Music I Am #34 – Vivian Fang Liu – Pianist, Singer Songwriter, Educator

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

I started to learn piano at 5 years old, and it became part of my life. I never thought I would do anything else other than music.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Have an open heart to listen

Two ways you stay motivated:

Pure joy of creating something new and curiosity

Latest Project:

My new children’s album Shape of Eyes








What inspired it:

It’s inspired by my students’ and my stories. I think all shapes, colors, races are beautiful. It’s an album about self-love and diversity.

Who’s on it:

You will know very soon when it’s released. I’m having so much fun to work with so many amazing artists and making new friends!

How do you discover new music?

Social medias and my students.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Fu Cong and Mel Bonis

Where can we find you online?

All streaming platforms and social medias

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

My students are going to perform at Carnegie Hall this week and Royal Albert Hall next month. and I’m going to conduct a children’s choir to sing national anthem at Citi Field and I’m going to perform at Boston Jazz Festival in August.

Music I Am #33 – Thomas L. Read, composer

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

When I heard Fritz (not Gustav) Mahler conduct Beethoven’s Seventh.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

An interest in developing entrepreneurial ability.

Two ways you stay motivated:

Playing and listening to other’s music.

Latest Project:

Writing a book: “Practicum Preparatory to Post-Tonal Composition”
Release date TBA

What inspired it:

The possibility of developing a foundation technique for composing music in an age where

post-tonality and extended tonality exist side by side. The usual composition texts proceed with style study, and PC set theory with comparatively little or superficial attention to post-tonal rhythm. How time is made manifest seems more basic to different musical styles than selected pitch class combinations.

Who’s on it:

Beside myself– former students, venerable published texts.

How do you discover new music?

Paying attention to new scores, recordings and concert life here and abroad.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Living: Carter Pann
Dead: Johann Pisendel

Where can we find you online?

Zimbel Records
Navona records
American Composers Alliance

* Editor’s Note: Thomas L. Read has written multiple works for Aaron Larget-Caplan, including two New Lullabies for his New Lullaby Project, the quintet ‘Capricci‘ for guitar & strings, a cello & guitar duo ‘Concert Champêtre‘, and a duo for viola & guitar ‘Traverllers Frolic’ (to be premiered). The editor is a longtime fan of Read’s music and believes wholeheartedly that you will be too if you listen.

Rocket Shop, November 2015, Photos by James Lockridge









Bargemusic NYC Return on Oct. 6

Photo L-R: Kevin Siegfried, Alan Hovhaness, Stephanie Ann Boyd, Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Aaron Larget-Caplan,
and Keigo Fujii


Guitar Virtuoso Aaron Larget-Caplan to Mesmerize Audiences Once Again at Bargemusic’s ‘Eclectic Series’ Performance

Photo by Tracey Yarad, April 2023

BROOKLYN, NY — August 15, 2024 — Bargemusic, New York’s premier floating concert hall, is thrilled to announce the highly-anticipated return of guitarist and composer Aaron Larget-Caplan to its stage. On Friday, October 6, 2024, at 7:00 pm, Bargemusic will be transformed into a musical haven as Larget-Caplan presents his extraordinary solo program, “Dances, Dreams, and Legends.”  

Larget-Caplan promises an enchanting evening of musical diversity, showcasing a fusion of cultures, emotions, and legends through the language of the guitar. The program, “Dances, Dreams, and Legends,” will feature an eclectic repertoire that includes dances from Brazil, Spain, and the United States, contemporary lullabies composed specifically for Larget-Caplan’s groundbreaking New Lullaby Project, and a monumental solo piece inspired by the captivating 13th-century Japanese legend of Hagoromo.

Lovers of classical and contemporary guitar music will be treated to compositions by Isaac Albéniz, J.S. Bach, Antonio Jobim, and Keigo Fujii. Additionally, the evening features the New York premieres of compositions by Alan Hovhaness, Stephanie Anne Boyd, Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Kevin Siegfried, and Larget-Caplan.

Join us for an unforgettable evening of musical artistry as Aaron Larget-Caplan returns to Bargemusic to weave a captivating tapestry of melodies, rhythms, and legends through his guitar.

Larget-Caplan will be giving classes at Hunter College (10/4) and Juilliard Pre-College (10/6). More are being added. 


