Sat. 10/27, Amazing Home, Amazing Music!

I’m so excited about our next Austin Guitar Salon concert featuring fabulous young talent Stephen Krishnan.  It’s Saturday the 27th at 7PM – tickets and information are here.

If you haven’t been to an Austin Guitar Salon event before – then it’s important to know that your ticket includes a wine reception and cheese and other delicious tasty treats from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop!

Check out this amazing home!  Below is a description of the house courtesy of our friends, and partners, at the Heritage Society of Austin.

Special thanks to our generous ongoing Austin Guitar Salon sponsors – The Kinney Company!

The Huron Mills house is an excellent example of Colonial Revival residential architecture. It is a two-story rectangular-plan side-gabled brick Colonial Revival house with a monumental full-height portico supported by paired fluted Ionic columns. Above the front door, a round arched set of French doors opens onto a balcony with ornamental metal railing.

The house was built in 1939 for Huron Weston Mills and his wife Billie Hicks Mills. The couple married in 1922 and moved to Austin the following year. Huron Mills originally worked as a bookkeeper for the Kirkpatrick Lumber Company; Kirkpatrick became the Reinhardt Lumber Company in 1927 and Mills became the secretary/treasurer. In 1928, Mills opened the Cash Lumber Company on Guadalupe Street and acted as manager/secretary/treasurer/proprietor until the building closed in 1957. His was the first lumber company in Austin to operate as a cash-only business. Mills also served as the vice-president, president, and director of the Kiwanis Club in the 1940s.

Huron and Billie Mills sold the house to James and Georgia Neill in 1951. Phillip and Marie Cannon then William and Dorothy Karcher were owners of the home.  The current owners Sabrina & Jay Brown have protected the home with City of Austin Landmark status.


LAGQ in Pictures!

What a night we had!

The LA Guitar Quartet gave us a magnificent opening to our International Concert Series on Saturday.  Here's a few fabulous photos from the evening.  Special thanks to our photographer, Arlen Nydam, for these amazing images!

Things began with a marvelous performance of Mozart and York by McCallum High School's Chamber Ensemble directed by Andrew Clark.  They played beautifully.

You may have noticed that things at ACGS events continue to change.  If you've seen improvements, they are no doubt the result of the efforts of our marvelous event manager Julie Stoakley.  Here's a shot of her latest invention - our lighted concessions tent with items like assorted snacks from AustinNuts, and 6 different varieties of Cake Balls (the Cake Ball sold out).  All concession proceeds benefitted McCallum's guitar program.

The main attraction!  The LAGQ (L-R: Scott Tennant, Matthew Greif, John Dearman, Bill Kanengiser) gave us an incredible performance of music ranging from Jazz and Brazilian to African, to Stravinsky and De Falla.  Wow!

The crowd went wild!  Standing ovation.  For their encore they played one of Scott's arrangements: Farewell to Stromness (Peter Maxwell Davies).

Before their encore, Bill said some very nice things including my favorite quote of the evening that went something like this: "We've been all around and seen a lot of guitar societies... and there are none like the Austin Classical Guitar Society."  Thank you Bill.

And here we are after the show, and before dinner and dessert!  They had worked up an appetite!


LAGQ Program!

Well, they’ve done it again!

The LA Guitar Quartet always has the coolest programs.

They are starting with “Two African Pieces” (Mbira & Djembe) arranged by William Kanengiser and Andrew York, respectively.  Such cool pieces!  I’ve heard them play these before, and it’s a light, rhythmic, wonderful way to start off the show.

Things heat up quickly, though, with a giant Kanengiser arrangement of 6 selections from Stravinky’s “Pulcinella”!  You can always count on Bill to push the boundaries of what classical guitar can do.

The first half speeds to a close with a set of five Brazilian pieces. The composers are Paolo Bellinati, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Heitor Villa-lobos, and Baden Powell.

Listen to the LA Quartet performing a Bach Brandenburg Concerto now!

“On All Fours” by Portland music magician Bryan Johanson (b.1951) begins the second half.  Then we’ll feel the jazz influence of the LAGQ’s newest member Matt Greif with a set of three “Post-Bop” Classics: So What (Miles Davis) Blue in Green (Davis) and Giant Steps (John Coltrane).

