Perched atop North Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, with a view of the Hudson River below and cliffs of the Palisades across the way, The Cloisters houses one of the world's finest collections of medieval European art. The structure, assembled from Romanesque architecture and borrowings from Gothic cathedrals and abbeys, features chapel-like galleries, the repose of ornately carved tombs, unicorn tapestries, windows with centuries-old stained-glass panels, as well as cloistered gardens of fragrant herbs and spring crocus. In essence, what better place to hear 14 guitarists whose collective repertoire spans the Renaissance to right now. This year’s Guitar Marathon will be mostly unamped music and includes performances on the lute, oud, and pipa – all historic precursors of the guitar. Hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer, curated by the New York Guitar Festival's Artistic Director David Spelman, and presented in collaboration with MetLiveArts.
Saturday, May 14, 10 AM to 5:15 PM. We recommend arriving early, as large crowds are anticipated.
10:30–11:30 am: Colin Davin
11:30 am–12:30 pm: Nigel North
1–2 pm: Gyan Riley
2:30–3:30 pm: Ryley Walker
4 pm: Derek Gripper
12:30–1 pm: Simon Shaheen
2–2:30 pm: Alberta Khoury
3:30–4 pm: Marija Temo
Pontaut Chapter House:
1–2 pm: Ben Monder
4–5 pm: Dylan Carlson
Early Gothic Hall:
2–2:30 pm: Min Xiao-Fen
3–4 pm William Tyler
Trie Cloister Café:
11:30 am–12:30 pm: Vernon Reid & Laraaji
4 pm: Noveller
Lead guitarist and singer of the Seattle-based drone-metal band Earth. His solo project Drcarlsonalbion draws on inspirations found in British folklore and occult legends.
Currently on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Colin Davin studied classical guitar with Sharon Isbin. His repertoire encompasses Rodrigo, Britten, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
A South African making his first New York performance, Derek Gripper transcribes works for the 21-string kora to six-string guitar. His 2012 album One Night on Earth: Music for the Strings of Mali has been extolled for its “depthless beauty” and “dream-like improvisatory nature.”
A young Australian in her senior year at Juilliard, Ms. Khoury is getting to be known for the spiciness of her Bach interpretations. She studies guitar with Sharon Isbin.
Chinese folk songs, Beijing operas, the jazz of Monk and Basie, all infuse Min Xiao-Fen’s approach to the pipa, a four-stringed lute that dates back centuries. A native of Nanjing, she composes, improvises, sings, and continually expands the pipa repertoire.
A jazz artist equally at home in ethereal sonic structures and “noise,” Ben Monder has performed with iconic drummer Paul Motian, the singer Theo Bleckmann, and on the late David Bowie’s final album Blackstar.
Master of an instrument that gained popularity across Europe in Medieval times, Nigel North has recorded the complete lute works of English Renaissance composer John Dowland as well as transcribed Bach’s cello suites and solo violin works for the lute.
The cinematically conceived one-woman project by ambient guitarist Sarah Lipstate. Noveller begins where Brian Eno and Vini Reilly end, creating “chill” soundscapes that have a fierce emotional core.
Co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition and auteur of the metal-funk band Living Colour. Reid will play duets with the celestial multi-instrumentalist Laraaji.
Composer/guitarist Gyan Riley erases the boundaries between jazz, world music, and contemporary classical. He’s one-half of the chamber-folk duo Probosci, and has performed with Zakir Hussain, Dawn Upshaw, and his dad, the pianist/composer Terry Riley.
A Palestinian virtuoso of the oud (an ancient Middle Eastern instrument that pre-dates even the lute) Simon Shaheen plays traditional Arabic music as well as jazz fusion.
An adherent of traditional flamenco even as she pushes the genre in new directions, guitarist, singer, dancer, and rule-bender Marija Temo frequently performs with chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras. She appears in Sobre las Olas, a documentary on flamenco in the U.S.
An Appalachian otherworldliness permeates the music of Nashville’s William Tyler. Through intimate yet sonically cavernous structures, Tyler’s incantatory fingerstyle suggests John Fahey playing ragas.
With his 1970s-inspired debut album Primrose Green, young singer-songwriter Ryley Walker evokes the moody Brit pop vibe of Van Morrison, Nick Drake, and Tim Buckley.