Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Pravasa for choir and guitar by Vineet Shende

Since November 2023, I have had the immense pleasure of sharing the stage with the Bowdoin Chamber Choir under conductor Jeff Christmas on the realization of 4 movements Vineet Shende’s luscious PRAVASA – TRAVELS OF THE GUITAR.
The work is an immense and colorful tapestry of emotion, exploring the migration (pravasa) of the guitar from its earliest inception (~200 bc) to post-civil war. 
Some may recall that I premiered the first four movements in 2011 with the Oratorio Chorale under Peter Frewen. For the May concert we performed movements 1, 3, 4, and premiered movement 6. Yes, movement five is in the works!
Video: Pravasa begins at 12:40, but the whole concert was just beautiful. It was amazing work with the students and I have uploaded photos to facebook (click to see). The composers program notes are in the YT video comments and below. Well worth a read.

Note by the composer

Pravasa : The impetus for this piece stems from research I did for my Spring 2010 History of the Guitar course at Bowdoin College. As many people know, the guitar’s most immediate ancestor, the vihuela, came about because of Ferdinand and Isabella’s persecution of Islamic culture in late- 15th century Spain.

Luthiers tried to distance their instrument from the Moorish oud and its round back and pear- shaped body by changing it to a “Western” flat back and waisted body (while keeping everything else basically the same). As I found out in my research, the guitar’s earlier ancestors have equally compelling story lines, and it is these story lines that I have tried to musically express in Pravasa. (Pravasa means “migration” in Sanskrit.)

Each movement of the piece focuses on a particular early relative of the guitar and uses concepts and techniques associated with that early relative.

For texts, I used poems that were written in those cultures at the same time when these instruments appeared. Whereas the long-necked lute (a plucked string instrument that has one main melodic string and one or more drone strings, such as the sitar) has a 5000-year history, the short-necked lute (where all strings are fretted, like the guitar) is relatively recent, and dates to the second-century BCE. The earliest depiction of this instrument comes from a sculpture from the ancient kingdom of Gandhara (in modern-day Pakistan). At this same site were found the earliest extant Buddhist writings in the world (on birch- bark), and I used one of these as the text for the first movement, The Rhinoceros Sutra. The Indian rhinoceros is a solitary creature, and this solitude is used as a metaphor in this sutra to illustrate the Buddhist concept of detachment from worldly and base concerns. The first section of the movement uses a driving guitar line with repeating figures that slowly expand. Over this, half of the choir sings the original Gandhari text in short, syncopated bursts while the other half sings their English translation in a sustained manner. In the second section, the text deals with the concept of detachment, and I set the Gandhari text in polyrhythmic expanding cells that quickly “detach” from semantic meaning itself. This concept continues to the aleatoric climax of the piece, where the text “becoming free of earthly intention” corresponds to freedom from meter as well. All short-necked lutes are held cradled and close to the body.

When one plays a guitar (or pipa, for that matter), one feels its vibrations against their heart. Even a slight rotation of the fingernail will cause a vast change in timbre. This intimate relationship between player and instrument is wonderfully reflected in the text of the Chinese fifth-century poem The Pipa. In setting this text, I have used many techniques associated with that instrument such as string bends, harmonics, and tremolos.

The text of the piece, At the Gateway of Rhyme, was written just as the barbat was transforming into the oud and making its way into the Arabian Peninsula. Seventh-century poet Suwayd ibn Kura’s metaphor of words as beautiful, unruly animals that must be lovingly tended, but also cajoled and herded into poems is an apt description of the creative process, and definitely one that I can relate to as a composer. Pitch material for this movement was derived from traditional Arabic maqams, and specific characteristics of the oud, such as microtonal ornamentation and double courses can be heard in the use of string bends and unison note doubling.

The banjo is a direct descendant of West African instruments such as the Senegambian Akonting. However, by the 19th century, it began to be strongly associated with a different tradition – the racist minstrel show. After the Civil War, to distance themselves from this painful connection, African Americans began to leave the banjo behind in favor of the guitar. Langston Hughes’ 1925 poem The Minstrel Man perfectly captures the shame and anger felt by African Americans compelled to participate in these humiliating minstrel shows.