And the program ends with 12 vignettes of Manuel de Falla’s iconic “El Amor Brujo” arranged by Bill Kanengiser.

Get your tickets online or give us a call at 512-300-ACGS!  See you there.

Matt

 

P.S. – I thought you might enjoy reading Bill’s program notes on the de Falla.  Here they are, to help prepare you for the magic!

Manuel de Falla was one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 20th century, and despite the fact that he only wrote one very brief piece for guitar, arrangements of his music have become a staple of the guitarist’s repertoire. Some of the most popular are individual movements from his ballet El Amor Brujo, scored originally for full orchestra and mezzo-soprano.

About twenty years ago, I decided to attempt to arrange the entire ballet for four guitars. What is lost in orchestral color is perhaps gained in the authentic gypsy sonority of the guitar, which de Falla in some way was trying to convey in his original. Set in a gypsy camp, the story deals with Candelas, a beautiful young girl, who is being courted by Carmelo. Complicating matters, the spirit of her former lover, a soldier killed in battle, haunts her and the gypsies. The piece opens with a strong theme that represents the jealousy of the ghost. Later, we find ourselves “In the Cave” with a brooding mystery. In “The Song of Sorrowful Love,” Candelas sings of the pain of an unattainable Love. The ghost then flies into the cave and the gypsies launch into “The Dance of Terror”. Striving to rid themselves of the apparition, they join hands around the Fire, and have a séance in the gentle “Magic Circle”. They then try to exorcise the ghost in the furious “Ritual Fire Dance” which ends with insistent chords as they try to stamp the spirit out into the fire. Magic, it seems, cannot break the spell, as the ghost reappears, and Candelas sings of the fleeting nature of Love in “the Song of the Will o’ the Wisp”. It is then that she decides to use love instead of sorcery, and she persuades her friend Lucia to dance a seductive Tango (in 7/8 time) to lure the ghost way. At the end of this “Pantomime” movement, the opening theme of the ghost is just a whisper. This leaves Candelas and Carmelo free to exchange the kiss that will break the spell, as they dance a bulerías in “The Dance of the Game of Love”. In the “Finale” Candelas sings to the ghost: “I am the fire in which you are consumed; I am the sea in which you drown!” As the “Bells of Dawn” peal triumphantly, we find that love, not witchcraft, is the most powerful sorcerer.

- Bill Kanengiser


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FlamencoAustin In Pictures

We had a blast last week at the debut show of FlamencoAustin.  Thanks to master photographer Arlen Nydam, we can share these gorgeous photos of the evening!  If you didn't get to see Grisha play last Thursday, check out this unbelievable and beautiful video taken when we were at KUT.  Grisha plays Paco de Lucia's Bulerias - video by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon.

Two things happened before the show.  In the Kodosky Lounge, we were serving a full, authentic Spanish Dinner prepared by Chef Maria Fernanda Candil.  Here's a glimpse of the tapas spread!

And here's a close-up of one of three different Paellas she made!  Yum!

The dinner was super-popular, and got us in the mood for the entertainment to come!

But that's not all!  Across the way, we had free tapas by Chef Duran of Málaga Tapas and bar, along with a live flamenco performance by Pilar Andújar and her marvelous troupe!  It would have been out on the city terrace, but we moved it up to the west pincer because of the rain!

It's all about the feet!  So marvelous!

Look at all those people!!!  The west pincer was packed.  And folks had a great time.  With the smaller space it was tough getting to the amazing tapas, but the wait was worth it!

Ah, show time.  Here I am introducing Grisha.  See all that black behind me?  It's a curtain.  The big surprise of the evening was that we had 75 kids from 5 schools waiting behind the curtain to play a piece before Grisha took the stage!  Over 1300 in the audience, by the way...

And here they are!  The amazing Travis Marcum, our Director of Education, is conducting.

Hooray!  They played beautifully.  I love this shot, because you can see them all!  One is even waving in the back row!

What can I say?  Grisha is amazing!  He took us away last Thursday with a simply unbelievable performance.

