Adrien Brogna is only 22 years old, still studying in the class of Odair Assad at the Royal Conservatory of Mons, Belgium, when he is recommended to accompany the American soprano Dawn Upshaw at the Festival de Saint-Denis. There follows a tour in the United States via the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, in England, in Scotland and in Greece at the prestigious Pallas Theatre.
Adrien Brogna graduates with Great Distinction in 2008. He founds with Hughes Kolp and Magali Rischette the Alki Guitar Trio who records two albums – ALKI and CORPUS – for GHA.
An astonishing duo of eight-string Romantic guitars born from his collaboration with Raphaella Smits and an album recorded for Soundset Recordings in 2014 allows them concerts in the United States, Thailand, and Europe.
Adrien Brogna played with the National Orchestra of Spain, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Royal de chambre de Wallonie. He worked under the direction of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Augustin Dumay and Guy Van Waas.
In addition to his performances on the Romantic guitar, recent commitments have made him open to music inspired by jazz in LUZ DA LUA, a duo with the Belgian bassist André Klenes.
After being awarded a Gold Medal in the class of François Castet, Alexandre Bernoud studied with Alberto Ponce at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris where he achieved his Diplôme Supérieur d’Exécution as a soloist. Encouraged by several prizes won at international competitions, Alexandre Bernoud became a familiar face at major music festivals, mainly in France, his home country. He is a totally committed artist who runs the gamut of musical experience. In 1990 he created, with his wife Florence, the Duo de Guitares de Lyon. They were unanimously awarded first prize at the UFAM’s 1993 International Competition in Paris. In 2000 he recorded the complete works for guitar of Juan Manuel Cortes, a number of which were dedicated to him. Then, following an encounter with Colombian composer Jaime Cordoba, Alexandre Bernoud created the Quatuor Cordoba, recording pieces by Cordoba himself, Federico Moreno Torroba, Paulo Bellinati, Roland Dyens and Georges Bizet.
Alexandre Bernoud now divides up his time between his concert performances and his work as the head of the Conservatoire de Musique in Saint-Chamond.
Alki Guitar Trio brings together Magali Rischette, Hughes Kolp and Adrien Brogna since 2008. They met while studying at the Conservatoire Royal de Mons, Belgium, with Brazilian virtuoso Odair Assad of whom Hughes was one of the assistants – his album Ritmata had just been released at GHA Records.
Since their debuts they bring to the still restricted repertoire of the guitar trio new pieces – written for them or transcribed by themselves – to which the combination of their six, seven and ten strings guitars confers a particular sound relief.
Their trio is named after « ALKI », the second movement of Suite Seattle written for them by Kevin Callahan. « ALKI » is also the title of their first album released in 2011.
CORPUS, the Alki Guitar Trio second recording, released in November 2015, brings together their arrangements of compositions by Granados, Albéniz, de Falla et Turina.
Badi Assad was born in Sao Joao da Boa Vista, a small town in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She started playing the guitar when she was fourteen, inspired and coached by her father and her two brothers, the world renowned “Sérgio and Odair Assad”. After just one year of studies she already managed to secure a place in the ‘Concurso Internacional de violao Villa-Lobos’ in Rio de Janeiro. In the following year she was chosen to represent Brazil in the ‘Concurso Vina del Mar’ in Chile. Later she was invited by the Belgian guitarist Françoise-Emmanuelle Denis to perform as a duo on period instruments (guitars from the 19th century), touring abroad for the first time.
In 1989 Badi recorded her debut album ‘Dança dos Tons’, where she began incorporating her voice into her music. It being a critical success lead her to being chosen, out of two hundred women, to interpret the lead vocal for the musical ‘Mulheres de Hollanda’, which features songs written by the remarkable Brazilian composer Chico Buarque. Being a restless soul, she subsequently dived into the world of mouth percussion (Bob McFerrin, Pigmeus People, etc.) and slowly began incorporating it into her music. Badi Assad has developed an absolutely unique style which has eradicated the boundaries between singer and guitar player.
In 1993 she signed a contract with the American label Chesky Records and completed three Compact Discs: ‘Solo’ (1994), ‘Rhythm’ (1995) and ‘Echoes of Brasil’ (1997). In 1994 she was chosen among the 100 best artists by ‘Guitar Player’ magazine. She was voted ‘best finger style guitar player’ in 1995 and in that same year her CD ‘Rhythm’ was voted ‘best classical CD’ (not classical music, but played in a classic guitar… close enough!), again by ‘Guitar Player’ magazine.
In 1998 she released ‘Chameleon’, with e.i. music/Polygram, which brought her enormous success amongst critics and public worldwide. In Germany Badi was awarded ‘Best World Music Album of the Year’ and in Spain her song ‘Waves’ charted in the top 10 for weeks. In its anniversary edition the American magazine ‘Acoustic Guitar’ chose Badi Assad among the ‘30 more expressive artists’ of the decade.
Badi has performed to rave reviews throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South America and Canada. She has appeared at some of the most important musical festivals including the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and JVC Festival, Lilith Fair and Farm Aid in the US.
After having recorded the album ‘Nowhere’ featuring Jeff Young, Marcos Suzano (Sting), Tony Franklin (Red Snake) and Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, Macy Gray), Badi Assad has gone into the studios with American guitar players John Abercrombie and Larry Coryell for her former label Chesky Records. This CD was released in July 2003 and it includes the successful song ‘Waves’ that featured in the soundtrack of the movie ‘It runs in the family’.
When Leo Brouwer asked me recently if I’d ever thought of reissuing my first album Dança dos tons which first came out in Brazil in 1989, I mentioned it to the GHA label and they were very enthusiastic about it. In addition they suggested that I should smooth the transition between the musician I was at the time, and the artist I have since become, by recording four new songs, a blend of voice and guitar recorded with natural acoustics, something I had not done for a long time.
In fact there are fourteen years between these songs and the eight pieces taken from the first recording, which also took place in August, in that same city of São Paulo where I was living at the time and where I returned to live a short while ago. It was very emotional remembering how I chose the repertoire, going for works with plenty of character, inspired by folk music, written by classical composers (Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens and Sérgio Assad), pieces to which I then decided to add percussion and sound effects. It was also on this occasion that I timidly allowed my own voice to be heard.