In setting it, I have used many of the techniques – rolls, bends, cross-picking, etc. – that African American banjo players brought to the guitar. The influence of these banjo techniques was foundational for the sound of blues and rock, and though they began in a world of unimaginable oppression, they have ultimately made the guitar the most popular instrument played today.

I am thankful for all the work that Jeff Christmas and the Bowdoin Chamber Choir have put into Pravasa over the last year. And as you will hear, the guitar part for this piece is not only difficult, but requires familiarity with several completely different fretted instrumental traditions. I feel so grateful (and, quite frankly, spoiled) to have Aaron Larget-Caplan’s immense talent and dedication on this journey. -Vineet Shende

Aurore by Aaron Larget-Caplan • world premiere

Aurore by Aaron Larget-Caplan
On April 26, 2024 in Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University, composer and pianist John McDonald gave the world premiere of Aurore, the first piano piece of mine to be performed in public. He performed it with such love and beauty.

Happily written in January 2024 for Chinese pianist Yilin Shi, aka Yilin ‘Aurore’ Shi. Aurore means first light in French.


See John and Aaron working on Aurore at Tufts University in March 2024.


New Publication – Mystic Flute by Alan Hovhaness, Edition Peters

Latest publication: Mystic Flute by Alan Hovhaness
Now published by Edition Peters

Aaron’s 4th Publication with Edition Peters

A sweet miniature and wonderful encore, Mystic Flute was composed for solo piano in 1937. It consists of two voices: a simple melody in the harmonic minor scale balanced by an ostinato accompaniment in 7/8 meter that gives the work a hypnotic and ceremonial spirit.

The melodic line begins in the top voice, before moving to the bass voice, and returning to the top voice with small ornamentation.

PURCHASE: AmazonFaber • PrestoFicks Music

*Some offer physical scores and PDFs

As I tend to do, no notes were removed from the piano score, and all dynamic and phrase markings follow the original score as well. There are probably a couple of places where a player could adjust it more, but that is up to each of us as individuals. 

This arrangement was premiered on July 29, 2018 at the Coaster Theater in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

This is my fourth publication with Edition Peters and first that is not John Cage.

Special thanks to Gene Caprioglio, Owen Summers, and everyone at Edition Peters.

~This is Classical Guitar
(click to read)



2023 Year in Review – Adventure in Music

I am grateful for the many people who have made this year so special. At times I felt like 2023 was a normal year of music making and collaboration, and then I would be reminded that our recent past is very much with us and that the world is very fragile. 

I consider 2023 to be Adventure in Music year, and I think we have earned a bit of rest and a special cappuccino or affogato (see below) to commemorate the beauty that can exist in the world, if we so desire it.

Onward for a wonderful, safe, and healthy 2024, and thanks to all who have listened, enjoyed, and explored music with me in 2023!



  • Christopher Bush, clarinet
  • Johnathan McCullough, baritone
  • Frederic Jodry III, harpsichord
  • Robert Lehman, violin
  • Kimberly Lehman, viola
  • Rebecca Hartka, cello
  • Jeff Christmas, conductor with the Bowdoin Chamber Choir
  • Charles Coe, poet
  • Kabir Sehgal, Tiger Turn
  • Alex Fedorov, design
  • Steve Hunt, mixing and mastering
  • Gina Genova, Will Rowe, and Simon Henry Berry, American Composers Alliance
  • Gene Caprioglio, Edition Peters
  • Steve Schwartz, Your Heaven Audio
  • Michael Newman, Mannes School of Music
  • João Luiz, Hunter College
  • Tali Roth, Juilliard
  • Nick Morgan, TEDx


  • Alan Hovhaness – Mystic Flute, Op. 29arranged by ALC, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA, February 2023 (US premiere)
  • Daniel Felsenfeld – Only Winter Certainties on Bargemusic, Brooklyn, New York, April 2023 (info)
  • Sam Cave – …in the soft dark welling… at the Smith Center for the Arts, Providence College, September 2023
  • Nicolás Lell Benavides – Rinconcito for guitar & string trio, University of Southern Maine, December 2023 (info)

