was chosen through Gabriel and Andrea’s intentions of the event being an expression of the celebration of life. The Flower of Life is a geometric figure that represents the path of creation in sacred geometry. Gabriel composed a piece called Flowers of Life which we are so excited to hear premiered in the concert! Gabriel shared: 

“The piece Flowers of Life has to do with seasons and change and the cycles of nature. The world is constantly changing and the piece I composed was inspired during the winter storm. I was here at home with no electricity and no water but I had a little juice left on my phone, so I recorded this piece that was inspired by the scenery I was experiencing in this very odd time. It plays as my dialogue of my experience which touches on this sentiment of constant change, destruction, and growth in the cycles of nature.” 

We are so excited to see this collaboration come to life! Please join us.


ACG Originals: GIVE

Guided by the belief that music can be a powerful catalyst for acceptance, hope, and joy, GIVE is a community concert featuring commissions from local artists, creative projects from students and community members as well as powerful songs from ACG’s Music & Healing program. Thursday, April 29th, 2021 at 7pm CT. Register Online Here. Free, Donations Welcome. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNpKFZcEEpo&list=PL7wuzEY0eIyBn8FozIcwJr4BJOCbNYFxk&index=1

Music has the power to heal, allow emotions to flow freely, and to bring people together. We at ACG feel so grateful for the sincere and deep connections we have been able to make through this boundless medium. Some of our deepest connections have been made through ACG Music & Healing and ACG Education. 

Our final ACG Originals event of the spring season, GIVE, has been curated to present this magic that music can create. 

We have asked local artists, community members, and students to create a video composed of music or art for a loved one in their lives as a gift, a form of appreciation and love, and an expression of beauty. 

We will be featuring artists from ACG’s Music & Healing: Arnold Yzaguirre, Claudia Chapa, John Churchill, and Claire Puckett, as well as Michelle Schumann (piano), the Miró string quartet, Oliver Rajamani (oud), ARCOS (dance), Sunil Gadgil (saxophone), Stephen Krishnan (guitar), The Magnolia Kids, and members of the ACG youth and community ensembles.

We are so excited to see the beauty our community creates in this remarkable event. Please join us! 


CALL AND RESPONSE: A Conversation with Invoke's Zach Matteson

Streamed live from KMFA’s new Draylen Mason Music Studio, the genre-blurring string quartet Invoke alongside wildly creative Thomas Echols will fashion a lush musical journey with guitar, strings, and electronics. Sunday, April 18th, 2021 at 5pm CT. Register Online Here. Free, Donations Welcome.

 

We are so excited to present our first Austin Now event of the Spring 2021 season, CALL AND RESPONSE with Invoke and Thomas Echols, presented in partnership with KMFA, on Sunday, April 18th at 5pm CDT. 

For the Austin Now series our Artistic Director, Joe Williams, has asked outstanding artists from our city to get together and create something beautiful using the collaboration of different mediums in whatever way they feel represents the times we are living in now.  

CALL AND RESPONSE is an exploration into memory, meaning, and the not-so-obvious threads that connect us all over Austin. It was developed in collaboration with members of the community and participants were asked questions about what music means to them. Their responses helped steer the program we will see Sunday.

We got the opportunity to connect with one of the incredible members of Invoke, Zach Matteson, and he shared some beautiful things about his journey as a musician and the journey of Invoke coming together.

“I started the violin at age 5. As I grew up, music was something that was always constant in my life: chamber music with siblings/friends, community choir with my dad in middle school, and eventually community orchestra in high school. In orchestra, I really fell in love with the rush of being completely surrounded by music, creating something together as a group. Maybe it was the “rush” that making music provided (or the fact that nothing else in school had interested me) but I decided to try and get a college degree in music. I went to University of Maryland to get my degree in music performance (for a variety of reasons) and it was there that I met the other members of Invoke during my Junior year.”