And at the end, Jerome Mouffe came out and the two of them were dazzling.  It's safe to say that their rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" was the most talked-about part of the evening.  People were amazed and amused.  Just transporting!

And here we are post-show and pre-Home Slice Pizza!

Thanks again to Arlen Nydam for these fabulous photos!  See you all Saturday October 6th for LA Guitar Quartet!


Flamenco This Week!

FlamencoAustin is a dream come true.  And it’s this Thursday!

In 16 years presenting guitar I’ve seen just a few transcendent artists I’d call true superstars.  Performers of such extraordinary quality, they are in a class all their own.  Grisha is one of them.

In my teens I spent a summer in Spain.  I’ll never forget the energy, the spectacle, the food, the music and dance of my first flamenco show in Sevilla.

My dream for FlamencoAustin is to bring that rich feast for the senses right here to Austin.

I hope you’ll join us.  Call 512-474-LONG for tickets ($27-$52).

We’ve put together an amazing flamenco party (6:30pm) with free tapas by Málaga Tapas and Bar – chef Alejandro Duran will be there personally serving his famous dishes.  Twin Liquors has selected Spanish wines, and we’ll even have live flamenco music and dance by Pilar Andújar.

We also have a few seats left for the full authentic Spanish dinner, prepared by chef Maria Fernanda Candil, that we’ll serve in the Kodosky Lounge (also 6:30).  Simplify your evening, join us for dinner, and you’ll still have time to check out Pilar’s show on the terrace if you like!

Grisha will take the stage at 8PM in Dell Hall.  I can’t say enough about this supremely gifted guitarist.  Learn more about his program, and see some astonishing videos, here.

FlamencoAustin has been two years in the making.  I can’t wait to share the debut of this series with you Thursday night.  Austin to Andalucía at the speed of sight and sound.

Olé!


FretBuzz is Here!

September, 2012 - Austin

Write for FretBuzz!  Email the Editor.

In this issue:

  • Grisha preview by Miguel Rodriguez (Akins High)
  • Grisha preview by Austin Davenport (Akins High)
  • FretBuzz Exclusive Interview: Jorge Caballero

 

Want to see Grisha on 9/13? Concert info online here.

 

Classical Guitar at its Best, by Miguel Rodriguez

Nowadays there are great guitarists performing on big stages. One in particular is Grisha Goryachev. He is a virtuoso flamenco and classical guitar player. He began to play at the age of six.  Taught by his father, he quickly showed potential on the guitar.  As he got older and practiced more he became a flamenco guitarist - a style that originated in Spain. Grisha was a prodigy who became famous in Russia, then in Europe and now even here in the United States.

I have heard him playing Spanish songs such like Farruca, Panaderos, and Taranta. He has a beautiful and fascinating way of playing his guitar. When you hear him play you can feel he and the guitar as one. His emotions and energy put into his fingers - where they meet with the strings and produce a fantastic sound. His motions with strumming and plucking the guitar are strong. For every song that he plays, you can picture a scene! His notes are clear and his sound is perfect - whether he plays a piece that is loud and piercing or a soothing and quiet song. On top of that he seems strong and confident of playing any piece he is given, he has a great talent for the flamenco style and for playing the classical guitar.

I myself am a guitar player, but not as quite as good as Grisha!  I am proud to say that I and my class – along with several others – will have the opportunity to open for him in the Long Center here in Austin, Texas.  We have been practicing a piece we’ll perform to open for him.  After we play we get to sit back and hear him and his music. I can’t wait to watch him fill the audience with passionate and fun music. Grisha Goryachev is great at what he does and how he does it. A young and confident man such as himself will be a great pleasure to meet.

- Miguel Rodriguez is a freshman at Akins High School.  He began guitar at Fulmore Middle School, and auditioned directly into the advanced class at Akins as a first year high school student.

 

Grisha: Pinnacle of Classical Guitar, by Austin Davenport

Grisha Goryachev represents a pinnacle of classical guitar. The man is a perfect example of what the instrument, and the player, are capable of. When I heard that my ensemble is going to perform with him, I was not only excited for another great performance with a professional, but I was also given the chance of writing about what it's like. Honestly, I can't believe the luck and privilege I have to be able to do this!

