September, 2012 – Austin

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In this issue:

  • Grisha preview by Miguel Rodriguez (Akins High)
  • Grisha preview by Austin Davenport (Akins High)
  • FretBuzz Exclusive Interview: Jorge Caballero


Want to see Grisha on 9/13? Concert info online here.


Classical Guitar at its Best, by Miguel Rodriguez

Nowadays there are great guitarists performing on big stages. One in particular is Grisha Goryachev. He is a virtuoso flamenco and classical guitar player. He began to play at the age of six.  Taught by his father, he quickly showed potential on the guitar.  As he got older and practiced more he became a flamenco guitarist – a style that originated in Spain. Grisha was a prodigy who became famous in Russia, then in Europe and now even here in the United States.

I have heard him playing Spanish songs such like Farruca, Panaderos, and Taranta. He has a beautiful and fascinating way of playing his guitar. When you hear him play you can feel he and the guitar as one. His emotions and energy put into his fingers – where they meet with the strings and produce a fantastic sound. His motions with strumming and plucking the guitar are strong. For every song that he plays, you can picture a scene! His notes are clear and his sound is perfect – whether he plays a piece that is loud and piercing or a soothing and quiet song. On top of that he seems strong and confident of playing any piece he is given, he has a great talent for the flamenco style and for playing the classical guitar.

I myself am a guitar player, but not as quite as good as Grisha!  I am proud to say that I and my class – along with several others – will have the opportunity to open for him in the Long Center here in Austin, Texas.  We have been practicing a piece we’ll perform to open for him.  After we play we get to sit back and hear him and his music. I can’t wait to watch him fill the audience with passionate and fun music. Grisha Goryachev is great at what he does and how he does it. A young and confident man such as himself will be a great pleasure to meet.

Miguel Rodriguez is a freshman at Akins High School.  He began guitar at Fulmore Middle School, and auditioned directly into the advanced class at Akins as a first year high school student.


Grisha: Pinnacle of Classical Guitar, by Austin Davenport

Grisha Goryachev represents a pinnacle of classical guitar. The man is a perfect example of what the instrument, and the player, are capable of. When I heard that my ensemble is going to perform with him, I was not only excited for another great performance with a professional, but I was also given the chance of writing about what it’s like. Honestly, I can’t believe the luck and privilege I have to be able to do this!

If I was to guess who Grisha studied with, I’d say Eliot Fisk. When he performs he gives the same level of separation as Mr. Fisk. They both make it seem as if they are non-existent and only the guitar is performing. Along with that, Grisha just has amazing speed. Turns out I was right, Grisha studied with Mr. Fisk at New England Conservatory of Music.

Grisha is the type of guitarist I wish to be when I get older. The music he plays is strange and abstract, but when you hear it and take it in it fills you with emotion and awe.

My favorite thing, and something he and I actually have in common, is that we don’t look at the guitar so much when we perform (though he does a way better job of it)!  He and I like to move and feel the music. He does it in such a way that it seems as if he is a lone member of his own audience, free to move to the music as it moves him (emotionally). He even closes his eyes giving himself a heightened sense of hearing and with it a deeper connection to his music.

I remember the first time I saw a professional guitarist.  His name was Alejandro Cote and he was a Caribbean guitarist that played some flamenco pieces. The speed and emotion he was able to project amazed me. My eyes had a hard time just watching and trying to keep up with and it all made me very curious about that style of guitar.

I’ve practiced a lot since then, and the more I practice the more anxious I get. In my mind I’m always asking myself if I’m there yet, at that level of skill – slowly but surely my skill is increasing. However, I know I can push myself more still. I myself can count the number of years I’ve been playing on one hand, and if I’m going to get to the same level as these titans of guitar, I’m going to need years more of intense practice.

I actually had the pleasure and honor of not only attending, but opening up for, an Eliot Fisk show. He completely blew us out of the water, though he probably didn’t do it on purpose. That night I was studying his technique and his hand movements.  He really showed me that I have a long journey ahead of me with the instrument. I can’t say that I will make it to the point where I can play that same Paganini Caprice, but I will say that it is a goal of mine to reach that level of skill someday.

Austin Davenport is a senior at Akins High School.  A third-year guitar student, currently in the advanced ensemble, Austin was a member of a select group of students that performed in KMFA’s “Kids Recording Kids” this past summer.