Tom Echols on Hitchcock

Better than anyone we know, Tom Echols draws together themes from art, music, literature, and film. So it is extra perfect that next Wednesday he’ll begin a two-week Insights course on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger.

Participants will get to meet composer Joseph Williams and the Texas Guitar Quartet, who will give a special preview of the new film score Williams has written!

The class meets twice—from 7 to 9pm on Wednesday, January 7th and on Tuesday, January 13th in a lovely home with wine and light refreshments.

Register for Insights online here, or call 512-300-2247.

We asked Dr. Echols some questions about Alfred Hitchcock and the role of music in film.

Dr. Thomas Echols Photo
Dr. Thomas Echols

ACG: What do you love about Hitchock?

Tom Echols: In Hitchcock, there is a synthesis of content and form: intricate plot twists and dramatic tension take place within films that, in the words of the philosopher and Hitchcock expert William Rothman, “attain a modern self-consciousness.” The films, through a variety of techniques, become a self-reflexive commentary on the nature of film itself. The influence of Hitchcock on later filmmakers is ubiquitous. In particular, the great directors of the French New Wave were strongly influenced by the “Master of Suspense.”

ACG: What's cool about the Lodger?

TE: Hitchcock spoke of The Lodger, his third directorial effort, as the first true Hitchcock film, the one that inaugurates his authorship. There are many motifs and recurring themes common to Hitchcock’s later works that are first found in The Lodger. Plus, it’s just a really fun, gripping movie!

ACG: What is the role of music in film?

TE: The score provides ambience and helps to increase the sense of dramatic tension, foreboding, or other underlying emotions and subtext. Musical motifs can mirror visual motifs in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, drawing attention to more formal aspects of the work. Many of Hitchcock’s most famous films from the 1950s and 1960s are scored by the great film composer Bernard Herman. A film critic once said that a Hitchcock film was not a Hitchcock film without a Bernard Herman score, and, Hitchcock being a bit of an egoist, this caused the great auteur to part ways with his musical collaborator. This kind of marks the end of the greatest era of Hitchcock films, so I think it shows just how important the score can be!

ACG: What can people expect to learn in your class next week?

TE: We’re going to get familiar with The Lodger and learn about visual motifs and techniques that Hitchcock used to create dramatic tension while also creating a kind of discourse about film—what it means to watch a film, to make a film, to be an actor in a film. I think participants will be surprised by how many different elements are involved in giving this film its impact.

Eight Seasons Dinner Menu

In honor of our Italian artists, Chez Zee is cooking up a menu inspired by the tastes of Italy for our Eight Seasons Pre-Concert Dinner! The dinner begins at 5:45pm in the Chez Zee Gallery and precedes our 8pm Eight Seasons concert. Matt Hinsley and ACG's Composer in Residence Joseph V. Williams II will speak about the music and artistry we'll hear when the Bandini-Chiacchiaretta Duo and Cerrato Brothers take the stage to perform Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Piazzola's tango-inspired Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

Make dinner reservations online here. You can also purchase concert tickets online.

Here's the scrumptious menu!

Spinach Salad served with Warm Bacon Dressing
Sourdough bread & Smokey Olive Oil (V)

Baked Chicken Breasts with Marsala Sauce
Baked Polenta rounds Topped with Portobello Mushrooms and Garlic Thyme Sauce (GF, V)

Sautéed Butter Carrots (GF, V)
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (GF, V)

Butterscotch Pudding with Chocolate Ganache and Sea Salt
Devils Chocolate Food Cake

Chez Zee Logo

Thank You

Working with diverse students in schools all over Austin, we see music changing the lives of young people every day. Seeing young lives change for the better is our greatest reward, and it is so affirming when administrators, teachers, and parents see these transformations too—and tell us about it!

Speaking of which, this week we received the following letter from the Principal of Widén Elementary, one of seven new elementary guitar programs started in fall 2013:

Dear Mr. Hinsley: I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your tremendous gift of time and resources to Widén Elementary School. I know the teaching you presented to my students did not go unappreciated.