If I was to guess who Grisha studied with, I'd say Eliot Fisk. When he performs he gives the same level of separation as Mr. Fisk. They both make it seem as if they are non-existent and only the guitar is performing. Along with that, Grisha just has amazing speed. Turns out I was right, Grisha studied with Mr. Fisk at New England Conservatory of Music.

Grisha is the type of guitarist I wish to be when I get older. The music he plays is strange and abstract, but when you hear it and take it in it fills you with emotion and awe.

My favorite thing, and something he and I actually have in common, is that we don't look at the guitar so much when we perform (though he does a way better job of it)!  He and I like to move and feel the music. He does it in such a way that it seems as if he is a lone member of his own audience, free to move to the music as it moves him (emotionally). He even closes his eyes giving himself a heightened sense of hearing and with it a deeper connection to his music.

I remember the first time I saw a professional guitarist.  His name was Alejandro Cote and he was a Caribbean guitarist that played some flamenco pieces. The speed and emotion he was able to project amazed me. My eyes had a hard time just watching and trying to keep up with and it all made me very curious about that style of guitar.

I’ve practiced a lot since then, and the more I practice the more anxious I get. In my mind I'm always asking myself if I'm there yet, at that level of skill - slowly but surely my skill is increasing. However, I know I can push myself more still. I myself can count the number of years I've been playing on one hand, and if I'm going to get to the same level as these titans of guitar, I'm going to need years more of intense practice.

I actually had the pleasure and honor of not only attending, but opening up for, an Eliot Fisk show. He completely blew us out of the water, though he probably didn't do it on purpose. That night I was studying his technique and his hand movements.  He really showed me that I have a long journey ahead of me with the instrument. I can't say that I will make it to the point where I can play that same Paganini Caprice, but I will say that it is a goal of mine to reach that level of skill someday.

- Austin Davenport is a senior at Akins High School.  A third-year guitar student, currently in the advanced ensemble, Austin was a member of a select group of students that performed in KMFA’s “Kids Recording Kids” this past summer.


Brasil Guitar Duo Wrap Up

What a show!  The Brasil Guitar Duo took us to so many places Friday night – and in the best way.  From their opening tango Zita (by Piazzolla, on you tube) they changed direction and played a stunning Rameau arrangement by Joao Luis before heading back to the 20th century with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s C# minor Prelude and Fugue.  The rest of the evening’s music was from Brazil, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t tremendously varied.  We saw tons of speed, lots of accent and rhythmic drive, but we also heard tremendous depth throughout.  A Fala da Paixao by Gismonti, toward the end of the concert, had the audience of about 600 totally captivated.

In fact their second to last selection - also Gismonti – Forrobodo, was so spectacular that many in the audience thought the concert was over!  They received an exuberant standing ovation, along with several bouquets of flowers.  They left the stage at that point, and came back out to play their final, programmed piece, as their encore!

Here are a few choice shots from photographer Arlen Nydam.

The duo arrived on Friday late-morning from New York.  We grabbed a quick lunch (cheeseburgers from Five Guys) and headed over to KUT radio for a live performance on Michael Crockett’s Horizontes on KUT 90.5FM.  They had just a few hours in their hotel, before heading over the UT’s Bates Recital Hall to warm up.  Here they are trying out the hall (which they loved!).

Each year for the past 5 or so years, it’s been my pleasure to work with my dear friend Michelle Schumann and her fabulous Austin Chamber Music Center.  Their marvelous summer festival is just getting under way – so be sure and check out the great stuff still to come!  Here we are doing our little pre-concert comedy routine!

The concert was truly superb.  Michelle and I brought the BGD here three years ago, and we were excited to have them back again.  Their performance Friday showed us just how good they really are.  From their original compositions and new arrangements, to their fantastic music-making overall, we, and our audience, were overjoyed.  Here’s a shot of the standing ovation.


Brasil Guitar Duo - Matt's preview!

What makes the Brasil Guitar Duo great?

My top four are fresh invention, crisp rhythm and articulation, authentic Brazilianness (Brazilianity?), and outright speed and power.

