Classical 91.5

Classical Guitar

Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux returns to Rochester

Mar 12, 2020
Tyler Boye

NOTE: This performance has been canceled, with hopes to reschedule for a later date. More from The Hochstein School on their cancelations here.

Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux’s career reflects the versatility (and the portability) of his instrument. He’s apt to show up anywhere, from a symphony orchestra concert to NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concert series, from teaching at the venerated Curtis Institute of Music to giving online lessons.

I grew up in the NYC area surrounded by a large extended family of first- and second-generation Italian immigrants, most hailing from Sicily. I enjoyed the musical aftermath of our extended family visits where uncles and cousins would play their mandolins and guitars after sharing a traditional meal and lively conversation! 

I recently received one of my uncle’s Gibson mandolins from my cousin that was hanging on his wall and during a recent visit, it was offered and became my current musical obsession.

Celebrating with Fernando Sor

Feb 11, 2019

Guitarist (and Rochester treasure) Lawrence Johnson was featured earlier on WXXI as part of our series Musicians of Rochester. He and I have stayed in touch since that interview, and he recently reminded me that February 12th is most likely the birthday of his favorite composer Fernando Sor:  

"Fernando Sor was probably born Feb. 12 (1778) - the same month and day as your birthday! (The only record we have is his baptism on Feb. 14, 1778 - my understanding is that generally the birth preceeds the baptism - especially in winter months - by at least two days." 

In honor of that shared birthday, I asked Lawrence to share a few facts about Fernando Sor, along with a few recordings of his works. If these facts intrigue, you can also read more in this essay Lawrence Johnson wrote about this long overlooked guitarist/composer who has recently received more recognition and acclaim.

Eduardo Fernandez is just one of the great classical guitarists we'll meet on the Nov. 15th episode of Fiesta!

Lose yourself in love songs from South America over lunch, on Live from Hochstein on October 17th (12:10-12:50pm) with guitarist Ken Luk and double bass player Wan-Ling Chuang.

You're invited to come out to hear the music in person at the Hochstein Performance Hall (50 N. Plymouth Avenue, downtown Rochester) or listen to it broadcast live on WXXI Classical 91.5.  

Join us for the varied and vivacious sounds of Spanish and Latino inspiried guitar, both on August 6th and 27th ! The Spanish Guitar, also known as the "classical guitar", we known today was established by the design of 19th century Spanish luthier, Antonio Torres Jurardo.

8/6        Las Guitarras del Siglo XX / 20th-Century Guitars - 20th-century works for guitar and orchestra by Federico Moreno Torroba and Joaquín Rodrigo.

Guitarist Lawrence Johnson recorded the complete works of early-nineteenth century composer Fernando Sor – using equipment that the guitarist got in a trade for a Volkswagen.  He recalls, "I found out this guy and this girl, they were married – and he decided he didn’t like her anymore and he left her and took her car. But he was also a recording nut, and so he had this Revox 77.  So I said: I got a car if you want it, but I need that Revox 77. So, I got it." 

Lawrence Johnson: classical guitarist, retired city bus driver, composer, and passionate civil rights advocate.

To have a conversation with Lawrence Johnson is an opportunity to become acquainted with a fascinating person, while also getting an overview of the evolution of classical guitar in American musical life during the second half of the 20th century.  The impact of Segovia, the ways that many classical musicians didn’t take the guitar seriously, and the change in the approach and appreciation of classical guitar music – that’s all in there, along with trading a Volkswagon for a tape deck, late night bus runs with a guitar, and Greenwich village in the 1960s.

Whether you have a few minutes to spend with him...

Guitarist Thomas Viloteau just finished his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music about a week ago, and now this week, he will be heard on the radio across the country, as a Young Artist in Residence on Performance Today.

You can hear him on Performance Today on Saturday morning on WXXI Classical 91.5

“Mompou is evoking in music the silence…and the silence is music.”  

When guitarist Rafaella Smits visited Rochester, she played and spoke about music by Catalan - French - Spanish composer Federico Mompou (1893-1987).

I think it’s fair to say Mompou is one of the composers with a “cult” following – he’s not mainstream famous, even among those who routinely listen to classical music, yet his music is beloved and revered by those who are in the know.