For the concert celebrating the release of this album, none of the musicians who had taken part in it were available, not even my father. However, the various sound effects were such a fundamental part of my music that it was unthinkable to perform without these sounds. Then suddenly the inspiration was born to start imitating the sounds with my voice, never for a moment suspecting that I was creating a new style, one which was to become my own. It was a fascinating time as I began to train my voice, and eventually it enabled me to find my own niche in a madly competitive world.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Carolina is a natural singer with a very colorful and expressive voice, which is well suited to Brazilian music. Although she showed great musical skills from childhood, she decided to study physiotherapy at the Centro Universitário Moacyr Bastos in Rio de Janeiro, where she graduated in 2002. During her university years, Carolina joined the school’s symphonic choir, where her beautiful and natural voice found a renaissance. As a member of the choir she appeared in prominent concert halls in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In 2000, she joined the chamber choir Madrigal Moacyr Bastos and has frequently appeared as their soloist. She joined, in 2008, the vocal sextet BeBossa. This a cappella ensemble from Rio de Janeiro – which cultivates sophisticated sonorities making Brazilian Pop music with jazz and blues influences – released a recording, in 2009, at SaladeSom Records. Since 2003, Carolina has been a part of the Assad Family ensemble, originally in a septet, a unique ensemble of three generations of a same family who released the DVD A Moment of Pure Love and the CD A Brazilian Songbook at GHA Records in 2006. As of 2011, the Assad Family has been touring as a quintet in Europe and in the USA. In this ensemble Carolina sings along with her uncle and her father, Sergio and Odair Assad (guitars), her aunt Badi Assad (vocals, guitar and percussion) and her cousin Clarice Assad (vocals and piano).
From the very beginning, Costas Cotsiolis has dedicated himself to the interpretation of music by Greek composers presenting it on international stages and including it in his recordings. For some time now, he has been impassioned by the works of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and has become one of the definitive interpreters of his music.
Classical guitarist David Russell is world renowned for his superb musicianship and inspired artistry, having earned the highest praise from audiences and critics alike. In recognition of his great talent and his international career, he was named a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music in London in 1997.
In May 2003 he was bestowed the great honor of being made “adopted son” of Es Migjorn, the town of Menorca where he grew up.
During his studies at the Royal Academy, Mr. Russell won twice the Julian Bream Guitar Prize and received a scholarship from the Ralph Vaughan William Trust. Later he won numerous international competitions, including the Andrés Segovia Competition, the José Ramirez Competition and Spain’s prestigious Francisco Tarrega Competition.
Composers Guido Santórsola, Jorge Morel, Francis Kleynjans, Carlo Domeniconi or Sergio Assad, amongst others, have dedicated works to him.
Concert-goers everywhere are in awe of David Russell’s musical genius and inspired by his captivating stage presence. His love of his craft resonates through his flawless and seemingly effortless performance of even the most demanding pieces. The attention to detail and provocative lyrical phrasing suggest an innate understanding of what each individual composer was working to achieve, bringing to each piece a sense of adventure.
David Russell spends his time touring the world, appearing regularly at prestigious halls in main cities, such as New York, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Madrid, Toronto or Amsterdam. He is also invited regularly to play in many music festivals.
His discography include transcriptions of Bach, Haendel and Scarlatti on GHA Records, Nineteenth Century Music also on GHA Records and the complete works by Franscico Tarrega, on Opera Tres.
Since 1995 David Russell has an exclusive contract with TELARC International, with whom he has recorded a CD featuring the music of Paraguayan guitarist-composer Agustín Barrios Mangoré, another with the music of Spanish composer Federico Moreno Torroba, a recording including the three Rodrigo concertos for solo guitar (Concierto de Aranjuez, Fantasía para un Gentilhombre and Concierto para una Fiesta), “Celtic Music for Guitar”, “Music by Giuliani”, “Baroque Music”, “Spanish Favorites” and “David Russell plays Bach”.
Upon hearing David Russell’s playing in London, Andrés Segovia wrote: “My congratulations on your musicality and guitaristic technique”.
Gendai Guitar n. 482, 2005
Guitare Classique n° 20 – 2004
Acoustic Guitar, January 2004
Audio Clásica, 2004
Classical Guitar Magazine – October 2003
Gitarre Aktuell III/03
Swiat Gitary, 2002
Chitarre Classica, n. 18, 2001
Seicorde, n.69, 2001
Classical Guitar – April 1998
Guitart – luglio/settembre 1998
Guitarreando, n. 1, 1998
Gendai Guitar, n. 338, 1993
Seicorde – Aprile/giugno 1992
Ocho Sonoro – nº 2
Gitarre & Laute 05/88
Les cahiers de la guitare – 2ème trimestre 1987
Gitaarview, n. 1, 1985
Classical Guitar, July, 1985
Classical Guitar, Nov/Dec, 1982
Guitar, November, 1978
Ritmo, n. 474, 1977
(Aguado, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Haug, Sojo)
Overture Records, Canada
DAVID RUSSELL PLAYS ANTONIO LAURO
Guitar Master Records, England
1980, GMR 1001. LP
(with Raphaella Smits)
1983. PL 0008. LP
(with Raphaella Smits and Jos van Immerseel)
1985. AX 850218. LP
DAVID RUSSELL PLAYS ANTONIO LAURO
Guitar Master Records, England
1987, GMR. CD
1987. GHA 126.002
1989. GHA 126.006
GIULIANI & RODRIGO CONCERTI
(with Warsaw Sinfonia)
Polskjie Nagrania Muza, Poland
1990. CK 760. LP
FRANCISCO TARREGA INTEGRAL DE GUITARRA
Opera Tres, Spain
1991. CDS 1003/4. Double CD
MUSIC OF BARRIOS
Telarc International, USA
MUSIC OF TORROBA
Telarc International, USA
(Concierto De Aranjuez, Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, Concierto para una Fiesta)
David Russell, guitar. Erich Kunzel, conductor. Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
Telarc International, USA
During the 19th century, in Paris, there existed a large circle of guitar aficionados who were coming mainly from Spain or Italy. Among these, some distinguished themselves by the quality of their playing, the interest of their compositions and the seriousness of their teaching. Under the influence of the Spaniard Fernando Sor, the history of the guitar made a great leap: in Paris, London, Berlin and Moscow, this artist gave concerts that were noticed by many who were also amazed by a completely new way of writing for the guitar. Fernando Sor was advisor to the guitar-maker René Lacote. In 1830, he published his Méthode complète pour la guitare which was revised 15 years later by his French disciple Napoleon Coste.
In an “excellent style, pure, gracious and lively” (1), Coste soon succeeds Sor on the Parisian scene. His Grande Sérénade opus 30 wins the second prize of the composition competition organized in Brussels, in 1856, by Nikolai Makaroff, the first prize having been won by the three pieces opus 65 of Mertz. The complete and considerable output of Napleon Coste has been published by Edition Chanterelle. Some of his compositions foreshadow the tendency toward program music even though they are not written in a truly narrative style. Other works are written for the seven string guitar (tuned a fifth lower than the normal guitar) which Coste bequeathed to the Musée instrumental de Paris. As was the fashion of the time, other works are inspired by well known melodies such as the Caprice sur l’air espagnol La Cachucha opus 13 and the Romanesca, « famous dance aire from the end of the 16th century arranged for guitar by Nap. Coste ».