My student body has few opportunities to participate in music lessons, which would have them learning how to play an instrument. This is often caused by the lack of discretionary family fund, as we are a Title I campus with a student body of 96% free and reduced lunches. As an educator, I understand the importance music has on academic success. I am always encouraging my staff to seek ways to increase my students’ exposure to music.

Your support of lessons, repairs, resources and securing instruments has been invaluable. As the principal of Carl T. Widén, I wholeheartedly appreciate all your support of Victoria and Widén’s music program.

Thank you,

Kimberly Royal, Principal

It is an honor to work with the students at Widén Elementary, and hearing that our work is an invaluable part of the students’ education there motivates us to continue expanding our program into more schools, to continue providing classical guitar education of the highest quality to more and more students. This wonderful letter has reminded us that our work is a vital part of the educational landscape in Austin.

Thank you so much Widén Elementary for welcoming Austin Classical Guitar Education into your classrooms. Keep on playing!

Cavatina Duo Program

We are thrilled to be presenting Cavatina Duo on July 12th! This event represents ACG’s sixth annual collaborative presentation with Austin Chamber Music Center. Starting at 7:30pm on the 12th, the music of the world’s foremost guitar and flute duo will fill UT’s Bates Recital Hall, and we hope you will join us! Tickets are available at or 512-300-2247.

We’ve just received the duo’s program (below), which is a marvelous blend of everything from a Bach Sonata to traditional Balkan pieces arranged by Clarice Assad.

The program also features the newest work by our composer in residence, Dr. Joseph V. Williams II. When asked recently about the piece, Williams said, "I was overjoyed to create a piece for the outstanding Cavatina Duo. At their request, I drew inspiration from the Sephardic Jews who lived in Spain up until the 15th Century. This piece, entitled Isabel, pays tribute to the tragic history of Isabel de los Olivos y López and her persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. It draws from the Sephardic folk song Durme, durme mi linda donzella and bears witness to her struggle."


Eugenia Moliner, Flute
Denis Azabagic, Guitar
Austin, TX
July 2014



Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Sonata in E major for flute and continuo (BWV 1035)

Adagio ma non tanto





Clarice Assad (b. 1977)

Three Balkan pieces

Ratchenitsa (trad. Bulgarian)

Ajde slusaj, slusaj (trad. Macedonian)

Kalajdzijsko Oro (trad. Macedonian)

Commissioned by Cavatina Duo


Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992)

Adiós Nonino

(arr. Ian Murphy)

Fernando Sor (1778-1839)

Variations on "O Cara armonia" from Mozart’s The Magic Flute

(arr. Alan Thomas)




Joe Williams (b. 1979)

Isabel (In Memory of Isabel de los Olivos y Lopez)

Written for Cavatina Duo

Alan Thomas (b. 1968)

Out of Africa (solo guitar)

Call at Sunrise

Morning Dance


Evening Dance

Cradle Song

Alan Thomas

Fantasy on themes from La Traviata, after Krakamp, Briccialdi, and Tarrega

Commissioned by Cavatina Duo



Several people have taken me aside in the last year to tell me they have named Austin Classical Guitar in their wills. It is incredibly humbling to think that our friends have the faith in us to make plans for our continued service far into the future.

I’ve wanted to share a few of these stories and when I received a remarkable letter from a student last week who was thanking us for a gift of a guitar, I was particularly motivated to tell this one.

Edward Kimball, a member of our Community Guitarists program, has several beautiful guitars. He recently informed us he will be leaving them to ACG.

But Mr. Kimball also gave us a beautiful guitar now, that he was hoping could be used by a deserving student. We chose a remarkable young graduate from one of our high school programs who has distinguished herself in school, will continue her studies in college, and was a member of Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra.

She’s the one who surprised me with a letter last week, and this is what she wrote:

Dear ACG: Thank you so much for the Hirade guitar, and for all the opportunities you have given me these past three years. I would not have gotten where I am today without your help and support.

