Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Happy New Year & Winter-Spring 2020

There are firsts in 2020 beginning right away!

Dear Music Lovers,
I am looking forward to an exciting year of music making. The next few months will hear 35+ different solo and chamber pieces including multiple premieres, new arrangements, and a few commissions. ¡Guitar + Electronics!
For the first time I will be Musician in Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada beginning this Monday, where I will continue my exploration of John Cage on Guitar. February brings recording contemporary music and touring ¡Con Fuego!. In March & April I join violist Michael Hall for concerts in NYC & Boston, before doing a solo tour in California. Balancing the many programs and projects is a challenge, but I’m a professional. It’s what I do.
Read below about a new Cage edition from Edition Peters, as well as new videos, AND you can follow my Banff experience on social media. Click on the symbols on the top right to join in the fun.
May 2020 bring peace, great adventures, a bit of bubbly, and great music to all!
Musically,
Aaron

*Go to Aaron’s Calendar for concert details!

CAGE: PIANO MUSIC – New Edition!

I am very pleased to announce that Edition Peters has released the 2nd edition of my JOHN CAGE: PIANO MUSIC ARRANGED FOR GUITAR, and it includes TWO additional pages of notes!
The notes gives context to the works, a few thoughts on interpretation, and ideas how to approach them as a guitarist.
*Check out the wonderful review of the editions in the Fall 2019 edition of Soundboard

Go to Edition Peters to get your copy:
https://www.edition-peters.com/product/piano-music-arranged-for-guitar/ep68585
The holidays aren’t over yet!!

Soundboard Score+Album Reviews

CAGE: PIANO MUSIC ARRANGED FOR GUITAR (Edition Peters): “I would strongly advocate these compositions to be performed by young guitarists before they start working on any other contemporary composers.”
– Soundboard, Vol. 45, No. 3, p. 55

JOHN. CAGE. GUITAR. (Stone Records): “[Bacchanale] is a marvelous racket! The artist, who did all of the arrangements, is greatly to be commended for this project, for which he also provided the fascinating liner notes. As noted earlier, recorded sound is crystalline.” – Soundboard, vol. 45, No. 3, p. 57

*Author was notified of name spelling mistake. It’s disturbing…

Meet the Artists: Katherine & Robert Bender

I met the Bender Family at the 2011 Guitar Foundation of America where I gave a lesson to Kenneth, son of Robert and Katherine. Beyond the obvious talent Kenneth possessed, I found Robert to be very talented with the camera and a wonderful guy to talk to.

I visited and stayed with them in 2012 on a run of southern California concerts. Catherine joined me the following New Years for an excellent adventure of music, BBQ and friendship. The painting at right was done in 2012. I love the energy, vivid colors, and my Spock-like ears!! (Better to hear the timbres!). Hands, waves, love…what else. They also have two large puppies, who are always on hand for music on the guitar .

The husband and wife duo also do some beautiful ceramic work. As a thank you for teaching, I received a gift from Kenneth that hangs on my music wall. We have other works by them. As I get a pictures I will add them to this post.

Check out their work at Karob Studios, and visit when in Southern California!

¡Viva las Artistas!

18 Musical Amazings for 2018!

18. Celebrated after many concerts and classes!

17. Classes and lectures at Temple University, Sacramento State, Tainan University (Taiwan), Bowdoin College, Berklee College of Music, Miko Academy (Taiwan), University of Massachusetts Boston

16. Premiered arrangements of Castelnouvo-Tedesco, J.S. Bach, Reynaldo Hahn, and John Cage.

15. Two performances in Madrid, Spain, and two performances for F13 Concerts in Mainz, Germany: Numbers 4 & 5!!

14. Performed with Radius Ensemble, South Coast Chamber Music Series, Music Street, In A Landscape, and Astoria Music Festival.

13. Multiple concert, publication, and CD reviews by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Mu Phi Epsilon ‘Triangle’, This is Classical Guitar, and Classical Guitar Magazine.

