Eliot Fisk is one of the most exciting and creative musicians before the public today. Known worldwide for his adventurous repertoire and willingness to take art music into unusual venues (including schools, senior centers, and even logging camps and prisons!), he belongs, as his great mentor Andres Segovia once wrote, “at the top line of our artistic world.”
Eliot Fisk has transformed the repertoire of the classical guitar through his groundbreaking transcriptions including works by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Paganini, Albeniz, etc.; through countless works dedicated to him by composers as varied as Luciano Berio, Leonardo Balada, Robert Beaser, Nicholas Maw, George Rochberg, and Kurt Schwertsik; and through his countless creative collaborations with other musicians in classical, flamenco, jazz, and world-music styles.
Eliot Fisk’s numerous recordings, many of which have even entered the Billboard charts as bestsellers, have introduced much of this repertoire to an international audience and have elicited unqualified praise from musicians, critics, and the public at large. His two most recent CDs, released at the end of 2010 by Wildner Records to international acclaim, include The Red Guitar, featuring new works written for and arranged by Eliot Fisk by Corigliano, Raffman, Beaser, and Rochberg; and Ein Kleines Requiem, which features the world-premiere recording of a new masterpiece by Austrian composer Kurt Schwertsik “written for and with Eliot Fisk.”
In June 2006, by order of King Juan Carlos of Spain, Eliot was awarded the Cruz de Isabel la Catolica for his service to the cause of Spanish music. Earlier recipients of this rarely bestowed honor have included Andres Segovia and Yehudi Menuhin.
Eliot Fisk’s 2008–2009 season included the premieres of two groundbreaking new works: Robert Beaser’s monumental Guitar Concerto (premiered at Zankel Hall in the Carnegie Hall complex in New York with the American Composer’s Orchestra under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies) and his transcription for guitar of John Corigliano’s Red Violin Caprices (described by the composer as a “tour de force”). Further performances of both are planned around the world. He also continues new chamber music collaborations with guitar legend Angel Romero; virtuoso clarinetist Richard Stoltzman; and jazz guitar great Bill Frisell. Eliot’s first joint concert with Bill Frisell in January, 2011 at Denver University’s distinguished Newman Center was a completely sold-out performance with stage sets added to accommodate the crowd. Eliot’s 2011–2012 season includes numerous solo recitals, performances of the Beaser Guitar Concerto on 3 continents, duo recitals with Richard Stoltzman and Bill Frisell, as well as duo appearances in recital and with orchestra with his wife, celebrated guitarist Zaira Meneses.
In addition to his performing career, Eliot Fisk is founder and artistic director of Boston GuitarFest, an annual cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural extravaganza cosponsored by New England Conservatory and Northeastern University. The festival has received warm encouragement from U.S. Senators John Kerry, Scott Brown, and the late Edward Kennedy, as well as from Congressman Barney Frank and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Eliot also has recently discovered the joys of Twitter, where he writes humorous rhymes in 6 languages.
Eliot Fisk was the last direct pupil of Andres Segovia and also studied interpretation with the legendary harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick at Yale University, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 1976.
Described by one New York Times headline as a “Fiery Missionary to the Unconverted,” Eliot Fisk devotes considerable energy to teaching. He is professor at the Universitaet Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where he teaches in 5 languages, and in Boston at New England Conservatory where in 2010 he was awarded the Krasner Prize as “teacher of the year.” His students have come from all corners of the earth. Many have gone on to become world-famous performers and teachers.