Some scenes from the 2014 Alt-Guitar Summit, curated by Joel Harrison and part of the New York Guitar Festival. Kyoko Takenaka captured the performances as well as backstage interviews. More videos will be posted in the days to come. . . 

The Footstool Chronicles

Backstage at Merkin Hall // Guitar Marathon 2014

Photo essay by Kyoko Takenaka

Idea inspired by John Schaefer

What current or future project are you the most excited about?

Well, I’m always excited about MY next record, whatever that may be. I think I’m getting it in gear to make a 45 soon…

Pepe Romero opened the 2014 New York Guitar Festival on Friday, January 10th at the Brookfield Place Winter Garden. We interviewed him here during his soundcheck.
This New York Guitar Festival appearance marks Maestro Romero's first ever all-Bach recital in New York.

Photos & Video by Kyoko Takenaka. 

Last Friday, January 10th, saw the opening night for the 2014 New York Guitar Festival with a concert by the distinguished classical guitarist, Pepe Romero. The New York Guitar Festival, which has been running since 1999, offers unique musical events such as the Alt-Guitar Summit and Silent Films/Live Guitars series. 

What current or future project are you most excited about?

Scoring the soundtrack to Berlin: Symphony of a Great City was the most inspired and innocent music I have made in decades. 

Though I was commissioned to simply accompany the movie on guitar, the movie demanded a score, which I composed on the piano and on toy wind instruments. I recorded the score at home or at friends’ houses. All the instruments I used—the mellotron, celesta, or vibes—were a first-time revelation for me. 

What current or future project are you most excited about?

I have 2 new CDs coming out this spring: Multiplicity (Whirlwind Recordings), a collaboration with the Indian sarodist Anupam Shobhakar. We wrote the music together and also have a quintet (that’s sometimes a sextet) with drummer Dan Weiss. Then there’s Mother Stump (Cuneiform), which focuses on my guitar playing in a trio and quartet setting. Mother Stump features an unorthodox collection of "covers" ranging from Luther Vandross to Paul Motian to Leonard Cohen to Buddy Miller.


Around 8 years ago, I was invited by David Spelman to be a part of an intriguing event:  A Guitar Marathon focusing on the music of Spain, curated by my dear friend and “guitar guru” Pepe Romero.  At first I wondered:  what on earth is a “guitar marathon”?  I had visions of guitarists chugging Gatorade, 30 consecutive relay-race performances of the Chaconne, oxygen masks for the faint of heart.  What it turned out to be (at the 92nd St.

William Kanengiser:  I’m sitting here with the great maestro Pepe Romero, discussing his All-Bach recital on January 10 that will kick off the 2014 New York Guitar Festival. Pepe, quite a few years ago, you did a series of All-Bach recitals; is this one at the Brookfield Place Winter Garden the first one in a long time?  

Pepe Romero: Well, I haven’t done it in a long time. It came as an idea of (festival director) David Spelman…he called me, and started sending me pictures of Bach on my phone (laughs)…  

WK:  To make you feel guilty!  

In the Maysles Brothers’s 1968 documentary, “Salesman”, Paul Brennan aka The Badger, is sitting in the living room of a potential customer trying to convince her to buy one of his Bible packages. He tries to make small talk with the woman’s little daughter, Christine, who, bored by it all gets away from her mother’s lap, walks over to an upright piano and plays (more likes jabs with her forefinger) a series of notes from high to low – dum…dum…dum…duummmmm.


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