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In costume for Sarah Caldwell's production of Verdi's Othello at the Boston Opera.
Recorded at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Shreveport, Louisiana:
Prelude, Bach Cello Suite No. 3
Study in C by Fernando Sor
Two Pavans & Fantasia by Milan
13 Ways is a collection of lessons for classical guitar that emphasizes not only technical development but understand- ing and interpreting musical content that challenges one's performance ability in many ways. The music was inspired by Wallace Stevens' poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."
The day John Lennon was shot I immediately began this piece for classical guitar and violin to express my grief. I hoped the music would be optimistic in spite of the loss of this great musician, thinker, and human being. Sam Costa is both choreograher and dancer in this performance.
My primary guitar teacher was Manuel Barrueco, one of the leading classical guitar performers of our generation. I first heard Manuel at the Toronto Guitar '75 festival where he won second in the competition. A few weeks after returning to Boston, I saw Manuel on Mass Ave. He was in town to play a concert at the Gardner Museum. We visited for awhile and he agreed to give me a lesson, if I'd come to his apartment in NYC. He was teaching at the Manhattan School of Music at the time. I began to go to NYC once every month or two, would have a lesson for a couple of hours, and on some occasions would then get pizza and beer, and play ping pong with Manuel for the rest of the evening. We were both pretty good, and, boy, did he hate to lose. I learned from the playing of Segovia and others, but no one inspired me like Manuel.
I've spent much of my life as a guitar teacher, and most of my compositions for guitar have a pedagogic element. I'm always looking for ways to improve technique and mastery of the instrument. The best path I've found is careful, deliberate practice of the great etudes by Sor, Guiliani, Brouwer, and Villa Lobos. The works by these composers are an effective blend of musical substance, beauty, and technical instruction. My goal is to accomplish the same in my works for guitar.