12. Arranged music by John Cage, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Franz Schubert, and J.S. Bach.

11. Touring in Oregon and Washington with Hiroya Tsukamoto.

10. Spring West Coast Solo and Chamber Music Tour of 13 events in 15 days beginning in Southern California moving to the Bay Area and Sacramento and finishing in Oregon!

9. Collaborations with cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer, baritones Richard Zeller & Ian Pomerantz, violinists Sharan Leventhal & Danny Koo, pianist Dian Braun, guitarists Tim Pence and Adam Levin, flamenco dancer/singer La Conja.

8. All New Lullaby Concert ‘Night Songs’ at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Salem State University (Arts Residency).

7. Premieres of New Lullabies by Stephanie Ann Boyd, Koji Nakano, Milad Yousufi and  Roger Eon (#52-55).

6. 1st All-Bach Concert

5. John. Cage. Guitar. CD Release Concert!

4. Paris Debut

3. Asian debut in Taiwan!

2. Release of John. Cage. Guitar. on Stone Records!

1. BBQ with friends, coffee with colleagues, celebrations with family.

Wishing everyone many more good years of music, adventure, great food and heartfelt relationships.

Prepared Guitars – Bacchanale by Cage

Bacchanale by John Cage

Prepared Piano intoPrepared Guitars

Bacchanale was Cage’s first piece for prepared piano. Finding that the stage was too small for both  dancer/choreographer Syvilla Fort and the needed battery of percussion, so Cage decided to fix weather stripping, bolts, screws and nuts into the strings of the piano to create a percussion ensemble, Fort, a colleague of Cage’s at Cornish College, asked for a composition of African inspiration. Only twelve notes are used in the piece, all of which are prepared. In the piano version preparation is predominantly weatherstripping and the performer is instructed to “determine position and size of mutes by experiment.

*click below to listen to Aaron & Adam Levin perform Bacchanale – track 14

Translating the preparations to the guitar posed a couple of challenges and I asked myself a few questions:

Q: Why prepare the strings at all, since the guitar will already not sound like a prepared piano?

A: I actually played the work completely as written with no preparations for a while. It fits on two guitars (guitar 1 = right hand, guitar 2 = left hand), without much adjustment, so I knew it was possible.

I was also not a big fan of prepared guitar with the works I had heard and seen in the past. At times I felt such works were more of an excuse to the performer to be seen as dramatic and serious. But, as I listened to more and more recordings of prepared piano and experienced the vast changes of timbre and percussion vs. piano sounds, I was inspired to experiment on my own.

Q: Isn’t guitar already considered a percussion instrument. 

A: Yes and no. A flamenco guitar has a much lower action (strings closer to the fret board), which allows the strings to hit the frets when played apoyando (reststroke) or rasgueado (flamenco strumming). In such case, yes, it is both melody and percussion.

A classical guitar has a higher action (strings further from the fret board), which allows for more timbre choice, louder individual notes, more resonance, and depending on the player, cleaner tone.

These are broad generalizations, and do not say one is better than the other. Each guitar represents a very different style of music and artists are aware of it.

As a side note, a recording engineer I work with originally didn’t want to record guitar, because to him it just sounds like a box with strings. I convinced him otherwise.

Q: What are some of the challenges of preparing the guitar? 

A: 1 – Gravity. If I clip something on to the strings and hold the guitar in the normal playing position those clips can easily flip towards the ground touching ‘higher’ strings or the wood of the soundboard. I also had to find a way to hold the substitute for weatherstripping in the strings without letting it fall out when being played.

2 – Only one string. Each note of the piano has three strings, so one can add a screw between two strings and not touch any other pitch.

3 – No slurs. Yes, if you do a left hand slur (hammer or pull off) the preparations don’t really sound.

4 – Nylon strings and no cast iron frame. Since the strings use much less tension weatherstripping will completely mute the string. I had to find a substitute that gave a percussive sound and a bit of pitch.

Q: When and where can I get the score?

A: Edition Peters will be publishing my arrangement in early 2019.

Piano Preparations

Guitar Preparations

Purchase the album on Amazon: http://a.co/d/1u6L6kk

PRESS RELEASE – John. Cage. Guitar.

JOHN. CAGE. GUITAR.

