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International Guitar Festival of Great Britain and other guitar business...

Hello everyone,

I thought I would do a post about last week - it was full of guitar shenanigans! First I'll start with the International Guitar Festival of Great Britain...

Each year, the Liverpool Guitar Society has played some part in the IGFGB and this year was no different. We had two important slots: the guitar ensemble, directed by yours truly, played in the Floral Pavillion after the '6 Hands' concert and various ensembles of the LGS played in the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum.

I was so excited about the ensemble performing as this is it's first official public performance since I have been the Musical Director. It's taken some time and hard work to get the ensemble where it is now and we are only getting better! We played just a short set after the '6 Hands' gig in the plaza lounge at the Floral: 'Reflexions' by Peter van der Staak, 'The Greenwood Tree' trad., 'Reverie' by Debussy, 'Villanos' by Gaspar Sanz and 'Samba Lele' trad. Head to the Liverpool Guitar Society Facebook page to watch a video of 'Samba Lele' (featuring some awful dancing by me...)

John Williams and Gary Ryan emerged from the theatre after the show to watch the ensemble but alas, they missed it... they'll have to catch us next time. However, we did have a good chat with both guys and they were kind enough to have a photo with us:

I might add that one aspect of the concert I really enjoyed was the inclusion of African music (African composers, African folksongs, compositions inspired by the sounds of Africa). This was so much more refreshing than the standard Eurocentric world of classical music.

The following evening was the LGS ensemble concert in the Williamson. In the first half Yvonne and I played duo as well as another duo and in the second half a guitar quartet played. For our duo set, Yvonne and I played: The Sea Suite by Laurie Randolph and 'Lullaby' and 'Ballad' from Cambridge Suite by Nikita Koshkin. We are on a bit of a mission. We are aiming to promote and play music by living and 20th century composers - with a special interest in female composers. I recently read and article that stated that only 76 out of 1445 concerts across the world from this year to 2019 include at least once piece by a woman. The figures show that out of a total of 3524 musical works performed, only 2.3% will be pieces composed by a woman. It's hard to believe this is the case given that there are SO many great female composers out there... This issues deserves a post of it's own - at the very least. There are plenty of publications on this topic, so in the meantime I will stick to what I got up to last week. (Now I am thinking of all the reading I can do on female composers and the constructed patriarchal canon...)

FYI: you can read the article I read here.

The evening was a success for the guitar society - although the audience numbers were not as great as last year, we have (hopefully) some good recordings out of the event and it was a great opportunity for some of our players to get some performance practice. A special thanks to Skyhawk Pictures for taking this fabulous shot of Yvonne and I...

So what else have I been up to...?

Earlier in the week, pre-IGFBG I was recording some music with the hopes of turning it into a video... that will be coming soon so keep your eyes peeled. I'm not sure how other people find recording, but I really struggled! After getting warmed up, things were going well but upon playing the same piece for the 784397th time, I noticed my concentration was really slacking. I'll keep trying, but any tips on how to stay in good form when recording would be welcome!

The night after the Williamson concert, my little guitarists I teach in school had their first classical guitar performance in the town civic hall with 200 (yes, 200!) people in the audience. I was SO proud of them - they were amazing! I can't believe how far they've come in six months. From not being able to read music - let alone translate this on to the guitar - to playing together as an ensemble. They played a trio arrangement of 'Villancico' and one star guitarist did a short solo - the Harry Potter theme of course, classical guitar style!

Currently, I am still working on getting more pieces by female composers in my South American themed repertoire. After getting in touch with Claudia Montero, I am now working on her Tres Colores Porteños, check it out - it's beautiful!

I am also looking forward to attending the IGF Summit in Kings Place, London, in July. Some classical guitar legends will be there, including Leo Brouwer and David Russell, so I'm looking forward to attending masterclasses, lessons and concerts and learning as much as I can from the fabulous teachers that will be there.

Thanks for reading... that's all for now...

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