Photo by Tracey Yarad, April 2023

Event Details:
Date and Time: Friday, October 6, 2024, at 7:00 pm
Admission: $35

Fulton Ferry Landing
Brooklyn Bridge Blvd
Brooklyn, NY 11201

For ticket information and reservations, please visit: 

FB Event: HERE

About Aaron Larget-Caplan:

Aaron Larget-Caplan is an internationally acclaimed guitarist and composer known for his virtuosity and passion for expanding the boundaries of classical guitar music. His ten albums have earned over 5-million streams since 2021, and he has received numerous awards and accolades for his groundbreaking projects and performances, making him a prominent figure in the contemporary and classical music scene.

About Bargemusic:

Bargemusic, moored at the scenic Fulton Ferry Landing under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, is a unique floating concert venue offering exceptional performances and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Renowned for its commitment to bringing world-class music to the heart of New York City.

Photo by Tracey Yarad, April 2023

Scores Published: honey cadence

Larget-Caplan’s Debut Compositions “honey cadence” Published

Boston, MA — Celebrated guitarist and composer Aaron Larget-Caplan announces the inaugural collection of compositions, “honey cadence,” published by the New York publisher American Composers Alliance (ACA). This groundbreaking collection of six captivating meditative guitar solos showcases Larget-Caplan’s exceptional musicality and introduces audiences to a new side of the celebrated performer.

The compositions featured on “honey cadence” were meticulously crafted by Larget-Caplan during the latter part of 2021 and early 2022. Each piece reflects his profound connection to the guitar as a medium for expressing emotions and evoking introspective journeys. The album’s meditative nature is designed to envelop listeners in a tranquil and contemplative sonic landscape, offering moments of serenity in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Released as an EP in 2022, “honey cadence” has since garnered extraordinary acclaim, amassing over 3-million streams since its debut on the label Tiger Turn, a testament to Larget-Caplan’s ability to resonate with a wide range of listeners. Produced by multi-Grammy winner Kabir Sehgal, the album exemplifies a harmonious collaboration between two brilliant minds in the world of music.

Commenting on the creative process behind “honey cadence,” Larget-Caplan expressed, “I started sketching melodies and gestures that were floating in my head with the intent of creating an album of meditative intimacy, which though on the quiet side, would be able to keep one’s attention. Improvisations highlighting my preferred qualities of the guitar: tone and timbre variation, note doubling, harmonics, pitch bends, and percussion gave me the confidence and freedom to explore. Each of the six titles has a connection to music, as well as general language, i.e., ‘anticipation’ is a musical ornament and linguistically expresses expectation or prediction.”

Physical scores or PDFs of the 32-page publication are available. They include notes and instructions about each of the compositions, as well as inspiring quotes by composer John Cage, Toru Takemitsu, and Larget-Caplan.

As a respected figure in the world of classical and contemporary guitar, Aaron Larget-Caplan has continuously pushed the boundaries of his craft, garnering recognition for his innovative approach to both performance and composition. “honey cadence” stands as a testament to his artistic evolution and serves as a testament to his dedication to enriching the world of music.

For further information and to explore the mesmerizing sounds of “honey cadence,” please follow Aaron Larget-Caplan on social media platforms.


honey cadence Links:

ACA (PDF & physical)Score Collection: Bandcamp (autographed and includes free download of album)

Amazon  • AppleSpotify 

About Aaron Larget-Caplan:

Aaron Larget-Caplan is an acclaimed guitarist, composer, and educator known for his pioneering approach to classical and contemporary guitar music. With a career spanning decades, Larget-Caplan has established himself as a dynamic and innovative artist, captivating audiences with his emotive performances and groundbreaking compositions. His work has been recognized globally, earning him a reputation as a trailblazer in the world of music.

Socials: fb/ig/x: @alcguitar, yt/tt: @aaronlcguitar

About American Composers Alliance:

The American Composers Alliance (ACA) is a renowned organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of American contemporary classical music. Founded in 1937 by such luminaries as Aaron Copland, ACA has played a pivotal role in nurturing the work of composers across generations, fostering a vibrant community of creators and performers who shape the landscape of modern composition. 

Album Review – Spanish Candy – Five Stars!