(1) Revue et gazette musicale de Paris, 1838.
Giulio Regondi’s contemporaries described him as an artist of great finesse and surprising virtuosity. As a child, this prodigy was forced to practice long hours. It is said that, for a child, his hands were surprisingly large in comparison to his body. A world traveler, Regondi led, in the last century, the life of a star of the guitar. His work, although less than prolific, reveals the sensitive nature of an extraordinarily talented musician.
Starobin has a natural feel for the romantic repertory. A small diamond of a disc
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
In an obvious wink to Pixinguinha’s chôro “um a zero”, the choice of Um a Um as title for this album evokes the meeting of Uruguayan Cecilia Siqueira and Brazilian Fernando de Lima at the International Guitar Competition of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, when they won first prize ex aequo in 2001. So, no rivalry here but a common victory decisive for both: duo on stage and couple in life, Cecilia and Fernando’s destinies are now just one.
The chôro has a distinguished ambassador in the person of Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Filho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1897, and internationally renowned by the name « Pixinguinha ». In Um a zero (one zero), he commemorates the victory of the Brazilian football team playing against Uruguay in 1919. The unbearable suspense suffered during this historical match, until the very late goal of “El Tigre” in favor of Brazil, is expressed exuberantly in this joyous chôro which stands the test of time. Immortalized in 1946 on a recording where Pixinguinha plays the flute part, Um a zero seduced many other interpreters such as Jacob do Bandolim, Benedito Lacerda, Altamiro Carrilho and Garôto. One can even hear, nowadays, this chôro played by musicians belonging to the classical world, far from Brazilian borders!
Another great success of the Brazilian chorões’ repertoire, André de sapato novo illustrates with humor the torments suffered by its author, André Victor Correia, wearing too new shoes during a ball. The recording of this chôro by Pixinguinha on saxophone and Benedito Lacerda on flute in 1947 conferred to it a particular glory.
Chôro is also present along with forró and baião in more than forty recordings crystallizing Dominguinho’s musical journey. Born in 1941 in the state of Pernambuco, José Domingos de Morais is a composer, a singer and he plays on his accordion typical Brazilian music, alone or with prestigious partners such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Toquinho, Maria Bethânia or Yamandu Costa with whom he recorded one of his most recent albums.
To his creativity as a composer and renowned arranger, Gilson Peranzzetta adds the qualities of a versatile musician whose main instrument is the piano. Born in a family of musicians, this pure carioca broaches the chôro (Cheio de graça,1985), the baião (Lado a lado, 1988) and the samba (Pontes,1985) in an elegant jazzy style.
Geraldo Ribeiro was born, in 1939, in the state of Bahia, in a family of farmers. He discovered the guitar as a self-taught musician before studying in São Paulo. Popular music and classical music mark his personal journey; he helped safeguard the work of popular guitarists such as Garôto, Armandinho and Antonio Rago by transcribing it, recording and publishing it. Among other things, he recorded transcriptions for viola caipira of music by Bach made by Theodoro Nogueira, calling attention to this Brazilian kind of guitar that was a little neglected. Geraldo Ribeiro wrote more than 400 compositions for the guitar. He created a guitar class at Brasilia University.
Eleven years younger, Paulo Bellinati learnt classical guitar with Isaías Sávio at São Paulo conservatory before studying in Switzerland and living there for fifteen years. His career is entirely dedicated to Brazilian music and to the different types of Brazilian guitars which he plays solo and in several groups such as the excellent quintet Pau Brasil. His compositions are inspired by lundu, chôro, baião, maxixe and other typical rhythms.
César Camargo Mariano is a brilliant composer, arranger and pianist. He created with Humberto Clayber (bass) and Airto Moreira (drums) the ephemeral Sambalanço Trio which inaugurates, in 1964, the famous nightclub « João Sebastião Bar », temple of bossa nova in São Paulo. He develops in a very personal way the samba-chôro style to which his famous compositions Cristal and Samambaia make part.
Remarkable figure in the Brazilian music landscape, Radamés Gnattali was about 25 years old when he left his birth place Porto Alegre (South Brazil) to make a living in Rio de Janeiro. He worked for many years at the Rádio Nacional, first as a pianist, then as the composer and conductor attached to the radio symphony orchestra, responsible for thousands of arrangements of popular music. Afterwards, he would occupy the same position at TV Globo for almost 20 years. This is how Radamés Gnattali gave to posterity a large and emblematic work where classical language and popular expression dialogue in perfect harmony.
A series of seminars in Argentina and Brazil were guitarist Eduardo Isaac’s first introduction to the various directions within the world of the Latin American guitar.
In record time he won first prize at several renowned guitar contests in South America; in Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Vina del Mar and Caracas. His next move was the conquest of Europe, where he brilliantly came first not only at the contest Infanta Cristina in Madrid, but subsequently also at the Andrés Segovia contest in Palma de Mallorca and, more recently, at the contest Le Printemps de la Guitare in Belgium (under royal patronage of Queen Mother Fabiola).
Many famous orchestras have since then invited Eduardo Isaac to play with them: not only in his birthland Argentina, but also orchestras in countries such as Japan, Chili, Portugal, Korea, Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.
Amongst his own favourite concertos are the Concierto del Sur by Manuel Maria Ponce, the Concierto para Guitarra y Bandonéon by Astor Piazzolla and the Concierto d’Aranjuez en Fantasia para un Gentilhombre by Joaquin Rodrigo.
With great enthusiasm Eduardo Isaac participates in the organisation of musical group tours in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata, where he initiates the participants into the rich world of the guitar. Eduardo Isaac is also a professor at the Conservatory of Entre Rios and often he is asked to give seminars in France, Belgium, Spain, Canada, the United States and Portugal.
Contemporary guitar music is of great importance to Eduardo Isaac, which is not only reflected in his concerts, but also in the many recordings he has made with GHA over the years.
Eduardo Isaac plays on a guitar made by the famous Parisian manufacturer of string instruments, Dominique Field.
The GuitArt QuArtet (GQ) of Avellino, Italy is critically acclaimed as one of the most original and inventive guitar ensembles performing in the world today. After graduating “magna cum laude”, these four guitarists formed this unique ensemble in 1997 with the ambition of developing a new, innovative repertoire of a virtuosic nature.