Because of ACG and the help of different teachers along the way - Mr. Gratovich, Mr. Pearson, Mr. Ferguson, Dr. Williams - I have learned to truly appreciate not only this wonderful instrument, but also the culture that comes with it. I am so grateful for every concert, interview, and event that I was able to participate in because of you all. And thank you Matthew Hinsley for starting it all.

Because of my teacher, Ms. Rozanc, and everyone at ACG, I want to become a music teacher and give back to my students. I want to teach classical guitar and perhaps even become a professor.

Again, thank you for the guitar, I have loved being able to play it this past semester, and am beyond myself that I can call it my own and continue to play it.

Know that you are inspiring people around the world and accomplishing more than just teaching kids how to play classical guitar.



We asked Mr. Kimball to tell us why he chose ACG for his bequest. This was his response:

Several events led me to decide to bequeath my guitars to ACG. Y'all know how, as we get up in years, we think of that old cliché: "you can't take it with you"! And when I learned that my friend Laura Ancira had donated an instrument she had made out of cypress to ACG, that got me to thinking even more.

Those of us who are guitar players at most any level treasure our instruments, because we spend so much time (and frustration) with them. Upon our passing we'd like to know, in advance, that our instruments will be delivered to hands that will treasure and PLAY them -- not just try to sell them. So, I decided to formalize my wish with documentation. When I mentioned to my wife my intention to will my guitars to ACG, she said, had I passed away suddenly, that's what she would have done anyway!

ACG does several wonderful things in our community. The "Changing Lives" programs that help young people who might be classified as "at risk" are, to me, the most commendable. Our instrument, it has been said, is the easiest to play poorly and the most difficult to play well. The focus, concentration and dedication required to learn classical guitar can, and does, rewire the brain in very positive ways. I'm living proof of that!

Thank you Mr. Kimball. It’s clear that you have already helped us change lives in significant ways.

Thank you so deeply for your commitment to helping us serve more kids for years to come.

Education Report, Spring 2014

It gives me great pleasure to share our spring 2014 Education summary progress report. It’s been another remarkable year in ACG Education.

More information on our program is online: Education Services, School Curriculum & Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra, and you can also make a contribution online to ACG Education if you wish. We invite your questions at 512-300-2247.

Major Developments in 2013-14

Perhaps the most important development this year was the introduction of our Teacher Training program in August 2013 at the University of Texas. We worked extensively to create a 3-day, 16-hour training course that was attended by 65 educators from 10 States and one teacher from Nicaragua. The training was very well received (and was the subject of our Fall 2013 Progress Report, available on request) and had the direct result of creating 7 new elementary school programs in Austin with over 600 new students. The training also allowed us to present teachers with top-level priorities, benchmarks for success, and classroom techniques—all of which made a huge impact throughout the year. Our attendee from Nicaragua will be holding a national congress on classroom guitar teaching this summer (2014) based on what he learned at our training session and utilizing our materials.

The addition of 7 new elementary programs required a new part-time staff member, Toby Rodriguez, to be added to our core education team. Performance videos from our elementary programs are available upon request. This year also saw the addition of new guitar programs at Burnet Middle School, Paredes Middle School and at Austin’s KIPP Academy (charter school). The KIPP program has thrived in its first year and will soar to over 120 students enrolled this coming fall.

There are major administrative and structural developments that carry great potential impact on our work. Austin Independent School District (AISD) has asked that we assist this summer in a 3-week curriculum generation project. This spring we were asked to develop all concert and sight-reading procedures in accordance with University Interscholastic League (UIL) standards, as well as adjudication processes and adjudicator selection criteria. In April and May, the AISD Director of Fine Arts requested meetings with our team and the Director of Music for UIL, as well as the Director of TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) to move that our evaluation events become UIL-sanctioned pilots by 2016. The motion was then introduced and passed by the Region 18 (includes Austin) Orchestra and Band Directors conference. These developments are signs of the ever-increasing acceptance of and support for our far-reaching program in Central Texas, and they are also signs of greater awareness of and respect for our work throughout the entire state.