Aaron Larget-Caplan (gtr) • TIGER TURN 888-10 (31:58)

ALBÉNIZ Suite española No. 1, op. 47: No. 3, Sevilla. Granada (both arr. Larget-Caplan). Suite española No. 2, op. 97: No. 4, Zambra granadiana. SANLÚCAR Mantilla de Feria. TÁRREGA La Paloma. La Mariposa. Lágrima. Recuerdos de la Alhambra. MARQUINA España Cañi.

Five stars: A beautiful homage from a master guitarist to Spain. “Candy” it might be, but offered at the highest level.

Only 6 of Aaron Larget-Caplan’s 10 discs has been reviewed in Fanfare. I reviewed two of them: Honey Cadence in Fanfare 46:1, comprised of some of Larget-Caplan’s own compositions and God’s Time, a disc devoted to Larget-Caplan’s transcriptions of Bach keyboard works for guitar (47:4). This new disc, Spanish Candy is his tenth album (no flies on me for knowing this!) and celebrates his love for Spanish music and flamenco, mixing arrangements of works originally for piano with pieces for guitar. It was Spanish music that inspired Larget-Caplan as a child, so the project is clearly dear to his heart. As he says, “this music lit a flame in my heart and literally changed my life”; inevitably, Segovia was a large influence.

This is his fourth disc on Tiger Turn records (and, indeed, with successful producer Kabir Sehgal) Larget-Caplan’s trademark technical security mixed with flair and élan fits this music perfectly. He also has a long history of working with flamenco dancers in a classical-flamenco fusion via his ensemble ¡Con Fuego!.

The attractive “Zambra granadina,” the fourth and final movement of the 1888 Suite española No. 2, is deservedly popular. Larget-Caplan’s rhythmic sense is the key to the success of the reading, while his timbral excellence and variety enlivens the musical surface. The recording, close and clear, supports his every move, The more extrovert “Sevilla” (from the first Suite) speaks of blazing sunshine, propelled along by its internal rhythms. Larget-Caplan’s articulation is splendid.

Composed by flamenco guitarist Esteban De Sanlúcar (1910-89), Mantilla de Feria is a gentler beast, and here it is Larget-Caplan’s control that is so impressive, maintaining a low dynamic while projecting the spirit of dance. As he does in the habanera, La Paloma by Francisco Tárrega. The layering of bassline rhythm and sweet (and very famous) melody is exquisitely judged, the intervening registral space carrying an implicit loneliness. The next piece La Mariposa, is complex yet brief; the rather more restrained Lágrima sings a sweet song in response. Perhaps a touch more flow would have sealed the deal here: expression that works in the concert hall sometimes can feel stilted in the recording studio. No such caveats about the remarkably peaceful Recuerdos de la Alhambra (an impression helped by Larget-Caplan’s superb tremolo technique). The final offering of the five-piece Tárrega sequence is Prudent, a minor-key étude of great poignancy while maintaining its study-like demeanor.

The last piece by Albéniz follows: the serenata Granada. And what colors Larget-Caplan is able to conjure up from his guitar here! Of all the loveliness on this disc, this performance is the fairest (and if that sounds like a slender maiden, it is not by accident: there is grace galore here). Finally, Pascual Marquina Narro’s España Cañi (Gypsy Spain; the composer is better known with “Pasquina” as the surname). Larget-Caplan puts a whole lot into his performance so the listener can draw a whole lot out. Detail is brilliantly projected, while the music itself is infused with the spirit of the pasodoble.

A beautiful homage from a master guitarist to Spain. “Candy” it might be, but offered at the highest level. Recommended.  Colin Clarke

Five stars: A beautiful homage from a master guitarist to Spain. “Candy” it might be, but offered at the highest level.

This article originally appeared in Issue 47:2 (Nov/Dec 2023) of Fanfare Magazine.

AWARD Publishing: Cage’s Bacchanale


The Music Publishers Association of the United States presented a Paul Revere Award for Graphic Excellence in June to Aaron Larget-Caplan for his arrangement of Bacchanale by John Cage, for two prepared guitars published by Edition Peters. The Bacchanale publication was issued in the fall of 2022 and won second prize in Music for Fretted Instruments category.