This formation has kindled the interest of today’s most important composers. Angelo Gilardino composed the Concerto italiano for four guitars and orchestra (première in 1999); Gerard Drozd wrote in 2001 the Concerto rapsodico op.80 for four guitars and orchestra, premiered by GQ in the Lublin (Poland) International Festival in the same year. International recognition was achieved by GQ in 2001 when Leo Brouwer wrote his Concierto italico and dedicated the work to GQ, the first Italians to whom the maestro dedicated one of his concerti. The GuitArt QuArtet joins the ranks of other guitar greats whom Brouwer has composed important works, such as Julian Bream, Sharon Isbin and John Williams. The Concierto italico première was held in the Todi International Festival (in this same context, GQ also played an as yet published version of the Tango Suite for four guitars and orchestra by Astor Piazzolla) with Maestro Brouwer as conductor. With him, GQ produced a CD and a DVD illustrating the story of this première, widely regarded as “the guitar event of the year”.
GQ developed an unprecedented collaboration with Maestro Brouwer, who was the conductor in concerts for the Avana International Festival and for the Parma Teatro Regio in 2002.
In 2002 the English magazine Classical Guitar dedicated their front cover and an extensive interview by Colin Cooper, and M. Summerfield included this ensemble in the prestigious publication “The Classical Guitar,” that chronicles all of the most important guitar artists since 1800.
GQ performed in major international festivals, including the XIV International Spring Festival “Andrés Segovia” in Madrid, the Lublin International Festival, the III Gliwice International Festival, the Iserlhon International Festival, the León International Festival, the Cuba International Festival, to name but a few.
GQ was also involved in more non-traditional performances, such as the realization of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint for “Musica e Oltre” in Pisa and the participation in the 2000 Guitar Event with Steve Hackett (founder of Genesis), Frank Gambale (ex-Chick Corea band member) and Maurizio Colonna.
To further the group’s commitment to new and innovative works, GQ also participated in the highly acclaimed Histoire du Tango, with pieces by Troilo, Gardel and Piazzolla, in collaboration with the famous actor-singer Alessandro Haber and in South America with the pop-singer Antonella Ruggiero, with music by Piazzolla, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Miguel, Gismonti, Evora, Guerra, Velasquez.
In 2002, GQ carried out a successful tour in the US, making their début with the Hartford Festival Orchestra conducted by Brian Sparks for the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society, and held two guitar and chamber music masterclasses for the Hartt School (University of Hartford).
The GQ CD From Spain to South America (Niccolò label), including works by Albéniz, de Falla and Piazzolla of which the French magazine Les cahiers de la guitare said “Et toujours règne cette impression très pleine due à l’interprétation qui est musicalement très impressionnante tant sur le plan de l’ensemble que sur celui de la couleur et de l’expression (…) les interprètes sont géniaux” (And always reigns this very full impression due to the ensemble’s brilliant interpretation and masterful use of color and expression) is distributed worldwide.
The latest project of GQ is truly original: the famous jazz composer and performer Egberto Gismonti authorized GQ to use his music for a new concerto for guitar quartet and orchestra to be composed by Leo Brouwer. This project can be foreseen as another bold enterprise. The “Gismontiana” was premiered in 2008 in Italy (Teatro C.Gesualdo, Avellino) and in Europe and USA.
Hughes Kolp enrolled at the Royal Conservatory of Liège at the age of sixteen, where in 1993 he received first prize for guitar under tutelage of Gonzales Mohino. Three years later the same conservatory awarded him first prize for flute as well as the highest diploma in chamber music. Hughes Kolp went on to refine his formation under the guidance of Odair Assad and in 1993 he graduated with honour at the Royal Conservatory of Mons.
After raising his profile at several Belgian competitions, amongst them Pro Civitate, Hugh Kolp came first in the international competition of Krincya (1997). The following year he managed to secure both third prize as well as the special public’s award at the Tromp music competition in Eindhoven and in 2000 the jury of the IX international guitar competition in Mottola awarded him second prize.
Hughes Kolp has played as a soloist with the Romanian state orchestra and the « Brabant Orkest » from Eindhoven. He appeared in several radio and television programmes in Belgium and could be found at many different festivals, such as « the festival for young European musicians » in Baia Mare, the Ars Musica festival and the international guitar festival in Brussels.
Hughes Kolp’s work is largely dedicated to contemporary music, which is his primary interest. Since 1996 he is member of the contemporary Belgian ensemble «Musiques nouvelles » with whom he has produced several recordings and made various tours in Belgium and abroad.
At present Hughes Kolp teaches at the Music Academy of the City of Brussels and has been appointed assistant at the class of Odair Assad at the Royal Conservatory of Mons.
Judicaël Perroy was born on July 21, 1973, in Paris. He began playing the guitar at the age of 7 at the Municipal Inter-district Conservatory of Paris. From 1983 to 1988, he studied with Delia Estrada, and later with Raymond Gratien at the National School of Aulnay-sous-Bois, where he received an unanimous first prize with honors from the jury in June 1988. At the age of 11, Judicaël started giving concerts, including performances as a soloist in two Vivaldi concertos with the Ensemble Instrumental du Mans, conducted by André Girard. He continued his musical studies with Robert Aussel and then with Daniel Lavialle, both of whom played a fundamental role in his artistic development. In 1994, he obtained the Concert License from the École Normale de Musique de Paris in Alberto Ponce’s class and, in 1996, he won the 1st prize at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris. In 1997, he was awarded the 1st prize at the fifteenth edition of the prestigious GFA (Guitar Foundation of America) competition in San Diego, USA, which allowed him to launch his international career. Since then, he has performed in the most prestigious venues and festivals,
including the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Teatro de la Republica in Mexico, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and more. Judicaël Perroy has recorded about ten albums, including two CDs dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach and Manuel Maria Ponce for Naxos.
His teaching is highly sought after, as he regularly gives masterclasses at major universities and higher music and art schools worldwide, and his students have been winners of the most important international competitions. From 2017 to 2020, Judicaël was a professor at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, USA, succeeding guitarist and composer Sérgio Assad. Since then, in September 2020, he has been appointed as a guitar teacher at the Haute École Musique de Genève, succeeding guitarist and composer Dušan Bogdanović, while also teaching, since 2012, at the École
Supérieure Musique et Danse Nord de France.
Composer, guitarist and director, Leo Brouwer was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1939. He studied with Nicola, Pujol’s pupil and, specializing in composition, completed his studies at Julliard School of Music and at Hartford Music Department.
In 1987, Brouwer was selected along with Isaac Stern and Alan Danielou, honorable member of UNESCO, in recognition for his music career – an honor that he shares with Menuhin, Shankar, Karajan, Sutherland and other giants of music.