CD RELEASE DATE: 2 November 2018
Stone Records Limited

AARON LARGET-CAPLAN, GUITAR
SHARAN LEVENTHAL, VIOLIN
ADAM LEVIN, GUITAR

International guitar virtuoso Aaron Larget-Caplan returns with a second ground-breaking recording for Stone Records. The first classical guitar recording dedicated to the music of John Cage, it features seven early and mid-career compositions, dating from 1933 through 1950 for solo guitar, violin and guitar, and prepared guitar duo. The music is playful, meditative, meandering, introspective, large, quiet, rambunctious, haunting, and regal. Lyricism of Satie and foreshadowing of minimalism and even rock are present on the album.

Aaron was first introduced to the music of John Cage as a student at the New England Conservatory. Disappointed by the lack of representation by mid-century American composers in the guitar repertoire, Aaron chose to make his own arrangements of Cage’s music; the first officially sanctioned arrangements of the 20th century American icon for guitar – now published by Edition Peters. He found similarities in arranging Cage to arranging Bach, claiming the music to be so strong on its own that instrumentation felt secondary: Beautiful music is beautiful. All guitar parts were originally written for solo piano or prepared piano. The compositions required few adjustments from the originals and fit very well on the guitar. Aaron is joined by violinist Sharan Leventhal (Kepler String Quartet) and guitarist Adam Levin.

Whether a cognoscente or someone who wants to discover more about John Cage, this disc is a wonderful recital of one of the great twentieth-century composers, newly imagined and expertly played by wonderful artists.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

“Aaron Larget-Caplan is a riveting artist. His classical guitar performance was a treasure”
– The Washington Post

“A fascinating program … with irresistible mastery”
– American Record Guide

“Astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy”
– Boston Musical Intelligencer

BIOGRAPHIES

Aaron Larget-Caplan is a classical guitarist noted for his “astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), renowned for as a recording and touring artist throughout Europe, Russia and the United States. A champion of new music and collaborations, Aaron has premiered over 80 solo and chamber compositions, many being the first compositions for guitar by the commissioned composers. In concerts and recordings, Aaron utilizes many of his own arrangements of music by J.S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Reynaldo Hahn, and numerous Spanish composers. His arrangements of John Cage are the first officially sanctioned arrangements of Cage’s music for guitar and are exclusively published by Edition Peters. Aaron is the founder of the New Lullaby Project, a 21st century commissioning and recording endeavour, which has seen over 55 premieres since 2007 of classical miniatures in the genre of a lullaby.

Sharan Leventhal, violin, has toured four continents as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. She has received grants from the NEA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording, Chamber Music America, New Music U.S.A., and the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, and has premiered well over 130 works. Sharan has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, is a founding member of the Kepler Quartet, Marimolin, and Gramercy Trio, and can be heard on the New World, Northeastern, Newport Classic, Naxos, Navona, GM and Catalyst labels. She teaches at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music, and is founder and director of Play On, Inc., a non-profit supporting chamber music programs for children.

Adam Levin is a guitarist praised for his “visceral and imaginative” performances (Washington Post) and has performed extensively throughout the USA, Europe, and South America. He has received numerous top prizes, including the Fulbright Scholarship, the Program for Cultural Cooperation Fellowship from Spain’s Cultural Ministry, and the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship to research and perform contemporary Spanish guitar repertoire in Madrid, Spain. He commissioned thirty solo guitar works from four generations of contemporary Spanish composers, which resulted in a contract for a four-volume encyclopaedic series for Naxos, 21st Century Spanish Guitar.

www.stonerecords.co.uk

ENDS

 

Artists:                               Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitar); Sharan Leventhal (violin); Adam Levin (guitar)

Disc:                                 John. Cage. Guitar.