It is the third in a series of John Cage arrangements for guitar done by Larget-Caplan. The first ‘Six Melodies’ for violin and guitar from 2015 were followed by a collection of seven solos by Cage titled ‘Piano Music for Guitar’ in 2017. They are the first arrangements to receive permission from the Cage estate for publication, and have been widely acclaimed for their inventiveness, quality, and playability.

Larget-Caplan recorded all these compositions on his extensively praised album, ‘John. Cage. Guitar.’ It was issued by Stone Records (UK) in 2018. Classical Guitar Magazine said, “Aaron Larget-Caplan is fast becoming perhaps the greatest guitar advocate for the music of John Cage.”

Originally a solo work for prepared piano written in 1948 for dancer and choreographer Syvilla Fort, Bacchanale requires the performer to “prepare” the piano. Fort asked Cage for a work for percussion ensemble, but there was not enough room on stage, so Cage experimented by putting items in the piano itself like screws, bolts, washers and insulation. Bacchanale is the first of his works to do such preparations, and he would go to win a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award from the National Academy of Arts and Letters for his invention of the prepared piano.

Established in 1964 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the first music engraving in America by the famous silversmith Paul Revere, Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were initially given as a means of alerting the music industry to the advantages of providing the best possible publication from the viewpoint of engraving, graphic arts and production standards. Today the awards still recognize outstanding examples of graphic design, with an emphasis on usability for orchestras, educators, libraries and individuals.

This is the second publication of Larget-Caplan’s to have received Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence from the MPA. In 2021, Larget-Caplan’s Nights Transfigured, Volume 1 of the New Lullaby Project Anthology published in partnership with the American Composers Alliance won multiple awards: 1st prize for Guitar Music Notesetting, and 2nd prize for Book Design and Cover Design.

*See blog post on Nights Transfigured award

Award Information (click)

1st Prize: Two Sides (Pierre Jalbert) Schott Music Corporation
Notesetter: Philip Rothman
Production Coordinator: Scott Wollschleger

2nd Prize: Bacchanale (John Cage, Arr. Aaron Larget-Caplan) Edition Peters USA
Notesetter: Aaron Larget-Caplan

Book Design: Héctor Colón
Production Coordinator: Owen Summers


Bandcamp (autographed by Larget-Caplan) • Alfred Music


“John. Cage. Guitar. is an excellent introduction to those who want to approach [Cage] for the first time. Highly recommended.” ~ NeuGuitars (Italy)

“John. Cage. Guitar., quite properly, knows no fear in its blend of delicacy, complexity and amiable simplicity.” ~ Music Web International


Stone RecordsSpotify • AmazonApple



Music I Am #32 – Nicolás Lell Benavides, composer

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

I always credit my grandfather with showing me the joys of playing music. He is an accordionist who played traditional corridos and rancheras from the southwest, and growing up I would play the saxophone by ear with him, learning as much as I could and playing small gigs with him. The sound of an accordion is just permanently in my ear, and playing by ear allowed me to experiment with each new performance, adding a different harmony, trying out a new line, and changing the arrangement of a song. He was always so thrilled for me to learn new styles of music outside of his field, and encouraged me to learn to read sheet music in the school bands. I didn’t know anything about classical music until college, though just before graduating high school I heard my first orchestra concert and became completely enamored. Partway through my freshman year I realized one could be a composer, and I’ve never looked back! Neither of us could have imagined I would end up working in a field like this!

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Listening. It’s something I’m always working on. We are always caught up in writing, rehearsing, and performing our music that we forget a big part of our field is being in communication with each other. The best experiences I’ve had, I have to remind myself, come from going to other people’s concerts and listening without any expectation or goal. I think this applies to other fields, too, where we so frequently want to show off what we know and can do but must take time to hear about what other people can do.

Two ways you stay motivated:

Deadlines and a deeply ingrained Catholic guilt complex! Kidding, mostly, but motivation seems to be a moving target, which I think is normal. Sometimes I find I can work without stopping for hours at a time, and other times I’ll do everything right (exercise, eat, relax, turn off my phone) and then I can’t get anything done. I’ve found that it’s important to set a schedule and stick to it best I can, even if things aren’t as productive as I’d like them to be, but also be willing to assess a situation and pivot to do something else when I’m truly hitting a dead end. If my large ensemble work isn’t happening then maybe I should dabble with the piece for a solo instrument. If the opera is lagging then I should give the string quartet a try. If nothing is working maybe I should tackle my long overdue email inbox. I find I feel better at the end of the day if I’ve gotten something done, and can give myself space and time to rest and reset for the next day.