Brouwer has conducted orchestras around the world including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish National Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Chamber Orchestra and the Mexico National Symphony Orchestra.
He has been heard as both composer and classical guitarist at virtually every major music event in the world, and is also the author of the famous work « Cancion de gesta » (Epic Poem), recorded and played by the most important orchestras in the world. His discography is comprised of over a hundred commercial recordings, and his works have been recorded by personalities, such as John Williams, Julian Bream, Franz Bruggen, Harry Sparnay, as well as musical center such as the Toronto Festival, the BBC Chamber Orchestra and the Festival de Liège, among others.
In 1993, he composed the music for Alfonso Arau’s internationally acclaimed, award winning « Like Water for Chocolate ».
He also serves as General Manager of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, and since 1992, he has conducted for several years the Córdoba Orchestra in Spain.
The Orquesta de Cordoba was created in 1992 by the regional Counsel of Andalusia and the municipality of Cordoba. Artistic direction of the orchestra was entrusted to the composer and conductor Leo Brouwer.
Among the motives for his designation also as the conductor of this orchestra, the Orquesta de Cordoba was pleased to remind and underline the master’s vast experience, his international prestige and especially the enthusiasm with which he assumed under all aspects the enormous mission involved in the creation of a new orchestra.
It has been twenty years since four young guitarists from the University of California decided to join hands and talents in order to form the instantly successful Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. It was due to their sparkling presence and refreshing musical look that the quartet’s international career rapidly took off. The press are unanimous in their praise for these artists: perfectly attuned, a musicality that is remarkably spontaneous and unbridled energy, which entices both public as well as specialists (Guitare). The four virtuosos also channel their creativity into transcriptions, with impressive results. All critics agree on the undisputed success of creating “an integral and masterly version” of Manuel de Falla’s L’amour sorcier with four guitars (Diapasion). Whether it is the Concertos Brandebourgeois (Bach), Carmen (Bizet), les Danses de Terpsichore (Praetorius), le Caprice Espagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov), la Soirée dans Grenade (Debussy) or Cassenoisettes (Tchaikowsky), The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (or LAGQ) are absolute masters in crafting an astonishing palette of tones and colours with their four guitars and manage to add that lovely twist of humour, which makes their ensemble so irresistible.
To fully do justice to the richness of the LAGQ’s repertoire, one must also mention the inclusion of original contemporary work into their concert programme, written by for example Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, Brazilian Sérgio Assad, the Americans Wayne Siegel and Ian Krouse and French Georges Delerue. Then, there are of course the compositions of Andrew York, who rejoined the group in 1990 that make the repertoire complete.
The LAGQ regularly plays every four corners of the world. From Chicago’s Orchestra Hall to New York’s Lincoln Center, the International Festivals of Istanbul and Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Tokyo, London, the Canary Islands – wherever they go, the quartet enjoys a great reputation. During one of their tours through the Limousin region in France, the local newspapers joined the international papers in cheering both the unusual character of the group’s musicality as well as their delicate and sensitive interpretations, which betray an aesthetic pattern of rare elegance.
An impressive discography shows the LAGQ’s interest in ever expanding their horizon. The quartet’s first two albums appeared with the label GHA Records, followed by Delos who took on four recordings of variations on Bach to a theme of Led Zeppelin developed by Ian Krouse…
In October 1998 Sony Classical released a new album, strongly flavoured with world music. Throughout the twelve pieces of music (arrangements and compositions by the members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet – William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, John Dearman and Andrew York) the seductive sounds are evoked of places such as Africa, Indonesia, Europe and South America. The release of the CD coincided with a concert by the quartet in Paris, which prompted the following observations: “not only do they display the most remarkable ease and relaxation, they also create an exquisite clarity and sonoric warmth. The LAGQ is an absolute musical gem and a true example for all ensembles. (Les Cahiers de la Guitare)
On one of their last recordings, Air and Ground, also released by Sony Classical, the quartet continues on the path, chosen on their former album, and, amongst compositions by the LAGQ members, we find two pieces by Brazilians, Sérgio Assad and Paulo Bellinati.
Marco Pereira received his diploma from the conservatories and universities of Sao Paulo and Paris. This Brazilian artist has a disconcerting facility for moving between “classical” and popular music both in composition, interpretation or as the partner of the greatest Brazilian stars of show business.
The Spanish guitarist Margarita Escarpa studied in the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid where she was awarded the highest prize, the Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera. She was taught by the most important music teachers and she was exposed to the influence of the best guitar players of the time. She also holds a degree in mathematics from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.
Margarita has won two national and eight international prices, including the International Competition in Esztergom (Hungary 1991), the International Competition Andrés Segovia in Palma de Mallorca in 1993, or the Solo Guitar Competition organise by the Guitar Foundation of America in Quebec in 1994.
These important prizes together with her excellent qualities give her the opportunity of taking part in the most important festival in Europe, North America, Asia and Canada, where she has received both public and critical acclaim.
Margarita has recorded several CDs with Opera Tres, RNE, Naxos, and GHA records.
During the season 2000-2001, she will play concerts in Spain, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, California, Texas, North Ireland, Turkey, Japan and Germany.
In addition to her touring and recording, she also teaches regularly at the Conservatorio Superior de Mùsica de Vigo (Spain)
Neneu was born in a city in the Northest of Brazil. He began studying guitar at the age of sixteen. In order to play this instrument, Neneu had to create a new technique which diverges from the standard classical approach by its unique use of the left hand, and the horizontal position of the guitar. Neneu uses all five fingers of the left hand: their extreme flexibility and stretch allow him to play chords impossible to realize by the formal technique, and to develop a new harmonic conception adapted to the guitar.
Their dedicated work and their boundless imagination have given Sérgio and Odair the status of leaders in the world of the guitar. For more than forty years Brazilian guitarist Odair Assad has been concertizing worldwide with his brother Sergio, forming an extraordinary guitar duo.
If Odair at times had in mind to play solo, his friend Thomas Humphrey, the renowned American guitarmaker, was convinced that he had to do it. Nobody would ever imagine that Tom would pass away suddenly in April 2008. Odair then decided to give his first solo recital to the memory of his friend. It was in New York, in June 2008. This solo debut was soon followed by other concerts in the USA and in Europe and by a first solo album, El caminante, just released on GHA Records.
For many years, Odair Assad has been based in Belgium where he has maintained a highly reputed guitar class at Conservatoire Royal de Mons – Ecole Supérieure des Arts.