Program Status

This year our core education team and contractors carried out about 150 hours of on-site teacher training, consulting, team teaching, and direct instruction each week in our 42 Austin schools that now serve more than 2,000 students. We provided in-service trainings in Austin, Brownsville, and Santa Fe, in addition to our August national teacher training, weekly group guitar lessons for our new elementary school instructors, and daily phone and email consultation with educators all over the world. We provide many auxiliary functions in Austin, including student recital planning and preparation, more than 100 student performance opportunities, local and national contest preparation, complete oversight and execution of All City Guitar and AISD Concert and Sight Reading Evaluation events, and dozens of in-school guest-artist performances. We provide hundreds of guitars to students at no cost, and we focus our free individual lessons on Travis High School and Webb Middle School.

The results continue to be quite remarkable. Most importantly, kids who were not involved in the performing arts are getting engaged and experiencing the well-documented benefits of quality arts education. In his fall letter, AISD Fine Arts Director, Greg Goodman wrote, “We have seen increased student, family and community engagement with this particular program. Austin Classical Guitar has done an incredible job of increasing quality and access to a new art form that has allowed a diverse option for our students.”

McCallum High School, where our program began in 2001, won the high school division of the UT Brownsville National Guitar Ensemble contest for the eighth straight year, and also toured in Fayetteville, La Grange, and Round Top/Carmine as part of a new rural outreach initiative we developed this year. We are particularly proud that five seniors from Travis High School (all ACG free lesson recipients) will graduate and pursue music studies on college scholarship this year. One of these students will be the first in her family ever to go to college, and another student from this group will attend Austin Community College as the fourth recipient of our Austin Classical Guitar ACC scholarship.

Our program at the Travis County Juvenile Justice System continues to thrive. Students perform quarterly for the induction ceremonies of Travis County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and one student wrote earlier this month, "I like guitar because I can express myself when I'm sad. I like to hear something hard and powerful when I am mad. When I am sad I like to play something calm and smooth. When I am bored it lifts me up and makes me want to hear more music. Music means a lot to me. It can relieve anger, sadness and stress. It can make you forget about the bad things for a time. I always imagined myself playing guitar and singing to a lady that I would like to marry. This is why I like guitar."

ACG & in Print and Presentation

Our education team presented in the fall at the National Association for Music Education and has been invited to return in the coming year. We were also invited to write two articles, the first for Guitar Foundation of America’s Soundboard Magazine and the second for TMEA’s Southwestern Musician. Both articles were published in early 2014 and are available upon request. TMEA has asked that ACG present an entire day of sessions for their February 2015 conference in San Antonio.

Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra

In addition to our core education programming, this was the first year for our Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra, an auditioned ensemble of players under the age of 19 from around the region. ACGYO performed for more than 3,000 people this year and premiered two new pieces of music, one by our Composer in Residence, and another by one of our Crockett High School guitar students composed under the tutelage of our Composer in Residence.


We have learned from asking our students to write responses to concert experiences that young people can write eloquently and passionately about music. For that reason we launched, in 2012, an online magazine called as a vehicle for promoting critical thinking and the exchange of ideas by young guitarists. Fretbuzz has since published many essays, articles, reviews, interviews and video submissions from young guitarists, and now also hosts monthly writing and performance competitions. I encourage you to visit online. It is an inspiring site, and we believe it has tremendous potential.

The Lullaby Project

2013-14 saw our first collaboration with Carnegie Hall Outreach in the form of the Lullaby Project, in partnership locally with Any Baby Can. Carnegie Hall developed this program two years ago and, after monitoring our work in juvenile justice, asked if we would be one of two organizations in the US to expand the program outside of New York. In the Lullaby Project, our teaching artists were paired with at-risk mothers (clients of Any Baby Can), and in this collaborative partnership, each mother wrote a lullaby for her baby. The lullabies were then professionally recorded, and each mother then shared her song with family and friends at a final sharing session. The effects of this program have been studied extensively by Wolf-Brown and Carnegie Hall, and more can be found on the Carnegie Hall website. A recording of our first lullabies is available upon request.