Label:                                Stone Records

Catalogue number/barcode:  5060192780833

Release date:                     2 November 2018

Track Listing:

1.       A Room

2.       Three Easy Pieces – I – Round

3.       Three Easy Pieces – II – Duo

4.       Three Easy Pieces – III – Infinite Canon

5.       Chess Pieces

6.       Dream

7.       Six Melodies – I – Melody 1

 

8.       Six Melodies – II – Melody 2

9.       Six Melodies – III – Melody 3

10.     Six Melodies – IV – Melody 4

11.     Six Melodies – V – Melody 5

12.     Six Melodies – VI – Melody 6

13.     In a Landscape

14.     Bacchanale

 

Cage for Guitar Review

The first review of CAGE – PIANO MUSIC ARRANGED FOR GUITAR!!

Thanks to Julio J. Sequeira and the quarterly MU PHI EPSILON (ΜΦΕ) Triangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ IT ONLINE: http://online.fliphtml5.com/tuhv/dvrd/#p=10

Thank you 2017!

2017 was musically exciting and adventurous. New collaborations with wonderful musicians and composers pushed me in new directions, for which I am grateful. I am extremely grateful for the friends and family that listen, support, and attend concerts. Also, to the many students who work every day to be better musicians and to find the music in daily life. 

May 2018 be all that you wish for: to good strings, exciting music, and lovely people!

Happy New Year!
Aaron

Musical Highlights of 2017

Concerts in Granada & Extremadura, Spain with cellist Kathleen Balfe
(Spain premieres by Thomas L. Read & Tom Flaherty)

Composers Ian Wiese, Tim Pence, Vineet Shende, Francine Trester, Scott Wheeler, & David McMullin

All-New Lullaby Concerts at the ICA Boston and Coaster Theater, Oregon!

New Lullaby World Premieres by Vineet Shende, Ian Wiese & Stanley Hoffman (New Lullaby Premiere #52!)

A World of Guitar kickoff tour in Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee with guitarists Peter Janson and Steve Davison

World premieres of Carnatic Preludes, After J.S. Bach (N. 1, 11) by Vineet Shende

Concerto debut with the North Shore Philharmonic under Robert Lehman

All-John Cage concerts in Mainz, Germany and the Mantova Chamber Music Festival, Italy

Recorded Concert Champêtre for cello & guitar by Thomas L. Read with Rafael Popper-Keizer

Astoria Music Festival debut with bass-baritone Richard Zeller

A World of Guitar west coast tour of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona with Peter Janson.

Lecture and performance for the 2017 MU PHI EPSILON tri-annual Convention in Denver

First John Cage for Guitar Lecture-Performance at the Mannes School of Music

Publication of John Cage’s Piano Music Arranged for Guitar by Edition Peters!!

Recording begun of John Cage for Guitar at the Kitchen with engineer Steve Hunt and guests Adam Levin (guitar) and Sharan Leventhal (violin)

Recent Fan Letters!

On occasion I get notes from fans following concerts or after they hear a CD or a podcast. Happily, this is occurring more and more!

Here are a few recents:

1 – “A note to say how much I enjoyed your concert. It is one thing to see an accomplished musician play his instrument; it’s quite another to see and listen to a brilliant musician who is at one with the guitar. Truly, as I sat there, I felt the connection between you and your guitar – they were one. This doesn’t happen often, so I’m glad I saw you perform. At times, the guitar sounded as a harpsichord; at others, like a violin. That is a testament to the musician.” – Jan., Oregon

2 – “Your CD. Wow! You have wonderfully braved the criticism of the fuddy-duddy classical ineffectuals. The choices and playing have opened your music to a much wider audience. I’m sharing the experience with friends and family, we are all on board. Another thing I really appreciate about the CD, you are willing to follow the lead of the last half of the 20th century and move away from strictly tonal music. Please keep it up.” – David C., Oregon

3 – Aaron, I recently listened to your interview with Bret Williams and videos at Savage Classical — both were excellent!! Thank you for continuing to push the guitar forward!! – Ben R., NY

4 – Wonderful concert yesterday! I was honored to be in the audience. – Mary J., Oregon

5 – “It looks like Aaron is ready to make a big splash In New York. It’s funny, I played his [Legend ofHagoromo CD yesterday, and the thought occurred to me that, if you hadn’t seen him perform it, you might think it was some trick done during the recording.” – Carolyn E., – Oregon