Boston GuitarFest History
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 and has presented an astonishing variety of events including individual lessons, master classes, seminars, lectures, outreach performances in unusual venues, performances with myriad chamber music formations and with full orchestra as well as solo guitar, and annual competitions for guitar performance and for composition. Boston GuitarFest has commissioned major works for solo guitar, guitar and orchestra and guitar in chamber music from some of the most eminent composers of today including Leo Brouwer, Robert Beaser, and Kurt Schwertsik.
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.