Born in Sao Paulo (Brazil), Paulo Bellinati is recognized as one of Brazil’s top contemporary guitarists. Firmly grounded in classical music from his studies at the Conservatory of Sao Paulo and the Conservatory of Geneva (Switzerland), he preserves a truly Brazilian style in his playing. As a researcher and multiinstrumentalist, his carreer has been entirely devoted to Brazilian music. In his album “Guitares du Brésil”, he revives rhythms like lundu, chôro, baiao, maxixe and Brazilian waltz when playing the guitar, the cavaquinho (Brazilian soprano guitar), the viola caipira, (ten strings folk guitar) and violao de seresta (steel string Brazilian old guitar).
Pedro Caldeira Cabral had learnt the Portuguese guitar by himself and has composed works for this very instrument. In this respect, he has widened the scope of the repertoire for Portuguese guitar so far limited to fado music.
His playing of ancient instruments shows in his style together with popular tradition, classical music and jazz improvisation.
Under the initial impulsion of the great Spanish guitarist and musicologist Emilio Pujol, Rafael Andia shows interest for the baroque guitar. His meeting, in 1975, with Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume is decisive : the guitarist re-visits Robert de Visée’s works for guitar under the guidance of the harpsichordist. This reputed erudite of ancient music introduces Rafael Andia to the secrets of the genuine French baroque style. This knowledge proved to be precious for Rafael Andia’s work at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique as well as during his recording of the pieces for guitar of François Le Cocq and Robert de Visée and in the accompaniment of French baroque dance at the dance company l’Eclat des Muses.
Rafael Andia created, in 1976, the baroque guitar class at l’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris while pursuing music research.
Louis Faÿs, himself holding a deep and riche experience with the guitar through his mother and the numerous gypsy friends of the family, teaches his “little Raphaël” the manouche (gypsy) guitar from Raphaël’s earliest childhood.
For his fifth birthday, Raphaël receives a small guitar built by Jacques Favino. Better than a toy, more than a musical instrument, this guitar becomes his friend, his passion.
Until the age of twelve, Raphaël is taught by his father. He listens all hours of the day to recordings of his idol Django Reinhardt whose genius motivates him more than anything to surpass himself in his apprenticeship of the guitar. Very soon, the phrases, the vibratos, the glissandos, the swing, the timbre and the virtuosity of the manouche guitar no longer hold secrets for Raphaël.
He creates a unique musical personality recognizable from the first notes.The young gypsy boy, still teenager, is discovered by the French media, radio and television, and begins an intense international career.
Today, after a few years dedicated to other musical experiences (jazz-fusion, flamenco, and classical guitar), Raphaël Faÿs returns to his first love with outstanding albums rife with virtuosity, emotion and the joy of life, featuring new compositions, Sans domicile fixe (GHA 126.037) and Raphaël Faÿs in Concert (GHA 126.052).
One of the unsung greats of the new Gypsy jazz generation, Faÿs is a stunning technician and improviser with talent to burn. Guitar Player
From baroque to contemporary music, Roberto Aussel never ceases to move us with the extraordinary musical sensitivity of his interpretations.
His style, instantly recognisable, combined with his engaging personality have defined his international fame.
Classical in the fingers, jazz in the head… Roland Dyens shared – in every corner of the world – concerts, composition and guitar teaching. This triple alliance was the very basis of the indisputable success of this constantly evolving musician. His recitals were events, real shocks for some or very inspiring experiences for others. Some, more strangers to the instrument, even spoke of «reconciliation» with the classical guitar!
Roland Dyens’ master classes brought together a growing number of audiences, attracted both by the content of his rich and innovative discourse and by the sincere closeness of the man he was with the guitarists of the younger generation. With them, it was not a question of formal confrontations but of happy encounters centered on quality and emotion.
Roland Dyens’ compositions and his fabulous arrangements, played all over the world today, are unanimous and bring new life to this guitar, whose limits he constantly pushed: Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk), Nuages (Django Reinhardt), A felicidade (Antonio Carlos Jobim), My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers), Indifférence (Tony Murena), Night and Night (Cole Porter), Bluesette (Toots Thielemans) … as many pearls as the GHA label prides itself on having on its catalogue.
Roland Dyens died in Paris on 29 October 2016. Since 4 November 2016, he has been resting at the Montparnasse cemetery, not far from Baudelaire, Maupassant, Beckett, Brancusi, Soutine, Gainsbourg, Sartre et Beauvoir…
Roland Dyens was a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris.
Guitarist Scott Tennant is one of today’s leading American virtuosos. Since becoming the first American ever to be awarded the first prize in the Tokyo International Guitar Competition in 1989, and his silver-medal performances in both the 1988 Concours International de Guitare of Radio France in Paris, and the 1984 Toronto Competition, his reputation as a brilliant performer has been established worldwide.
Scott Tennant is a founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, with which he concertizes extensively much of the year, while still maintaining a solo concert schedule throughout North America, Europe, and the Orient. He has been invited to perform on concert series in such halls as the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, San Francisco’s War Memorial, New-York’s Merkin Recital Hall, Radio France in Paris, and Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan and Casals Hall. He is in the process of recording the complete solo guitar works of Joaquin Rodrigo, which will include Rodrigo’s guitar concertos with Leo Brouwer conducting the Orquesta de Cordoba.
Scott Tennant is the author of the best-selling book on guitar technique, Pumping Nylon, which includes a video of the same name. He is on the faculties of the National Guitar Summer Workshop and the University of Southern California.
Scott Tennant can be heard with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet in their recordings on the GHA RECORDS, DELOS and on SONY CLASSICAL labels.
Taught by a student of Andrés Segovia, and raised in the home of the samba, Sérgio and Odair Assad bring a singular combination of influences to all that they do. Sérgio and Odair grew up in a small town of Brazil, studying, practicing and performing as a duo. It is this identical musical education and experience that The New York Times credits for their “supple, flawlessly unified sound”. As children they already gave concerts in their native Brazil, they were still teenagers when they first performed in New York in 1969: the musical career of the Assad Brothers has been a path both fascinating and successful. They started out with the traditional repertoire of the guitar duo Presti-Lagoya as their base, to which they added contributions of fellow Brazilians Radamés Gnattali, Francisco Mignone, Heitor Villa Lobos, Marlos Nobre, Egberto Gismonti, Wagner Tiso and Hermeto Pascoal.
In the early eighties, Sérgio and Odair rapidly succeeded in making a name for themselves in Europe. Their amazing talent and extraordinary musical personalities astounded and delighted audience after audience. Amongst them was the legendary Astor Piazzolla, who was completely captivated after hearing the siblings play at the house of a mutual friend in Paris in 1983. Shortly afterwards Astor Piazzolla dedicated three original tangos for two guitars to them, the Tango Suite, which has become part of the repertoire of most of today’s guitar duos all over the world.