Future Plans

In summer 2014 we will expand our teacher training sessions to include Atlanta and St. Louis, and we will offer an augmented training in Austin to accommodate past trainees. Our greatest concern, as the program expands, is maintaining quality in the classroom. We believe that training, improved online teacher resources (especially video), and a path toward certification are the best ways to promote quality. Certification is something we hope to offer beginning in 2015. We have established the training path and have also outlined the criteria for certification, which will be accomplished if teacher applicants submit qualifying videos that demonstrate field success.

In Austin we know of four new elementary schools, at least one new middle school (Pearce), and a new high school (Garza) that will be adding our classical guitar program in the fall. Existing programs continue to grow. We anticipate direct service to approximately 50 schools with close to 3,000 students in 2014-15. One programming highlight will be April 18, 2015 at Bass Concert Hall, when our Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra will pair with Conspirare’s Youth Choir to open a major concert we are presenting in conjunction with Texas Performing Arts

We plan to allocate a new staff position to management of and teacher training. Our broad reach to educators across the globe through curriculum and training has grown to the extent that, in order to manage it properly, we must have closer and dedicated oversight. This June we expect to relaunch on an updated platform that will allow us far greater control of content. Refining and augmenting core teacher materials, adding substantial video material, a teacher forum, and integration are all on the horizon for this curriculum, which is the backbone of our programming. On the administrative side, we will continue to work diligently to advance guitar as a quality school based offering in the State of Texas, and beyond, with the goal of “All-State” guitar in Texas by 2020.

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Staff, I would like to extend my deepest thanks for your support of our programming at Austin Classical Guitar.

More information on our program is online: Education Services, School Curriculum & Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra, and you can also make a contribution online to ACG Education if you wish. We invite your questions at 512-300-2247.

Menu for Saturday's Italian Dinner

In honor of our Italian mandolin virtuoso, we decided to have our series opening pre-concert dinner at Gusto Italian Kitchen - just minutes from the Saturday's concert.

Dinner begins at 5:30PM and we asked the chefs at Gusto to prepare wine-pairings with each course to go along with our "Perfect Pairings" theme for the summer series. Yum!

More information and tickets for dinner are available online here or you can always call us at 512-300-2247.

- - On a side note - - It's fitting that we are dining at Gusto on the evening of Rene Izquierdo's return, because when he was last here for our Pasion series in 2009, we worked with the restaurant "La Sombra" to prepare our Cuban-themed reception. Guess what? La Sombra is now Gusto - and its still the same friends in charge!

Here's the menu for Saturday night. As always, if you have any special dietary needs not met by this menu, please give us a call and we'll gladly accommodate!

Buon Appetito!


Joseph Williams on the Summer Series: Guitar as World Traveler

For many, summer means traveling. We travel to see knew things, to learn about the world and learn about ourselves through new experiences. One of my favorite forms of travel is through the music and through the instrument loved the world over: the guitar.

ACG's summer series is an absolutely thrilling itinerary of chamber music with artists from Cuba, Italy, Bosnia, Spain, Slovenia, and Canada. All three concerts have the guitar paired with another instrument- mandolin, flute and violin, respectively.

The artists this summer are nothing short of astonishing - the best in their fields at the height of their game - and it all starts this Saturday with Rene Izquierdo and Carlo Aonzo.

Details are online here.

These two are outstanding and to hear the rarely encountered combination of virtuoso mandolin and guitar is a rare and special treat.

I, for one, cannot wait!

Check out Rene presenting a dazzling encore and charming the pants off even the tired orchestra musicians!

Dr. Joesph V. Williams II is Austin Classical Guitar's Composer in Residence. Major residency works have been Memoria for two guitars premiered by Les Freres Meduses in november of 2013 and The Hinsleyian Overture for guitar Orchestra premiered by Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra in March 2014. Williams is currently completing a new work to be premiered by The Cavatina Duo on July 12th for flute and guitar based on music of the Spehardic tradition.


Catherine and David Wildermuth & Our Summer Series Opening Concert

Art is about human expression. I believe that we are all born with the need (not just desire) to create and to express ourselves, both individually and as part of a community.
- Catherine Wildermuth

Catherine and David Wildermuth can often be found at Austin arts events, and are frequently part of the reason those events, and the organizations producing them, are possible at all!