Friday 7:30PM, Bates Recital Hall (UT).  Tix ($25) online or 300-ACGS.

Invention

The BGD does their own thing.  Friday their program is largely music of their native Brazil – 7 of the 9 selections.  Of the 9 pieces, 4 of them are new arrangements by the BGD including one I’m particularly excited to hear: a baroque gem by the great, expressive French master Jean Philippe Rameau.  While a video of them playing the Rameau is not yet available online (you’ll just have to settle for the real thing!), you can get a taste of their baroque interpretation in this performance of the Gigue from Bach’s French Suite No. 3.  I will now jump the gun and say that, if you watch this video, pay special attention to the crisp Rhythm and Articulation (I know, next topic area) in this performance – it’s fantastic! – it makes the performance really pop.

Rhythm and Articulation

As you now know, I’d recommend starting with a good listen to the Bach performance above to get a sense of their drive, their fastidious articulation… Wait, what do I mean by articulation?  I mean the length of the notes they play, the manner in which those notes are attacked, and how that affects the rhythm, stress, and cadence of their music-making.  Listen to the very first two melody notes of the Bach performance about 3-4 times.  Just the first two notes.  What do you hear?  The first note is exceptionally short and the second feels longer and heavier.  The second feels longer and heavier in part because of its volume, accent and length, and in part because we hear it relative to the short note that precedes it.  The result?  Rhythmic clarity!  And they do that, intentionally, all the time!

Authenticity

These two rock the Brazilian!  Over 130,000 have watched this phenomenal performance of Egberto Gismonti's Sete Aneis.  It just makes you feel so good.  Anyone who saw Yamandú Costa’s unbelievable performance for us in April will recall the humor, the drive, the energy, the beauty – all coexisting, indeed thriving, in his Brazilian selections.  On Friday, the BGD will present a range of Brazilian selections from relatively formal to relatively pop.

Speed and Power

That was certainly a hallmark of Yamandú’s concert.  In fact, every guitar concert is made just a touch better with a healthy dose of speed and power, wouldn’t you agree?  Check out this exciting tango performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Zita that’s been enjoyed by over 90,000 music-lovers online, and you’ll get a sense of what these guys can do!

We’re in for quite a ride, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Our presentation of the Brasil Guitar Duo is in collaboration with the Austin Chamber Music Center – in the middle of their award-winning summer chamber music festival – and is generously sponsored by Michael and Carol Fields.  Our summer series media sponsors are Time Warner YNN and KUT 90.5.  Our hotel sponsor is the Radisson Town Lake.


Laguna Gloria: Interview with Judith Sims

“Laguna Gloria is a place where people create memories; it is so special.”

- Judith Sims, Senior Director of Education, Art School & Laguna Gloria Site Director

 

All great projects we’ve engaged with here at ACGS have had many parts and have been possible thanks to many collaborators.  For our June 22nd screening of 1927 Lon Chaney silent masterpiece “The Unknown” with live, original film score (tix), our partners are the Alamo Drafthouse and AMOA-Arthouse.

Lately I’ve been sharing 7 vignettes about one of the brilliant musicians who is creating the film score.  But ever since our inspiring production walk-through of the gorgeous lakeside Laguna Gloria estate and grounds – where we’ll show the movie for 500 with multi-course feast and wine-pairings – I really wanted a chance to share stories about that unique Austin treasure.

There is no one better to ask than Judith Sims, Senior Director of Education, Art School & Laguna Gloria Site Director, who has been at Laguna Gloria for more then thirty years.  She was kind enough to share some memories and insights with me.

Matthew Hinsley: We at ACGS are very excited about this project, but it's not the first time movies have been shown at Laguna Gloria right?  Could you share a memorable movie project?

Judith Sims: Films were shown regularly at Laguna Gloria from 1973 to 1988. We hosted everything from highly experimental European avant-garde cinema, to a retrospective of American independent film icon Stan Brakhage, to thematic series on Dashiel Hammet, Hardboiled Detectives, Women Film Directors, and Comedies of Remarriage. We co-sponsored film series with the Austin Film Society, the UT/RTF Department, Cinema Texas, and a host of other film groups.