During their exploration of the treasures of Baroque music, the two brothers each played one hand in two-handed harpsichord pieces of Rameau, Scarlatti, Bach and Couperin, a marvellous experiment which produced a record. Over the years, they have refined their surprising yet harmonious way of mixing styles, periods and cultures, which can be witnessed even in the course of a single evening’s concert. The Assad brothers have added to their repertoire not only the pieces written for them by Nikita Koshkin, Terry Riley and many others, but they have also composed a series of daring adaptations including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Their rendition of Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche or Alberto Ginastera’s Sonata opus 22 for piano leaves audiences amazed to discover that a score so familiar to them can be given such a new and fresh interpretation as regards color, rhythm and passion.
Various commissions and joint projects have since widened the scope of the brothers’ musical involvement: the music of the Japanese film Natsu no Niwa which Sérgio was asked to write and was recorded by the brothers in 1994. Or their joint concerts and recordings: in 1996 with violinist Gidon Kremer and soprano Dawn Upshaw: in 1997 with cellist Yo-Yo Ma (Grammy Award) and violinist Fernando Suarez Paz: in 1998 with violinist Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, and in 1999 with violinist Iwao Furusawa. Not to mention the concertos for two guitars written for them by Brazilian composers Edino Krieger and Marlos Nobre, and the projects which they are eagerly planning for the future. Their dedicated work and boundless imagination have given Sérgio and Odair the status of “commanders in the world of the guitar”. This duo is a “veritable phenomenon which, with time to mature, will go down in history” (Diapason).
Bravo – dezembro 2004; 68-71
Guitarist acoustic – Août à octobre 2004 ; 120 – 122
To Allo Vima (Arts & Culture) 24/02/2002
Guitare Classique – Octobre à décembre 2001 ; 12 – 17
Samstag – Thomas Muttray-Kraus – 25/11/2000
Seicorde – Settembre 2000
Rhythm – June 2000; 20 e- 21
Los Angeles Time – 09/04/2000
Chitarre Classica – n° 169/ Marzo 2000; 4 – 7
Akustik Gitarre – Marz/ April 1999; 20 – 22
Guitare magazine Ed. 226
Acoustic Guitar, August 1997, 72-85 (Sérgio Assad “Farewell)
Guitart – Genaio/ Marzo 1997; 4 – 11
Soundboard N° 3 ; Winter 1997, 13-16
Acoustic Guitar / By Scott Cmiel – May/June 1995; 72-76, 114
Guitar Player, April 1995 ; 99-102
Guitar Review, N° 100, Winter 1995
Guitar Review, N° 101, Spring 1995
Guitar Review, N° 102, Summer 1995
Guitar Review, N° 103, Fall 1995
Fingerstyle Guitar, N° 38
Classical Guitar – January 1994 ; 11 – 16
Fanfare – April 1993
Seicorde – n°26 ; Marzo/Aprile 1991
The Gendai Guitar – July 1989 ; 34 – 39
Gendai Guitar – June 1989 ; 36 – 39
Latina – Juin 1989 ; 8 – 11
MAIS semanário – 15 abril 1989 ; 14
Music Maker – December 1988 ; 32 – 34
Gitarre und Laute – November/ Dezember 1988 ; 8 – 14
Oregon’s Regional Arts Magazine / Front Row – February 1988
Guitar Player – December 1987 ; 34 – 41
Il Fronimo – Aprile 1987 ; 8 – 11
Chitarre n° 3 ; Giugno 1986 ; 64 – 65
Classical Guitar – January 1986 ; 11 – 15
Gendai Guitar – 1986; 20 – 25
Les Cahiers de la Guitare – N°16, 1985 ; 4 & 5
Jornal do Brasil – 31/01/198
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.021)
Lo que vendra
Joaquin Rodrigo, Radamés Gnattali,Astor Piazzolla
NONESUCH RECORDS (7559 791 162)
Latin American Music for two Guitars
Astor Piazzolla, Leo Brouwer, Radamés Gnattali, Sérgio Assad, Alberto Ginastera, Hermeto Pascoal
NONESUCH RECORDS (7559 791 792)
Marlos Nobre, Egberto Gismonti, Heitor Villa Lobos, Sérgio Assad, Hermeto Pascoal, Wagner Tiso, Radamés Gnattali
NONESUCH RECORDS (7559 792 922)
Domenico Scarlatti, François Couperin, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Philippe Rameau
EGEA (SCA 068)
Sérgio Assad (guitare) Gabriele Mirabassi (clarinette)
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.029)
all compositions by Sérgio Assad
NONESUCH RECORDS- 79365-2
Saga dos migrantes
Heitor Villa Lobos, Astor Piazzolla, Alberto Ginastera, Sérgio Assad, Egberto Gismonti
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.027)
with Fernando Suarez Paz violin & Edmond Carlier cello
Astor Piazzolla, Stepan Lucky, Radamés Gnattali
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.018)
St Gallen Symphony Orchestra & John Neschling conductor
Joaquin Rodrigo, Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.025)
Orquesta de Cordoba & Leo Brouwer conductor
SONY RECORDS (SRCR 2407)
with Iwao Furuzawa violin
From Cinema Paradiso to Pink Floyd / The Wall
NONESUCH RECORDS (7559 79505-2)
with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg violin
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.046)
Orquesta de Cordoba & Leo Brouwer conductor
NONESUCH RECORDS (79462-2)
with Gidon Kremer violin
SONY CLASSICAL (SK63122)
with Yo-Yo Ma cello
NONESUCH RECORDS (79632-2)
Sérgio & Odair Assad play Piazzolla Grammy 2002 Best Tango Album !
with Fernando Suarez Paz violin, Marcelo Nisinman bandoneon & Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg violin
SONY RECORDS SICC 1
with Iwao Furuzawa violin
Chico Buarque, Ary Barroso, Tom Jobim, Cartola, Ernesto Nazareth, Pixinguinha, Radamés Gnattali, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Jacob Bittencourt, Egberto Gismonti, Dorival Caymmi
GHA RECORDS (GHA 126.055)
Live in Brussels
with Fernando Suarez Paz violin
Jacob Bittencourt, Carlos Gardel, Juan Carlos Cobian, Astor Piazzolla, Egberto Gismonti, Pixinguinha, Charlie Chaplin
SONY RECORDS ( SK89935)
Sérgio & Odair Assad play with Yo-Yo Ma Sérgio Assad ‘s arrangement of Villa Lobos’ A Lenda do Caboclo and Sérgio Assad ‘s piece Menino.
SONY RECORDS (SK90970)
Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert
Sérgio & Odair Assad play on seven tracks.