New Album & Recordings

  • Spanish Candy – May 26, 2023 on Tiger Turn (888-10) (info)
  • Berceuse Inquiète by Ronald Pearl, for the New Lullaby Project, live at Providence College (listen)

Album Reviews


  • honey cadence – a collection of six meditations by Aaron Larget-Caplan was published by the American Composers Alliance, May 2023 (info)

Publication Review:


  • Paul Revere Award for Graphic Excellence from The Music Publishers Association of the United States presented for Aaron’s arrangement of Bacchanale by John Cage, June 2023 (info)
  • Cultural Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for Now Musique, Feb. 2023
  • Best of 2023 by The Arts Fuse: God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar, Dec. 2023 (info)
  • Reached 6-million streams!


  • Spanish Candy intro video (watch)
  • Remembering by Laurie Spiegel, written for the New Lullaby Project (watch)
  • Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, arranged for sextet (watch)
  • Interview with Anthony R. Green (watch
  • Interview with Daniel Felsenfeld (watch)
  • TEDx – moving still by Aaron Larget-Caplan (watch

Instructional Videos:




  • New press photos with photographer Paula Morin (info)
  • TEDx – moving still by Aaron Larget-Caplan (watch

Premiere of Felsenfeld’s ‘Only Winter Certainties’

On April 15, I have the great honor and pleasure of giving the world premiere of Daniel Felsenfeld’s first guitar solo ‘Only Winter Certainties‘ on Bargemusic in Brooklyn, New York.
Danny was a doctoral student at the New England Conservatory when I was an undergraduate, so our paths did not meet directly, but it was impossible not to hear his music. Your life will be better hearing his music.
‘Only Winter Certainties is a 12min work subtitled ‘5 Preludes for guitar,’ with each movement’s individual title coming from an author or musician. Standard tuning and no extended techniques, Danny pushes the performer technically to realize a kaleidoscope of emotions while maintaining an anxious intensity and deep clarity.
Danny and I sat down last week and talked about this endeavor.  A voracious reader, Danny talks about composing, why it took so long to write for guitar, and so much more. Yes, his puppy joined us.  
Take a listen:


Upcoming Concerts

4/15 – Bargemusic concert info: HERE
5/7 – Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA: HERE
5/19 – The Music Mansion, Providence: HERE
5/20 – Now Musique at the Arlington Street Church, Boston: 

Lesson: Dream by John Cage

Recently I received a few questions from an Australian guitarist via Twitter regarding how I play a couple of spots in  John Cage’s Dream, so I decided to make a brief video on the part in question. 

Do you have questions on this piece or another of my Cage arrangements?

Let me know and I’ll go about making more.

The Lesson (3′):


Brief History: How Dream came into my life

From 2010-2014 I hosted Greater Boston House Concerts. I sat just behind the wonderful pianist Barbara Lieurance as she performed Dream.

I fell in love. The meandering line was simple yet kept me guessing where it would go.

The transparent chordal harmonies that interrupt the melodic line prepare the listener for extended melodies with the harmonies only being hinted with the magical use of the pedal allowing each note’s resonance to build upon the implied harmonies.

Single notes and their overtones become a lush painting of colors. 

Though the guitar only has one string per note (kind of) to the piano’s 3, and its lack of a sustain pedal, I decided to arrange it. 

The greatest challenge is finding a fingering that will allow for the most amount of resonance.

To do this I use campanella (cross-string fingering) and a healthy mix of natural and harmonic notes

It is recorded on John. Cage. Guitar. (Stone Records UK) and published by Edition Peters in CAGE: Piano Music Arranged for Guitar

Premiere Performance (not the same fingering):

Streaming Studio Recording (7′):


SCORE: John Cage: Piano Music Arranged for Guitar (7 pieces)

BandcampEdition Peters

Chamber Music with Convergence Ensemble

On Sunday November 20th at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, I had the pleasure of collaborating on an exciting program of chamber music for Convergence Ensemble with three wonderful musicians: violinist Heidi Braun-Hill, violist Michelle LaCourse, cellist Hyun-Ji Kwon, and myself. 

