Yuri and I recently got together in my studio to play guitars, talk shop, and brainstorm advice to share with Six String Journal readers. Originally, we were going to post a list of tips and common mistakes guitarists of all levels should watch out for but there is so much valuable insight in what I recorded – from the warm up exercises below, to learning new repertoire, and more – that I’m simply going to post it as an interview next time. Perhaps a formal podcast is up next but in the meantime this will certainly keep everyone’s fingers busy.
Here is Yuri demonstrating one of his favorite warm up exercises (and the music) with videos of him playing it in various ways.
This next video, he demonstrates what he likes to do before building up to the exercise above. Notice that he plays through the scale with i, m, a, and c, before moving onto im and am.
Here is true gold, Yuri works on extensors and ami, too.
And, finally, here is Yuri commenting on balance and tone.
Hope that inspires everyone!
I had the pleasure of taking both my boys to a private concert given by the phenomenal young Thai classical guitarist, Ekachai Jearakul, last spring just south of San Francisco. We drove through monsoon like rains and wind to get to a house sitting on the edge of the pacific ocean. It was worth it. The concert was hosted by Richard Patterson, the director of the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts and their Dynamite Guitar Series for the supporters of the series.
The highlights of the concert were performances of a seldom heard but highly captivating piece by Leo Brouwer titled Rito de los Orishas about the invocation of voodoo gods, several Luigi Legnani Caprices that displayed a Paganini-like virtuosity, and a piece dedicated to Ekachai by Welsh composer Stephen Goss titled Sonata Capriccioso.
Keep an eye out for his performances. They are exciting and worth watching!
This is the first Artist Spotlight piece where I hope to share a bit of news about very high level guitarists, highlight some of their videos, and point you in the right direction to explore their musical world.
The first artist I’d like to feature is Spanish guitarist, Ricardo Gallén. I met Ricardo briefly in 1999 at a guitar festival in Granada. He was teaching masterclasses as Eliot Fisk’s assistant and while I played for Eliot in that festival, I realize now that I missed an immense learning opportunity by not having taken a class from Ricardo!
Ricardo Gallén has been praised by countless great musicians, critics, and colleagues as a supreme virtuoso with an intense and wide-ranging musical intellectuality. The great Cuban composer and conductor, Leo Brouwer, has said that Gallén possesses, “great creativity and virtuosity that is felt only by looking at his hands.” Besides performing and teaching all over the world to high acclaim, he is becoming known for his recordings and performances of music by Johann Sebastian Bach and in particular, his lute suites.
For a long time, the standard recording of the great John Williams was the required listening as an introduction to these works but I would venture to say that Ricardo Gallén’s recording holds equal footing on many levels and perhaps even surpasses it in his highly nuanced and stylistic interpretations. Another strength that Ricardo possesses is his range in interpreting music from the great classical period guitar composers, Mauro Giuliani, Fernando Sor, to premiering new contemporary works by composers like Leo Brouwer.
Here is Ricardo’s webpage and his Facebook page for more current news on his musical activities. Below are some links to his recordings and a few beautifully filmed videos. Hope this inspires you all!
Winner of many of the top guitar competitions, French guitarist Thomas Viloteau needs no introduction to all of you following the younger generation of highly gifted classical guitarists.
Here is a video where Thomas talks about the subtleties in playing a pimami in Mauro Giuliani’s Etude 5, Nº48 (sheet music link). For those of you who do not speak french, I find that speeding up the video to read the subtitles is a quick way to get a great lesson in a fraction of the time!
In the following video, he discusses various techniques for enabling and disabling resonances on the guitar.
And in this last one, he talks about SPEED!
Hope that inspires you all. Thomas has a great dvd and cd and you can visit his website thomasviloteau.com and find out more about what he is up to. I’m going there right now to purchase his book on technique!
If given three wishes, I think one would be to play flamenco like Grisha.
I remember searching out Grisha’s posts when Eliot Fisk’s wife, and phenomenal guitarist in her own right, Zaira Meneses showed me a video of Grisha playing Enteban Sanlucar’s Panaderos. I was floored.
Lucky for us, here he is demonstrating some useful scale tips.
And, here is that video of him playing Sanlucar’s Panaderos:
Part 2 of Modes coming soon….
YouTube is both a blessing and a curse. Among thousands of videos not worth watching, there are a few gems waiting for discovery. I’m hoping to add video tutorials on the elementary pieces that my students enjoy playing after they’ve finished the KinderGuitar curriculum. In the meantime, I’ll share some great videos I’ve discovered after being trapped in the YouTube world a few weeks ago. If you are still developing your technique, watch them over and over. If you are far along, there are still wonderful moments of insight to extract. I watched most of them in one sitting at 1.5x speed, taking notes, and sipping coffee. These videos come from Russian guitarist Andrey Parfinovich. He’s done the guitar world a great service when he decided to film his lessons with the masters!
Pepe Romero on left hand technique:
Pepe Romero on rest stroke technique:
Pepe Romero on tremolo:
Pepe Romero on rasgueado:
I just stumbled across this video of phenomenal guitarist Marcin Dylla talking about Carcassi’s Etude 7. The real treat for students is that he plays it at the end of the video and manages to raise it from the status of a mere etude to a mini-masterpiece.