Music Review: Guitar Ensemble

By Peter Jacobi

 

As a performance highlight of this past weekend’s 2014 Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, the Indiana University Jacobs School’s Guitar Department unveiled a new ensemble, and a mighty good one it is.

Simply called the Guitar Ensemble, the dozen members introduced themselves in an Auer Hall concert Saturday evening, performing music of great difficulty with an assurance that should be reserved for far more mature collectives.

The reason, in great part, must be the group’s young director, Daniel Duarte, who not only trained and conducted the musicians but prepared arrangements for them to show off their technical abilities and musicality.

So, when the ensemble first took the stage, it focused on Vivaldi, the Presto from the Concerto in G Minor, Opus 8, No. 2, but it was Vivaldi as arranged by Daniel Duarte. And when they played Astor Piazzolla’s “Verano Porteno,” once again the arrangement was by Duarte. So, too, a Tango Suite built from Julio Cesar Oliva’s “Nostalgia del Rio de la plata,” a Panchos Suite of vocals accompanied by guitars, and an exciting work of contemporary nature, Paulo Bellinari’s “A furiosa.”

Duarte is obviously a gifted arranger, with a sensitive feel for how to mesh the classical guitar with music not always written for the instrument or in need of special handling. But he has at his disposal a talented set of musicians who already can do wonders together with their guitars. In music of Vivaldi and Fernando Sor, they found, respectively, the Baroque and Classic styles. In the Piazzolla and the Tango Suite, they reflected that distinctive dance. The Panchos Suite was a delight: three guitarists joined by a couple of baritones and a tenor (Francisco Ortega, Rafael Campos and Bruno Sandes) who squeezed every ounce of flavor and panache from three pop songs that begged for over-the-top interpretations and received them.

The ensemble finished the evening with Leo Brouwer’s “Acerca del cielo el aire y la sonrisa,” a complex and exotic exercise by a contemporary Cuban master of the instrument and genre, and an encore, just as difficult and challenging, “Berimbeau” by two Brazilians, composer Vinicius de Moraes and guitarist Baden Powell. The readings were stunning.

One looks forward to the Guitar Ensemble’s future.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Jacobs hosts 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition Nov. 1 and 2

GallenThe Jacobs School Guitar Department is hosting its 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition this weekend. Over 40 competitors from around the world will compete in three categories, including Open, Senior Youth, and Junior Youth.

In addition, the festival will feature renowned European guitarist Ricardo Gallen in a Saturday, Nov. 1, master class at 5pm in Sweeney Hall and in a Sunday, Nov. 2, concert at 8pm in Auer Hall.

The festival will also feature the premiere concert of the IU Guitar Ensemble, directed by Daniel Duarte on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 8pm in Auer Hall.

All events are free and open to the public.

Executive director of the festival and competition is Petar Jankovic and artistic director is Ernesto Bitetti. For more info, visit blogs.music.indiana.edu/guitarfestival.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Nemanja Ostojic accepts faculty position at the University of Indianapolis

Doctoral student Nemanja Ostojic has accepted the Adjunct Lecturer position at the University of Indianapolis Department of Music.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop a big success

Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop
May 30 – June 1, 2014—Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Atanas Tzvetkov, Director
Sponsored by Bloomington Classical Guitar Society

JGA1smallerThis unique guitar forum stands out as the first Bloomington guitar festival dedicated completely to guitar students, players and enthusiasts of all ages and levels. Presented by the IU Jacobs Guitar Academy in collaboration with Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, it emerged as an extended weekend of remarkable guitar activities combined into a versatile and entertaining program, which included recitals, master classes, ensemble rehearsals, ensemble workshops and guitar vendor exhibit.

JGA3.smallerOne of the highlights of the Festival was the featured guest artist – the Italian guitarist, composer and pedagogue, Vito Nicola Paradiso. A world-renowned performer, composer and pedagogue, professor Paradiso has established himself as one of the most successful and unique educators in Europe in the recent years.

Paradiso is the author of the guitar method “La Chitarra Volante”, which has been the primary method for Jacobs’s young guitarists in the past decade, and has had very strong and positive impact to Jacobs School overall.  During the festival, for the first time ever, Jacobs Guitar Academy students had the fantastic opportunity to interact directly with him. He led the Festival Guitar Ensemble rehearsals and guided master classes with varied level students, who benefited from his experience as pedagogue, performing artist and conductor.

Besides being the author of the acclaimed guitar method “La Chitarra Volante” Paradiso has published numerous original works for solo guitar and guitar ensemble. He has been awarded the special prize Chitarra d’Oro (“Golden Guitar”) for his didactical contributions at the 17th Concorso Internazionale di Chitarra of Alessandria, in 2012, and “Maestro d’Italia” prize in Barletta in 2008 and 2012 for his pedagogical work.

