A big thanks to all of those who came to this year's Guitar Marathon. As we didn't include the repertoire in the printed program, we're providing details here. Be sure and check out the artists' websites and look for their commercial recordings on iTunes, Amazon, etc. The event was recorded and we may be making audio and video available though various outlets soon. . .  

Night One: First thoughts. . .  It was a lot of work to get here, and the show is SOLD OUT. Things are going as planned for once! And this is after Rockwood Music Hall talked me into lowering the admission price and then canceled the show for a 24 hour period only three weeks ago because of lack of presales. Shame!

Then the music…

In 2011 I curated three nights at Cornelia St. Café that I dubbed the “Alternative Guitar Festival.” David Spelman, founder of the NYGF, attended two of those nights and was sufficiently enthused to invite me to organize a similar gathering for his festival this year.

 My goal as a curator is to present master improvisers, free-thinkers, those who reject category and style and are radically imaginative. Ideally they are under-appreciated and  have not won any polls. I wish to present these players in unusual contexts, outside of their normal trio or quartet settings. 

So here’s the question I was asking myself on Saturday evening, January 26, 2008, especially around the time I hit Albany and it began snowing: What is it about Brazilian guitar music that would make me want to drive six hours down from northern Vermont to Manhattan to watch a marathon of Brazilian guitarists?

Big thanks to graphic artist Jason Munn for designing our tenth anniversary festival poster. Check out his website to see more of his excellent work.

The internationally recognized event, which in recent years has emerged as a favorite destination for musicians and guitar fans from around the world, will feature more than 30 performers drawing from guitar traditions rooted in the US, England, Canada, China, Spain, and Mali.

The label has released reissues, new studio albums. and compilations of seminal acoustic guitar works over it’s four year history, including the acclaimed  three volume ‘Imaginational Anthem’ compilation series. and works by Robbie Basho, Richard Crandell, Harry Taussig, Max Ochs, Peter Walker, James Blackshaw, Sean Smith, Shawn David McMillen, and Ben Reynolds, among others. The label most recently released the 3CD set, ‘Fire in My Bones : Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel, 1944-2007.’ Tompkins Square has received four Grammy nominations.

A Conversation with lutenist Paul O’dette

How was the theme for this year’s New York Guitar Festival Marathon chosen? POD: Instead of presenting a group of guitarists playing a wide range of repertoire over many centuries, we wanted to offer different interpretations of a very specific repertoire, so that the variety would be created by the diversity of approaches. My co-curator David Spelman proposed basing this year’s marathon on the music of Bach since it plays such an important part in the programming of most classical guitarists and, of course, lutenists. The differences in the way each guitarist approaches Bach makes for a very interesting and varied day of music-making. These can range from interpretive choices to the manner of arranging music written for one instrument to fit most convincingly on another.

On February 4th 2010 at Merkin Concert Hall, Gyan Riley will be performing an original score to accompany a series of short animations by the artist, music collector and experimental filmmaker Harry Smith.

On January 28th, 2010, at Merkin Concert Hall, Alex de Grassi will be accompanying a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1918 masterpiece Shoulder Arms.


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