Jason Vieaux is such a tremendous guitarist!

I remember when he won the GFA competition.  Even then (in the early 90s) it was the most important guitar competition in the world.  And for Jason to win it at age 19 was a truly extraordinary feat.

Jason went on to become one of the youngest faculty members ever at Cleveland Institute of Music, and has since released something like a dozen recordings.

Tix here, join us for the pre-show dinner if you can (we’re taking over Gusto Italian Kitchen at 5:30 with wine and dessert included!), details on that are here.  Questions?  Call us at 512-300-2247.

Jason’s program is just awesome.  It includes a mix of some of the greatest, most venerable classics in the repertoire like John Dowland’s E Major Fantasy and Bach’s first “lute suite”, with some fantastic new and groovy selections.

Most everyone knows that JS Bach was German.  He lived 1685-1750 and is, according to many, the greatest composer of all time.  He was an organist himself, and while we don’t think he played the lute (and there were no guitars, in the modern sense, at the time), when he died we know he owned several keyboard instruments that were, believe it or not, actually designed to sound like lutes!  The action inside them included gut strings plucked by leather picks, rather than the standard metal strings plucked by quills!  They were called lautenwerks, and it’s thought that perhaps Bach wrote his so-called “lute suites” on these instruments.

Here’s Ben Beirs playing the prelude from the suite.  Incidentally, Ben was here last spring with his French duo partner Maud LaForest as part of our Community Concert Series!

John Dowland is perhaps the best-known of the English Elizabethan lute players.  He wrote 88 extant songs for lute and voice.  Some of you may know that I love to sing, and for a while I avidly pursued playing and singing all 88 of those wonderful songs!  I made it pretty far, but not all the way, since the subject matter is often super-depressing (unrequited love to the extreme)!

Dowland is a stunningly artistic and intricate composer – and he holds a special place in my heart.  The concert begins with one of his great solo fantasies (Jason’s not planning to sing) and I can’t wait.

One of the great 20th century works for guitar is by the UK’s Benjamin Britten, and it’s called The Nocturnal.  Here’s today’s cool conceptual tie-in:

The Nocturnal is a reverse theme and variations based on a song – “Come heavy Sleep” – by…. You guessed it!… John Dowland!  Why “reverse” theme and variations?  Because you don’t hear the theme until the end.  And it’s so glorious when it arrives.

The second half has an awesome piece written just for Jason , several Spanish selections from the great Isaac Albeniz, a Pat Metheny tune (!), and one of my favorites, Suite del Recuerdo, by Argentine composer Jose Luis Merlin.

We’re in for a real treat – and I can’t wait to see you there!

Oh, Guitar Players and students!  Jason’s also recently launched a phenomenal new online guitar school.  I have many friends and colleagues that have checked it out and love it.  What a great use of the internet – to be able to study with one of the guitar greats anytime, anywhere, for an affordable rate!  Check it out!