Holding a Gold Medal from “Pergolesi” international guitar Competition in Naples and Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at The International “San Bartolomeo a Mare” Competition in Imperia, Paradiso has established himself as one of the very active, truly outstanding guitar performers of today.

The first day of the festival, Friday May 30, Maestro Paradiso presented a unique solo recital – “The magic of Italian guitar” at Auer Hall – performing some of his special classical guitar arrangements of old classic Italian songs. The program he played deeply captured everyone in the audience, which led to him receiving the standing ovation following by two encores. His arrangements of Italian music were exceptional and his playing superb.

“Rare are the occasions when a guitarist and pedagogue of such high level is locally present and fully available to our students and the guitar lovers of Bloomington community. His visit complies the mission of Jacobs Guitar Academy, which is not only to educate, but to provide all guitar enthusiasts with a world-class experience, and direct inspiration from the world most established musicians and performers!”
Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov, Festival and Academy Director

On Saturday May 31 in Auer hall Maestro Paradiso personally conducted the Festival Guitar Ensemble – IU Jacobs Guitar Academy ensemble united with Bloomington Classical Guitar Society ensemble.

Besides performing number of Paradiso’s compositions the concert was completed with an excusive presentation of his recently published triptych “Travel in America” – a suite for guitar ensemble and solo guitar. This remarkable composition has been especially dedicated by Paradiso to Jacobs Guitar Academy and was performed by the Festival Guitar Ensemble with soloist Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov.

“This Ensemble showcase is the first presentation of its kind in the history of Jacobs School of Music. Up until now we have not had a complete guitar ensemble recital at our school. Most importantly, the concert emerged through a strong collaboration of skills and experience by students, faculty and guest conductor, who is also the composer of the music performed. Such presentation gives the unique opportunity to Jacobs students for a professional experience at young age, and truly shows the ultimate art we can create when all together we combine efforts, communicating through the universal language of music.”
Dr. Atanas Tzvtekov, Festival and Academy Director

JGA2.smallerIn addition to these unique concerts the festival saw two separate End of the Year Guitar Academy recitals on Friday May 30 in Ford Crawford Hall and Sunday June 1 in Auer hall. Over forty students performed solo pieces covering the full range of guitar repertoire, from beginner to master concert compositions.  The festival was completed with an official award ceremony, when Maestro Paradiso and Dr. Tzvetkov presented the Academy students with their Jacobs Guitar Academy Certificate of Achievement followed with a Gala reception that same evening.

The Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Ensemble Workshop and Festival was a tremendous success.  On behalf of our entire guitar community, I would like to thank Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov and Professor Vito Nicola Paradiso personally for making this event possible.  There are many challenges in putting together a festival like this, particularly for the first time. It requires vision, energy, unbridled enthusiasm and a lot of hard work. Atanas and Nicola have an abundance of these qualities and have given us the gift of a truly memorable guitar weekend – a gift shared by professional guitarists, amateur guitarists, students, families and friends. Thank you Atanas and Nicola!!”
Mark Bisesi, Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, President

“The First Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop emerged from the fruitful community collaboration between IU Jacobs Guitar Academy and the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society. I want to express my deep gratitude to the Society for its incredible financial support. This Festival was a truly successful and memorable guitar forum, which not only further honored the world renowned prestigious level of our school, but also established a strong bond between the Jacobs School and Bloomington community to a much higher extent than ever before.”
Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov, Festival and Academy Director

Some of the notable testimonials about the festival are found in the letter to Gwyn Richards, Dean of Jacobs School of Music, by Donna Stevens from June 2, 2014.

“This festival provided students of all ages, children, adults, seniors, professionals and amateurs, the opportunity to truly feel a PART of the Jacobs School.  I heard the excitement of some of the younger guitarists who talked about this special opportunity.  Adults with whom I spoke talked of feeling connected to the School in a way they hadn’t before.  While I was not a part of the ensemble, I sat in awe watching this diverse group perform with such joy and expertise, and the fact that the ages ranged from teenagers to seniors did not escape me.  It was a tremendous experience, and the entire hall was buzzing with enthusiasm after the event.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that I feel this is precisely what this community has needed. When you open the doors of the Academy to the community, it becomes accessible in a personal and tangible way.  The Jacobs School then is not just there to perform FOR us, to us, but with us, and that invitation helps connect us in a way that didn’t’ previously exist.  The Jacobs School becomes OUR school…

As social networking has succinctly taught us, connection is precisely what our 21st century society longs for, but finding authentic forms of connection can be so difficult to achieve.  But this endeavor, Gwyn, does just that.

I am still thinking about this today, and I just wanted to say that you, Atanas, and the School are to be commended for providing this opportunity to all of us.  The festival was truly a remarkable and notable feat….  I hope it is a signal of a new direction for the Jacobs School, one that continues to foster goodwill and connection to all the music lovers and students in the community.”

