South African guitarist Derek Gripper is the kind of musician who makes painstakingly difficult technique sound like the product of effortless musicianship and adventurous curiosity. Though he trained a classical violinist, he is perhaps best known for transcribing music played on the 21-string kora instrument from West Africa and arranging it for guitar. Last year, he presented a TEDx talk about his work and we strongly encourage you to check it out.

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!  

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