Latest Project:

Khemia Ensemble produced an album called Intersections, which features my Little Cloud. 

What inspired it:

I wrote Little Cloud as a lullaby for my newborn son. I wrote the words and music, and recorded samples of trees and birds in my neighborhood where I grew up. It talks about the Cottonwood trees at my parents’ home, and their calming “summer snow” of seeds floating on little clouds of cotton on warm summer days. I wanted him to have a connection to my home, and I planted a Cottonwood tree for him when he was born so he could grow up with it. It’s already 15 feet tall, and the same age as him!

Who’s on it:

Khemia Ensemble

How do you discover new music?

Either online or by going to shows with unexpected finds! I love that there are so many great new music ensembles in the LA area, where I live, that I can go to a show or series of concerts and find new music with ease. LA really is one of the great new music cities in the world, and I feel so lucky to live in this area. Living in Long Beach, it’s a quick drive to downtown LA or even to down south to catch just about anything I’d love to hear. I also find new music online, but truthfully nothing can replace a live performance for me bonding with something new, and so I try to see as much live music as I can.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

The dead one is harder than the living one! But living is easy: Nina Shekhar. She’s already blowing up with commissions by the NYPhil, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Eighth Blackbird, but I think every day listeners would do well to check her stuff out. It’s highly original but undeniably beautiful and human.

Dead, I would say Billy Strayhorn. You’ve heard his music without knowing his name, and I think he deserves all the credit he can get. He is mostly known as the longtime associate of Duke Ellington, but he wrote so much of the music we associate with Duke Ellington. Take the A Train, Satin Doll, and my personal favorite Lush Life.

Where can we find you online?

either my website, or on instagram where I am most active: or instagram @nlbenavides

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

Daniel Hope and New Century Chamber Orchestra are premiering my newest piece, Doña Sebastiana (Santa Muerte), as part of the California Festival this coming November!
It will come to the Bay Area November 2-5, with lots of chances to hear it live.


1 -Marella Martin Koch (librettist) and Erich Parce (director) before the premiere of our opera Tres minutos in Seattle, premiered by Music of Remembrance. Photo credit: Ben VanHouten

Photo credits:
2 – Maggie Beidelman
3 – Vivian Sachs

4 – Nicolás conducting the Pepito cast recording:

Fall 2023 Concert Preview

Fall 2023 is going to be very musical! 

Solo, Chamber Music, Choir + Guitar, and Master Classes

For information on individual concerts please go to:

More events being added.

New Press Photos + Contest

I had the pleasure of working with Paula Morin in Salem, Massachusetts recently for some new press photos. 

Do you have a favorite?

Write your answer below (see letters below for corresponding pictures) and many lucky winners will receive free bling and an album download!a,b,c,


* Click on the photo block to make them bigger

Follow Paula Morin on Instagram: @paulaevelynphotography

Music I Am #31 – Alejandro Rutty, composer and bassist

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

At 16, when my rugby coach (day job: publicist) told me that even though there is some space for creativity in advertising, in the end it’s just an office job, so if what I really cared about was creativity I was better-off going all the way and become an artist.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Reading and acquiring random knowledge

Two ways you stay motivated:

  1. I make the act of composing entertaining, so it does not feel like work (it is).
  2. I can’t help it, I have music constantly popping up in my head, so going about playing it or giving it shape is actually soothing and fulfilling.

Latest Project:

Why Bass? an album with solos, duos, trios and quartets for electric bass.









What inspired it:

A catalyst for this “all-bass” project was the wonderful 6-string bass made by Keith Roscoe in Greensboro, NC, pictured on the album cover (Roscoe LG 3006) . Playing it made me realize that the electric bass can be an exciting vehicle for my music, so I started composing and then I couldn’t stop.

Who’s on it:

This time, I played and recorded all parts, so it’s just me out there.

How do you discover new music?

I mostly play my own music, so I am not usually looking for music to play. As for music to listen to, I keep my ears open and ask around.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Michael Manring solo albums on the bass are one of a kind (especially “Small Moments”).

As for dead musicians, I am trying to forget them all and focus on the living, of which there are plenty.

Where can we find you online?