Strings Galore featured music duos with guitar for violin, viola, and cello by John Cage, Antonio Celso Ribeiro, and Thomas L. Read, as well two quartets for strings and guitar by Roland Dyens and Libby Larsen. A trio by Beethoven, and two guitar solos by Bach and yours truly rounded out the program.

Directed by Rachel Goodwin, Convergence Ensemble seeks to stimulate, support, and inspire stronger connections within and between New England communities through chamber music concerts and community enrichment programs. 

This was my first collaboration with Convergence Ensemble and the musician, and it was awesome!

Rarely do I have the pleasure of sharing 40min of chamber music, and relatively new chamber music, in a single concert. 

Huge thanks to Rachel Goodwin, Rose Hegel, and the Convergence Ensemble board for organizing the concert.

To the composers and friends Antonio Celso Ribeiro and Thomas L. Read, and to the lovely musicians who were gems to create music with.

We will be performing more, so stay tuned!



Microphone by Your Heaven Audio. Guitar strings by Hannabach

VIDEO: Prelude 1 by J.S. Bach


The first video from God’s Time – Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar

What do you think?

PUBLICATION – Cage’s Bacchanale for 2 Guitars


My arrangement of John Cage’s prepared piano work Bacchanale for 2 prepared guitars is now available through Edition Peters Group !!!

Guitar Preparations

Written in 1940, Bacchanale is the earliest of John Cage’s prepared piano works, which was originally written for choreographer and fellow faculty member at Cornish College, Syvilla Fort, who was one of the earliest black choreographers of modern dance in the US.
From John. Cage. Guitar.

“A rhythmically riotous piece, polyrhythms are created through the music’s consistently adjusting groupings and meters. Bacchanale was first conceived by Cage as a dance work for percussion ensemble by fellow Cornish College faculty choreographer Syvilla Fort, who asked for a composition of African inspiration. The space of the performance was not large enough to allow for the battery of percussion instruments, so Cage decided to fix weather stripping, bolts, screws and nuts into the strings of the piano to create a percussion ensemble, and the first work for prepared piano was born. Its large form being Fast-Slow-Fast, the outside sections are also broken into smaller sections of various levels of Fast-Faster-Fast. The middle section is marked Very Slow-Slow-Slower and has only one dynamic triple piano (ppp). The preparation of the guitars consisted of paper woven through strings 6-2, and an alligator clip on the first string with two washers around it. It is as close to rock and roll as one can get in 1940 or with classical guitars.”

It is the closing track of John. Cage. Guitar, Recorded with Adam Levin on Stone Records.

The score comes with preparation instructions and photos.

Score from Edition Peters: HERE

Signed score directly from Aaron via Bandcamp: HERE

Hear it on John. Cage. Guitar. : SPOTIFY 

Here it live on November 5 at Pomona College in Claremont, California with Aaron Larget-Caplan and Buzz Gravelle


Syvilla Fort


Videos – Guitar Salon International

On April 10, I had the pleasure of visiting Guitar Salon International in Santa Monica, California.

This was my third time recording videos for GSI.

I collaborated with  videographer Felix Salazar for a set of six videos on six different guitars.

Starting April 18, one video a week will be released on their YouTube Channel.

I performed my own composition sweet nuance, two pieces by John Cage, and three of my arrangements of J.S. Bach.

I will add the videos to this blog post as they are published.

Your comments, here or on Youtube, are greatly appreciated!

Scroll down for a playlist of my GSI Videos from the 3 visits.

And click to see a 2015 Player Spotlight they made of me.

Video 1: ‘sweet nuance’ by Aaron Larget-Caplan

Video 2: Prelude in D-minor, BWV 926 by J.S. Bach,  Arr. ALC

Video 3: Duo from Three Easy Pieces by John Cage, Arr. ALC

Video 4: Prelude in C-major, BWV 939  by J.S. Bach, Arr. ALC

Video 5: Infinite Cannon from Three Easy Pieces by John Cage, Arr. ALC

Video 6: Prelude in A-minor, BWV 999/872 by J.S. Bach, Arr. ALC

Video Playlist of 3 visits to GSI, 2015, 2017, 2022 (10 videos):