MH: In walking the path to the lower grounds where we'll show the movie, we passed a number of interesting and historic items including the gazebo and the gate and archway - could you tell me a bit about what people can expect to see on their journey to see this movie?

JS: Laguna Gloria was conceived by Texas Legend Clara Driscoll - noted philanthropist, cattlewoman, Democratic politician and gardener - who gained national fame as “the savior of the Alamo” (which she bought to rescue it from commercialization in 1903). As a passionate gardener and lover of antiquity, she was heavily influenced by her European travels. Laguna Gloria is laid out in accord with late 19th and early 20th landscape aesthetics: the upper grounds represent the beautiful (balanced, open visits, formal); the path to the point and lower grounds represent the picturesque (asymmetrical, mysterious, non-linear, rustic). The Path to the Point was called Lovers Lane by Driscoll and ended with a “folly” or Greek Temple, another nod to classical European garden features. Originally, before the Tom Miller Dam was built one could boat from downtown to the shores of Laguna Gloria, landing at this small Temple with its original State Capitol gates, and promenade on the winding path up to the Villa.

MH: What is your personal story at Laguna Gloria?  How long have you been there, do you have a particularly fond memory you'd like to share?

JS: I like to say that Laguna Gloria is a place where people create memories; it is so special. I have many memories myself having been here for over 30 years: people doing Tai Chi, dance and music performances in the amphitheatre, once with a real Venetian gondola gliding by on the night of a full moon. And, of course, the re-opening of Laguna Gloria after its restoration in 2003 was a magical event.

MH: What do you wish everyone knew about Laguna Gloria?

JS: Not only is it an official national treasure, but it’s an active site for learning (The Art School) and viewing art, as well as a unique natural site:

- It mirrors different U.S. regions (shoreline, prairies, woodlands and uplands)

- LG as a gateway to the Hill Country is an apt metaphor that acknowledges its interlocking of eastern and western plants and animals, as well as typifying the north-south migratory bird flyway along Texas’ rivers.

- Over 150 bird species have been sighted, especially migratory waterfowl.


Avers in Austin: Meeting (part 1 of 7)

Welcome to my 7-part series, about Randy Avers.  Randy is one half of the fabulous duo, Les Frères Méduses, who are writing and performing the original, live film score for us that will be performed on June 22nd to open our summer series.  Info here.

When the Alamo’s Tim League asked me about creating an original film score for one of his favorite silent films (“The Unknown,” 1927, Dir. Tod Browning), I knew that no other duo on the planet was more perfect for the task than Randy (who is based now in Norway) and his amazing French duo partner Benoît Albert.  Randy and I went to college together and I wanted to share a few stories.

###

Meeting (part 1 of 7)

Randy and I met in fall 1993.  I was 17.  He had transferred to Oberlin Conservatory as a sophomore and completely rocked my world.

Sometimes in concert, when I’m talking about one of my favorite pieces – a piece he introduced me to – I am fond of saying that up until the day we met, I was the best guitarist I had ever met!  It’s not true, of course, but in my own little world – apart from my teachers – I had not ever seen truly transcendent playing by a young person.  And that meant I was a very big fish in the little pond of my imagination.

Randy changed all that – and in the best way.

A year or two before, Randy – at 17 – had become the youngest-ever finalist in the world’s most prestigious international guitar competition – The Guitar Foundation of America.  He took second that year.  And when he arrived at Oberlin, it was like a whole new world of music and excellence came rushing into my world along with him.

That “piece” I mentioned above is the Elegy by Johann Kaspar Mertz.  One of my all-time favorites.  The first time I actually cried in a concert hall listening to music was the first time I heard Randy play it. I like to joke that I’m not sure if I was crying from how beautiful his playing was, or how freaked out Matt the 17-year-old guitarist was at seeing such fabulousness on the guitar!

Randy became one of my greatest friends and inspirations.  He was a groomsman at my wedding, and I at his.  He’s been, many times, to Austin over the years to the great delight of all who have heard him.  And we remain incredibly close in spite of the Atlantic Ocean and vast expanses of land between us.

(read part 2 of this series...)