Donna M. Stevens
Director, Human Resource Development
Indiana University School of Education

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Petar Jankovic Ensemble on “Performance Today” June 6

Petar EnsembleOn Friday, June 6, NPR’s Performance Today will broadcast a selection from the Petar Jankovic Ensemble concert played on March 31, 2012, in Auer Hall.

Tune into WFIU 103.7FM at 1 p.m. if you live in Bloomington or to your local NPR station to hear the ensemble perform Paulo Bellinati’s Jongo!

Performance Today is America’s most popular classical music radio program;  the show is broadcast on 293 public radio stations across the country and reaches approximately 1.4 million listeners each week.

For more specific information regarding broadcast times near you, please see visit http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/stations/list.php.

The show audio is also available on the Performance Today website beginning at 9 a.m. ET and for seven days following the broadcast.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Petar Jankovic Ensemble on “Performance Today”

Jankovic EnsembleThe Petar Jankovic Ensemble’s March 2012 Auer Hall performance of Manuel de Falla’s La Vida Breve (Danse Espagnole) was recently featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today  program.

Click here to listen to the April 1, 2014, broadcast.

Performance Today is broadcast on 260 public radio stations across the country and is heard by approximately 1.3 million people each week. Each station, including Bloomington’s WFIU, individually decides what time to air the program.

To find out where and when Performance Today is broadcast in your area, click here.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Mihajlo Djordjevic wins 4th place in Guitar Competition

guitar guyCongratulations to guitar student Mihajlo Djordjevic (student of Petar Jankovic) on winning the 4th place at the 15th Guitar Competition & Symposium at Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, GA! Mihajlo competed among 66 competitors in in the open Collegiate/Professional Division from all over the US. The 15th Guitar Competition & Symposium was held at Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, in Columbus, GA

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Matthew Smith (BM ’09, MM ’11) awarded Individual Artist Fellowship from The State of Delaware Division of the Arts

Matthew SmithJacobs School of Music alumnus, Matthew Smith, has been awarded a 2014 Individual Artist Fellowship from The State of Delaware Division of the Arts in the emerging artist category.

During his tenure at Indiana University,  Matthew studied under Ernesto Bitetti and Petar Jankovic. He was also an Associate Instructor for beginning guitar.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Alan Thomas (MM, ’94) appointed Professor at University of York and University of Loughborough

Alan ThomasAlan Thomas (MM, ’94) has been appointed as Professor at University of York, England and the University of Loughborough, England. An alumnus of the Jacobs School of  Music, Thomas earned his masters of music in guitar and studied under Ernesto Bitetti.

More information: http://www.alanthomas-guitar.com/index.html

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Guitar Festival winners announced

Mexican guitarist Misael Barraza Diaz was announced as the winner of the Open Division at the Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, which was held Oct. 26 and 27.

Mexican guitarist Misael Barraza Diaz was announced as the winner of the Open Division at the Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, which was held Oct. 26 and 27.

By Janica Kaneshir

Competitors from all over the world converged in Bloomington in late October to compete in the Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, and on Nov. 25, the winners were announced.

Misael Barraza Diaz of Mexico took first place in Open Division, for which 16 artists competed. He played “Sonata, for guitar” by Alberto Ginastera and “Viraclones sobre un Tema de Sor” by Miguel Llobet.

According to a review of the 2013 competition on the festival’s official website, Diaz “played with an emotional palette and infectious conviction.”

The website also noted his music “coaxed the audience into a state of empathy with his musical statements, as well as a state of awe at his technical prowess.”

The Open and Senior Youth divisions had monetary prizes which ranged from $100 to $1,700. In the Open Division, Jeremy Collins of the United States, Bin Hu of China and Ye Eun Lee of South Korea took second, third and fourth place, respectively.

In the Senior Youth division, Agustus Woodrow-Tomizuka took first place.
In the Junior Youth division, Kairey Wang placed first.

The festival is relatively young, as this is just its fourth year of existence. However, it has attracted some of the top guitarists from countries all over the world, such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, South Korea, Vietnam and Bulgaria.

The panel of judges consisted of Jacobs School of Music faculty members Maestro Bittetti, Luke Gillespie, Petar Jankovic, Elzbieta Szmyt, Atanas Tzvetkov and Elisabeth Wright, as well as guest guitarist Matt Palmer.

“The experience at the festival was great,” Diaz said in an interview in a Jacobs School of Music press release. “Bloomington is a very special place, and I think having a guitar festival there was a great idea. Lots of great guitarists and artists were there, and I think everybody got to meet new people and make new friends throughout it.”

 

© Indiana Daily Student 2013

  • Facebook
  • Twitter