We at ACG have been incredibly fortunate to have Catherine and David's support, and I was overjoyed when Catherine told me they would like to sponsor our Summer Series opening concert featuring the amazing guitar and mandolin duo of Rene Izquierdo and Carlo Aonzo.

I asked Catherine to share some thoughts with me. She said "sure" but only if the questions were easy ones! I was truly inspired by her words. I'm sure you will be too.

Matthew Hinsley: You and David are significant supporters of the arts in Austin, and have been for a long time. Why do you think arts are important in our community?

Catherine Wildermuth: You promised that you would only give me easy questions! But this is difficult because I cannot imagine living without the arts as part of my life. How does one argue rationally for something that feels an essential part of one's self? But here goes . . .

Art is about human expression. I believe that we are all born with the need (not just desire) to create and to express ourselves, both individually and as part of a community. We not only get closer to reaching our full potential through shared self expression, it is the only means I know whereby we develop empathy and sensitivity to the world around us and can experience a world bigger than our local community or our current time. Much has changed in our world over the centuries, but our essential humanity is not one of those things. We not only learn that, but we experience that through the arts.

The arts challenge us to discover, to experience, to express what we think, what we feel, what we love or hate, what we hope, what we want to change, what we yearn for in the future and admire from the past, and whatever else might move us. We meet ourselves and continually reinvent ourselves through the arts. They enrich our spirits. As the Dali Lama said during his visit to the US a few years ago, "How can a material thing which is not spiritual make a human being who is spiritual happy?"

Dee Dickinson, in a article on the Johns Hopkins School of Education website, argues that the arts are "languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness."

And from Steve Jobs: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have lots of dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solution without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

MH: You serve on the board of ACMC. What do you wish everyone knew about that organization?

CW: Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin's finest chamber music organization, was founded by Felicity Coltman in 1981 to offer a summer chamber music workshop to junior and senior high school musicians. The program immediately added school-year classes that met on Saturdays. These school-year classes, now called the Academy, and the summer workshop remain the heart and soul of ACMC's mission of service to Austin and to chamber music.

Through its season concert series and summer festival, ACMC brings elite chamber musicians to music halls and homes for world-class performances and enables Austin students to participate in masterclasses with these visiting artists . ACMC provides exceptional musical instruction to people of all ages in its Fall and Spring Academy and Summer Workshop. The organization is community-driven, arranging outreach concerts in schools and retirement homes. Making Austin excited about chamber music is what ACMC strives to do.

The organization is led by award-winning pianist and Artistic Director Michelle Schumann along with newly hired Executive Director Peter Helf. Its summer festival begins on July 10. Visit for tickets and details.

MH: We talked about three concerts this summer, why did you choose to sponsor our opening night show with guitar and Mandolin?

CW: Most people don't know this about me, but I have an advanced degree in Medieval English Literature. Of course, the mandolin first appeared in 15th century Naples, about 100 years later than Chaucer's time, but it is an adaptation of the lute, which certainly appeared frequently in the art and literature I studied all those years ago. So the idea of a mandolin concert and the duo of guitar and mandolin really appealed to me.

I was torn, however, because I played the flute until I was a senior in high school and the guitar/flute duo is the joint concert with ACMC. But in the end, I thought, just how many opportunities was I going to have to sponsor a mandolin. So I had to go with that.

MH: You're an avid marathon runner. What do you love about marathons?

CW: I'm not sure I can explain this because I'm not sure that I know myself. It's sort of like the Steve Jobs' comment above: It just seemed obvious after a while. My husband says it's because I am crazy and that he's the sane one in the family. He is probably right.

I didn't start running until after I retired about 5 years ago. Well, I ran on treadmills in the evening, but that wasn't running. That was exercise. Once I retired and could run outside during the day, a whole new world opened up for me. I signed up for a 5K race (3.1 miles) just as a motivational tactic. I was unprepared for just how much fun it was to run in a huge crowd of other runners all out there just to have fun. I was hooked.