It is no wonder that the Trio de Cologne has been praised with such reviews as : “the best guitar trio in the world.” The highest expression of admiration has come from the numerous composers who have been inspired to write for this young ensemble. Since 1991, the Trio de Cologne has been performing throughout North and South America and Europe leaving audiences breathless and prompting critical acclaim of the very highest order. These three outstanding soloists, Laura Young, Zoran Dukic and Pablo Marquez, both prolific in their recordings and exceptional in that they have won over 40 international prizes, have joined their individual talent, extraordinary musicality and technical skill to form a truly remarkable sound and a unique musical experience.
AL SEGNO (AS 2006 2)
La Belle Excentrique
Bizet, Faure, Debussy, Satie.
GHA Records (GHA 126.041)
Juegos del Viento
Stravinsky, Bogdanovic, Bartok, Hindemith, Domeniconi, Satie.
OPERA TRES (1023-OPE)
Tarrega, Jose, Bach, Takemitsu.
PLEIN JEU (DMP 9522C)
Bach, Llobet, Tedesco, Colmant, Baily.
ARS MUSICI (AM1204-2)
Johann Sebastian Bach.
AL SEGNO (AS 2017 2)
Domeniconi, Hunt, Kucera, Henze, Turina, Koshkin.
Laura Young & Frances Pappas
Works for guitar and voice by Granados, Domeniconi, Theodorakis and Jasbar.
Laura Young & Zoran Dukié
works by Stefan Soewandi.
Da Milano, Schubert, Mertz, D’Angelo.
Cecile Daroux 1 Pablo Marquez
Works for flute and guitar by Astor Piazzolla.
Collection Jeunes Interprètes.
Born in Prague, Mikulka is part of the great mainstream of Slav musicians. His country, of high musical culture, is justly nicknamed the “Music Conservatory of Europe”.
In addition to his abundant discography of classical guitar repertoire, Mikulka is also the favourite interpreter of East European composers such as Stepan Rak and Nikita Koshkin, he renders these distinguished composers with great intelligence and conviction.
He was born in Passo Fundo, southern Brazil, and his parents – both musicians – called him Yamandu, “the precursor of the waters of the world” in the Tupi-Guarani language.
Surrounded by his mother, the singer Clari Marson, and his father, Algacir Costa, trumpeter, guitarist and leader of the group “Os Fronteiriços”, Yamandu grew up in the cordial atmosphere of popular music played in Rio Grande do Sul, where Brazil is bordered by Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Evoking thoughts from his childhood, Yamandu remembers how he was afraid of his father’s guitar when both were the same size … Around the age of seven, the instrument and boy were definitely friends. This period was spent learning his first chords. Soon after would follow the intuitive curiosity, typical of young and precocious musicians.
This gave Algacir the idea of taking his son, 10 years old, for a journey in a mobile-home. During the next two years, this extraodinary educator traversed the country in all directions, encouraging the young boy to discover the musical language of all the regions of Brazil. This deep knowledge of popular music was to be completed by an introduction to Argentinian music with guitarist Lúcio Yanel and with recordings, carefully selected, that Algacir offered regularly to Yamandu. Astor Piazzolla, Radamés Gnattali, Tom Jobim and Hermeto Pascoal were fed into his universe of sounds. This was followed by Baden Powell, Raphael Rabello and later, jazz and flamenco music! An introduction to classical guitar was also proposed to Yamandu, but his choice was definitely popular music.
Yamandu was still a teenager when his father was stricken with an incurable disease. The responsibility then befell to him and his guitar to provide for the needs of the family, a challenge that he met brilliantly.
Yamandu’s debuts in Brazil revealed an out-of-the-norm artist, beyond classification, touching, dazzling, an improviser of rare fecundity, a partner of surprising flexibility, a powerful guitarist with a style unmistakably his own whom GHA catalogue proudly welcomes !
Not every girl of twelve is able to walk off with the first prize at the International Tokyo Guitar Competition, and yet this is precise what Wang Yameng did in 1993, after barely two years of tuition. Wang Yameng was born in Quingdao, in the province of Shadong, in China. She inherited her love for the guitar from her father, an amateur guitarist. When she was six he gave her a small-size guitar as well as some guitar records to which she listened a great deal as a young child, especially those made by Chen Zhi. She displayed such talent that her parents enrolled her in the only conservatoire in Beijing to offer guitar lessons, given by none other than the renowned teacher Chen Zhin. He later declared her the most gifted and hardest working of all his pupils. In 1995 she attended a masterclass in Beijing by John Williams, who gave her his own guitar as a present, an instrument made by the Australian luthier Greg Smallman. It was on this guitar that Wang Yameng made her first recording for GHA. As well as making her mark in other international competitions such as Allessandria in 1995 and Madrid in 1996. Wang Yameng has given much acclaimed recitals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, France, Spain and, most recently (1999), in Australia.
Wang Yameng’s first CD, Caprice (GHA 126.047), made at the age of sixteen, comprises mainly original works for guitar by the principal guitar composers of the 19th century, the exception being a transcription of the Caprice by the violinist / guitarist Paganini. The pieces selected run from the Grand Solo by Fernando Sor (1778-1839) to El Delirio by Antonio Cano, by way of one the Rossiniane by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829), the Grand Solo by Napoléon Coste (1806-1883) and one of the Airs varié by Giulio Regondi (1822-1872), representing roughly a century of Romantic guitar music. The least known of thse composers is undoubtedly the Spanish Antonio Cano (1811-1897), a teacher at Madrid conservatoire and a collegue of Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849). Cano published a method for guitar in 1852, which was re-issued in 1868 accompanied by a treatise on harmony for the intrsument. El Delirio is just one of the hundred or so compositions and excercises that he bequeathed to posterity.
Zoran Dukić graduated from the Music Academy of Zagreb with Darko Petrinjak and completed his studies with Hubert Käppel at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. In his “tour de force” competition years (1990-1997) Zoran Dukić has won an astonishing number of competitions, more than any other guitarist in the world. He is the only guitarist to have won both Andrés Segovia competitions, in Granada and in Palma de Mallorca. Showing astounding mastery in a wide variety of musical periods and styles, he has also won competitions dedicated to Fernando Sor, Manuel Ponce, Manuel de Falla and Francisco Tárrega among others. In the greatest Spanish guitar competition in Madrid, patronized by the Royal Family, he was awarded, in addition to the first prize, the special prize for the best interpretation of Spanish music, first time awarded to a non-Spaniard. In numerous competitions he was selected by the audience itself for the prize of the people’s choice award, a self-evident testimony to his natural ability to communicate through music.