Dedicated to Bruce Holzman
Professor of Guitar at the Florida State University, has been Director of the Guitar Program since 1972. Holzman's students have won many prestigious prizes in competitions worldwide, a partial list includes winners in: Guitar Foundation of America Solo/Duo Competition, Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artists Competition (12), Alirio Diaz Competition of Caracas, Venezuela, Toronto International Festival Competition, Concours Internationale de Guitare of Paris, France, Incontri Chitarristici de Gargnano, Italy, Columbus State Guitar Symposium, Lachine International Guitar Competition, Montreal, Canada, Boston Guitarfest Competition, and Rantucci International Competition. Many of his students hold teaching positions at prominent Universities, Colleges and High Schools. These include, but not limited to: Stetson University, Kennesaw College, University of New Mexico, University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Texas, Austin, University of Texas, San Antonio, East Carolina University, Columbus State University, Montgomery Alabama Magnet Schools.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 18th Boston GuitarFest, administered for the second year in a row by the Eliot Fisk Guitar Academy, Zaira Meneses, President.
We are extremely excited to present this celebration of the sacred art of music, heard through the medium of its noble ambassador, the classical guitar and sister instrument, the renaissance lute.
This year’s theme is “Transformation”, and, as millions of people all around the world will attest, the guitar is an instrument that transforms us all. Its beauty can be hard to catch and hold, but even its many difficulties compel us to grow, change, and adapt and in the process become something better than we were.
I am very proud of our 2023 BGfest guest artists, who include the renowned, Grammy winning, Sharon Isbin, who will open our master class series, the extraordinary lutenist, Nigel North, and the eminent guitar virtuosi, Jorge Caballero and Gohar Vardanyan. I myself will be playing selections from the soon- to- be- released double CD of my transcriptions of the Bach Cello Suites among other works.
In addition, the world’s preeminent Bach scholar, my beloved friend and esteemed colleague, Christoph Wolff, joins us online from Germany, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Bach’s move to Leipzig. Nigel North will offer a unique tripartite Baroque Workshop exploring basso continuo, ornamentation and rhetoric.
Boston GuitarFest XVIII will take place in a unique pair of newly renovated venues located near to one another in Boston’s famous Cambridge neighborhood, home to Harvard and MIT. These new venues are: the Multicultural Arts Center and The Foundry, inspiring spaces that will transform the BGFest experience, taking us out of our familiar academic environment and putting us into some new experimental spaces.
Of course none of this would be possible without our terrific EFGA team: Zaira Meneses, David Malvinni, Maurice Liu, Julimar Alarcon, and Carlos Trujillo or our equally great Gfest faculty: Adam Levin, Jerome Mouffe, Lautaro Mantilla, Zhenqi Min, Bruce Holzman, Scott Borg, and the YGW team including Ceili Connors, Thatcher Harrison and Alex Romanov.
We invite you to join us on this marvelous journey, or, as Shakespeare says: “If music be the food of love, play on!”.
Eliot Fisk, 2023
Artistic Director, Boston GuitarFest
Every effort will be made to maintain BGFest XVIII as described herewith, but programs may be subject to change in response to circumstances beyond control of the Festival.
Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Sharon Isbin was named the 2020 Musical America Worldwide Instrumentalist of the Year, the first guitarist ever to receive the coveted honor in its 59-year award history. Hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time”, she is the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s Best Classical Guitarist award, Germany’s Echo Klassik, Concert Artists Guild’s Virtuoso Award, the Toronto and Madrid Queen Sofia competitions, and the first guitarist to win the Munich ARD Competition. Isbin has appeared as soloist with over 200 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in many of the world’s finest halls across 40 countries, including New York’s Carnegie and Geffen Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Argentina’s Teatro Colón, and Madrid’s Teatro Real. She has served as Artistic Director and soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall and the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), New York’s 92NY, and the national radio series Guitarjam. More : https://www.sharonisbin.com/biography.html
Wednesday, June 28th
Guitarist Eliot Fisk is known worldwide as a charismatic performer famed for his adventurous and virtuosic repertoire. He is also celebrated for his willingness to take art music into unusual venues (schools, senior centers, and even logging camps and prisons!). After nearly 50 years before the public he remains as his mentor Andres Segovia once wrote, "at the top line of our artistic world."
In the 2017-18 season Fisk continues to break new ground for the guitar with marathon performances of his transcriptions of all 6 Bach solo cello Suites, duo performances with guitar legend Angel Romero and with a new trio formed with virtuoso guitarists Joaquin Clerch and Aniello Desiderio.
The long awaited release of Robert Beaser’s monumental guitar Concerto (dedicated to Eliot Fisk) on LINN records in 2017 elicited rave reviews online and in print. In the spring of 2017, Eliot Fisk premiered Son Dementes Cuerdas with the famed Arditti String Quartet with performances on two continents culminating in a performance at Wigmore Hall in London in a concert also featuring the Sequenza XI for solo guitar composed for and dedicated to Eliot Fisk by Luciano Berio.
Eliot Fisk has performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Rochester Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Pro Arte Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and many others. He returns regularly to major concert series such as Stanford Lively Arts, Spivey Hall (Atlanta), Duke University Performances, Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver; Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the 92nd Street Y in NYC, Da Camera Society of Houston, Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, San Francisco Chamber Music; Segovia Series at Pick-Staiger Hall at Northwestern University; Jordan Hall, Boston; Orange County Performing Arts Center; Brahms, Mozart and Schubert Saal (Vienna); Mozarteum Grosser Saal (Salzburg); Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London) and at numerous guitar festivals such as those of Cordoba, Spain; Belgrade, Serbia; and Iserlohn, Bad Aibling and Hersbrueck, Germany.