“At UMD, we worked with dance choreographer, Liz Lerman, to get the orchestra dancing while performing “Appalachian Spring,” among other things...there was a definite energy in the air of “what’s next?” and “what can we do to subvert expectations.” It was in this environment that Invoke (Nick, Geoff, Karl, and myself) came together. Initially, we started as a straight forward new music quartet, interested in performing works by living composers that we knew, but it quickly developed into the bluegrass crossover/composer collective/new music ensemble/string quartet group that you see today. That “rush” is still there, and I love the fact that it’s something I get to create with my best friends everyday.”

Music has the magical capability of bringing up deep rooted emotions or creating new sensations and feelings depending on the sound, situation, and mood of the piece. We asked Zach how performing music makes him feel when he is alone versus when he is with his colleagues. Zach shared,

“For me, “overwhelm” is the closest word I can think of when playing music. So much is happening on every level of your senses — it’s like a 20 ft. wave of pure feeling that you’re trying to harness into intelligible sounds that someone can comprehend. It can be really intimidating in that way when you’re by yourself (especially when you’re trying to start) but for me the challenge of trying to harness those feelings has been an extremely satisfying endeavor. I think it’s made much easier when you have people around you helping out. That’s probably the reason I enjoy playing chamber music so much, a shared struggle to create something really powerful that can speak to people on every level.”

Invoke’s musical style is described as “not classical but not not classical.” We have been so intrigued by what this means and cannot wait to hear this style in action! Zach addressed our curiosity and shared what that description means for Invoke, 

Everyone in Invoke comes from a “classical” background. We all went to school for western art music, studied western theory, etc...That being said, I think our musical interests extend far beyond that, ranging from Gamelan, to Hair Metal, to Bluegrass, and more. So when we’re writing music together, or individually, we really enjoy highlighting as much of those external influences as possible and we’re not afraid to break out of the traditional “string quartet” mold to do so. If the piece needs Nick to play gamelan for 20 minutes, we’ll do it. If we need all of us on fretted instruments like banjos and mandolins, we’ll do it. But, most of the time, you can see that thread leading back to the “classical” training that we all had so that’s where the “not classical but not not classical” comes from.”

We are so pumped to see this collaboration and deeply thought out creation come to life on April 18th! We hope you can join us and enjoy it just as much as we will! 

RSVP Online Here, Free, Donations Accepted.


PLAY: A Celebration of ACG Education

PLAY celebrates our partner teachers and students who created inspiring works of joy and friendship during a year like no other. We are so proud of this extraordinary concert! If you are inspired by what you see, and would like to contribute to ACG Education, you can Donate Here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toQJCHEm3Ss

ACG Education turned 20 years old this year! It's hard to believe what started in one school in Austin, Texas in 2001 has turned into a movement reaching tens of thousands of young people across the nation and beyond.

We created PLAY to showcase some of the incredible young musicians and alumni from our local programs and several of our partner programs, and to celebrate the beauty and joy of their music-making. 

In a year marked by hardship and challenges, we have been so inspired by the ambition, dedication, and determination of the teachers and students we have the privilege to work with and support. It is a thrill to be able to share the results of their hard work and passion. We hope you enjoy it too!

PLAY: A Celebration of ACG Education originally aired on March 27th, 2021. 

PLAY features music of young artists from Austin (Elijah Melodic Flores, Sydney Piper, Northeast High School Ensemble, Bedichek Middle School, ACG Youth Orchestra and Gardner Betts Juvenile Center), Ohio (McKinley High School and Cleveland Classical Guitar Society), Arizona (Glendale Community College Guitar),  Mexico (Orquesta de Guitarras del Ciclo de Iniciación Musical), and Paraguay (Municipal “Agustín Pio Barrios” de San Juan Bautista de las Misiones) as well as 36 middle and high schools from U.S. and Canada. Also featured are special guests Berta Rojas, Devin Gutierrez, Daniel Fears, Montsho Thoth, Claire Puckett, Claudia Chapa and Arnold Yzaguirre.