I will never forget my first marathon, the Austin Marathon back in 2010. We started just north of the Congress Avenue bridge and ran across the bridge up Congress Avenue to Ben White. I was surrounded by hundreds of runners and for as far as I could see on the road ahead of me was a sea of more runners. It was incredibly moving and I can't explain why. As we ran along Lake Austin Boulevard, a little ways into the race, I was entranced by the sounds of hundreds of footfalls, hundreds of breaths and birds singing. Of course, you do hurt after 26 miles, but that's not what I remember.

My next race is the San Diego Marathon on 1 June. I hope all the fires in the area don't make this a difficult run. Then I will be running the San Francisco Marathon at the end of July. We run across the Golden Gate bridge in that one. Pretty amazing.

MH: Anything else you'd like to add?

CW: Just that we are incredibly blessed here in Austin by all of the opportunities we have to hear, see and interact with world class artists and to have so many cultural organizations like ACG and ACMC committed to enriching our lives and the lives of our children through education and outreach into the community.

We should never take any of that for granted.

Last night I attended the Spring Concert of the Travis High School Classical Guitar Ensemble. There were several seniors on that stage who will be attending college in the fall on guitar scholarships at Mary Hardin Baylor, most of whom very probably would not otherwise have gone to college (or even wanted to go to college), much less finish high school. It was great to feel a very small part of that.


- Catherine & David Wildermuth


Perfect Pairings: Summer Series

All the events are online here, including discounted series tickets!

I love guitar when paired with another instrument. The interplay, especially in the hands of masters, is like listening to a conversation in music.

We begin with an incredible mandolin and guitar concert on Saturday, June 7th. I’ve just seen the program and it looks phenomenal with music ranging from Bach and Paganini to the present day.

The guitarist, Rene Izquierdo, joined us in 2009 with Edel Muñoz for a simply stunning concert of Cuban music. He’ll return this time bringing Italian mandolin superstar Carlo Aonzo. Classical Guitar Magazine raved about them in a recent review: "...unforgettable versatility, sensitivity, and sublime musicianship."


We even have a series-opening dinner, in Carlo’s honor, at Gusto Italian Kitchen, beginning at 5:30. Gusto is just minutes from the concert – in the intimate sanctuary of St. John’s United Methodist Church. The chefs at Gusto are planning a special 3-course dinner with Italian wine pairings, to set the tone for our extraordinary evening of music.

Dinner & Concert tickets and details are online here or call us at 512-300-2247.

On July 12th we join once more with our friends at Austin Chamber Music Center to present what is, perhaps, the world’s foremost guitar and flute duo, the Cavatina Duo, in UT’s Bates Recital Hall. Guitarist Denis Azabagic and flutist Eugenia Moliner are tremendous musicians. Denis has performed for us several times, including his Guitar Foundation of America winner’s tour years ago. I have had the privilege of enjoying his playing, and his collaboration with Eugenia, many times over the years.

Cavatina Duo

Particularly exciting is that, on their program, Denis and Eugenia will give the world premiere of a new work by our Composer in Residence, Dr. Joseph V. Williams II. The piece, by their request, will be derived from Sephardic music and cultural influences.

Several years ago Bill Kanengiser called me to introduce me to the music and talent Mak Grgic. Bill, of course, is one of the most important figures in the classical guitar world. He’s a founding member of the LA Guitar Quartet, and extraordinary soloist, and an influential teacher on faculty at USC.

So when he called to tell me about Mak, I was “all ears”!

Mak is a tremendous young talent from Slovenia who is living in LA. A fantastic composer and arranger, it’s always intriguing to see what he’ll come up with next. His guitar and violin duo project is with none other than Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the LA Philharmonic – the most sought-after orchestral position in one of the world’s most celebrated symphonies! Their concert on August 2nd will be the finale of our summer series, and will be held in the glorious sanctuary of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church.


I so look forward to sharing this series with you. We’ve called it “Perfect Pairings” and I know these magical evenings will live up to the name!

Tickets are online here, call us any time at 512-300-2247.