Eliot Fisk has performed with a dizzying array of chamber music colleagues including flutist,Paula Robison; clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman; cellist Yehuda Hanani; violinists Ruggiero Ricci, Gidon Kremer and Joshua Bell, the Shanghai, Juilliard, Miro, Borromeo and Arditti String Quartets.
He has invented numerous cross over projects with among others Paco Peña (flamenco guitar); Joe Pass and Bill Frisell (jazz guitar) chanteuse, Ute Lemper and Turkish music specialist, Burhan Öçal.
The repertoire of the classical guitar has been transformed through Fisk’s innumerable transcriptions (including works by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Paganini, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Granados, Albeniz and many others). In addition, numerous new works have been dedicated to him by composers as varied as Leonardo Balada, Robert Beaser, Luciano Berio, Ralf Gawlick, Nicholas Maw, George Rochberg, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Kurt Schwertsik.
Eliot Fisk remains a prolific recording artist. Recent releases include Ralf Gawlick’s Kollwitz Konnex for soprano and guitar (Musica Omnia) Anthony Paul de Ritis’s Pop Concerto with Gil Rose leading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, a pair of CDs of new music dedicated to and transcribed by Fisk of works by Beaser, Corigliano, Schwertsik, and Rochberg (Wildner Records) and duo discs with flamenco legend, Paco Peña (on Nimbus Records) and cellist, Yehuda Hanani (Albany Records).
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, and where, directly following his own graduation in 1977, he founded the guitar department at the Yale School of Music.
Described by one New York Times headline as a “Fiery Missionary to the Unconverted”, Eliot Fisk is Professor at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where he teaches in 5 languages, and in Boston at the New England Conservatory where in 2010 he received the Krasner Award as “Teacher of the Year.”
In June 2006, King Juan Carlos of Spain, awarded Eliot the “Cruz de Isabel la Católica” for his service to the cause of Spanish music. Earlier recipients of this honor have included Andres Segovia and Yehudi Menuhin.
Eliot Fisk is Founder and Artistic Director of Boston GuitarFest (www.bostonguitarfest.org) an annual cross-disciplinary event co- sponsored by the New England Conservatory and Northeastern University and now entering its 13th consecutive year. In 2017 he created and served as Artistic Director of the first ever and immensely successful Salzburg Guitar Fest at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg.
In summer of 2014 he toured China performing with his wife, classical guitarist, Zaira Meneses, and the couple’s young daughter, pianist, Raquel Fisk.
Friday, June 30th
Critics from international newspapers and guitar publications have praised Mr. Caballero’s depth of musicality, as well as his technical mastery when tackling the unique difficulties of his concert repertoire. Aside from the standard guitar literature he performs –which spans centuries of music from the Renaissance until the present, Mr. Caballero is notorious for adapting and performing masterworks originally written for piano or orchestra, among which we find Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite and Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata Op. 1 to name a few. One critic in Italy referred to Mr. Caballero as “standing on top of the repertoire’s Mount Everest,” while the New York Times called him “a masterly guitarist” with “chameleonic timbres.” More https://www.jorgecaballeroguitarist.com/bio
Saturday, July 1st
Widely admired for her technique, artistry, and passionate performances Armenian-American guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States and internationally. She has performed for numerous guitar societies, universities, and arts organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and guitar societies in Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, and New York City to name a few. She has appeared on National Public Radio in the United States and Radio Nacional in Argentina. Ms. Vardanyan has performed with the Juilliard Opera Center and as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a guest artist at International Guitar Festivals in Sweden, Italy, Panama, Canada, and Mexico. She has been featured on the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine. Guitar International Magazine has described her as “the complete package,” “with a musicality and emotional quality . . . that one would expect from someone much older than the young wunderkind. Not only is she able to draw you into her performances with engaging musical interpretations, but she has the technical facility that is required of any concert level guitarist.” Her playing has been described as “passionate,” “evocative,” and “virtuosic.”
Thursday, June 29th
British lutenist Nigel North has been sharing music with audiences for nearly 30 years. His quiet and gentle personality goes, literally, "hand in hand" with his choice of instrument; the lute is one of the most gentle, subtle yet technically demanding of "ancient" instruments. Through this medium, as soloist, accompanist and ensemble musician, Nigel has inspired appreciation from concert public and recording listeners with comments such as :
"North's playing has a freedom and expression rivaling the best jazz musicians"
"An amalgam of scholarship, respect, love and high instrumental ability."
"Lute plucked to perfection. . . perhaps he is the greatest performer of this instrument of all time"
"stunning - rich, warm, resonant and utterly musical"
Nigel North has also always adored teaching. Following many years of committed teaching in Europe (in London, Berlin and Den Haag) Nigel has since 1999 been Professor of Lute in the "Early Music Institute" at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA from where he continues his varied life as performer and teacher.
Friday, June 30th – Sunday, July 2nd
101 Rogers St
41 Second St
BGFest XVIII welcomes auditors to attend BGFest workshops, masterclasses, and events through Zoom. All event recordings are also available for up to 30 days. CONCERTS NOT INCLUDED!
@ The Foundry, The Point
@ The Foundry, Community Hall
@ The Foundry, Steam Set
@ The Foundry
@ Multicultural Arts Center - Main Hall
@ The Foundry
@ Multicultural Arts Center - Main Hall
@The Foundry, The Point!
@ Multicultural Arts Center - Main Hall
@The Foundry, Shop 6
A TANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE
Boston GuitarFest was founded by Eliot Fisk, Zaira Meneses, and Steve Lin at the New England Conservatory of Music in 2006. Since its inception, it has aimed to become an international, cross disciplinary, outward-looking festival.