New York Guitar Festival Marathon Celebrates 'Las Americas'

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Last week I hosted the bi-annual New York Guitar Festival Marathon, which this year featured guitarists from both North and South America. The focus was on classical and folk-based works, but the great thing about the guitar is the ease with which it transcends genre and category. Anyway, the afternoon session at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall featured North American music: Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the U.S. The evening session was South American, with a heavy dose of Brazil. (As I told the audience that day, there was a lot of Portuguese being spoken in the green room backstage.)

In his review of the evening concert in the New York Times, Jon Pareles mentioned that the event was recorded for Soundcheck. I will hasten to add that it was not recorded by our crew; what we have are simply the archival tapes made from two overhead microphones. They did not pick up any of the onstage banter, so I’ve edited most of that out. Grudgingly, since some of the interviews that preceded each set were pretty entertaining. But there are few things more annoying than hearing lots of people laughing and not being able to make out what they’re laughing at, so out it went.

Badi Assad’s set also suffered for the same reason: she sings in addition to playing, and the vocals are hard to hear. But you can check out her live set for us in the Soundcheck studio and get the idea. The guitar playing was consistently amazing. I have my own favorites, some of which I’ll be playing on my other show, New Sounds, on Jan. 30; but you can pick your own out of the individual sets. A hopefully complete setlist of the day’s festivities follows.

Guitarists perform at the 2014 New York Guitar Festival Marathon at New York's Merkin Concert Hall.

The 2014 New York Guitar Festival Marathon at New York's Merkin Concert Hall. (Photo credit: Juliet Janiszewski)




David Mozqueda

Trad/arr Villasenor: Cielito Lindo
Trad/arr Mozqueda: Estrellita/Manuel Ponce: Scherzzino mexicano
Manuel Ponce: Sonata III, 3rd movement
César Portillo de la Luz/arr. Mozqueda: Contigo en la Distanica (with you in the distance)
Isaac Calderon: Las tres Pelonas (the 3 bald girls)


Colin Davin

Joan Tower: Clocks
Joan Tower: Snow Dreams, with Daniel James, flute
Conrad Winslow: Try the Spirits, with D.James, flute, and C Winslow, laptop


Connie Sheu

Dale Kavanagh: Three Preludes – Rubato/flexible, Gently Rocking, Moderato
John Anthony Lennon: Concert Etudes – Nocturne, Toccata, Cavatina, Serenata
Clarice Assad: Valsinha, Lullaby (world premiere), The Last Song


Jorge Caballero, Set One

John Major: Burning Circle
Elliott Carter: Shard, Changes
Leo Brouwer: Sonata #1

William Kanengiser

Leo Brouwer: Afro-Cuban Lullaby, Danza Carecteristica
Manuel Ponce: Preludio Cubano, Intermezzo, Tropico and Rumba
Ernesto Garcia de Leon: Sonata #1
Bryan Johanson: The Magic Serenade
Brian Head: Brookland Boogie


Encore (All of the Above)

Aaron Copland: Danza de Jalisco




Brasil Guitar Duo

Astor Piazzolla: Zita
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Prelude from Bachianas Brasileiras #4
Douglas Lora: Postlude Joao Luiz: Zanzifuga
Egberto Gismonti: A Fala da Paixao
Egberto Gismonti: 7 Aneis
Marco Pereira: Bate-Coxa


Romero Lubambo

Romero Lubambo: "Luisa"
Ary Barroso: "Aquarela do Brasil"
Cesar Camargo Mariano: "Samambaia" 
Bororó: "Da cor do pecado"
Romero Lubambo: "P'ro Flavio"


Jorge Caballero, Set Two

Antonio Lauro: Suite Venezolana
Augustin Barrios: 2 Waltzes
Alberto Ginastera: Sonata, Op. 47


Duo Siqueira-Lima (Cecilia Siqueira, Fernando Lima)

Cesar Camargo Mariano: Cristal
Radames Gnattali: Canhoto
Pixinguinha: 1x0
Hugo Fattorusso: Candombe
Alberto Ginastera: Idilio Crepuscular
Astor Piazzolla: Primavera Portena
Dominguinhos: Homenagem ao Chinquinho do Acrodeom
Zequinha de Abreu: Tico Tico


Badi Assad, Badi Assad + Romero Lubambo

B. Assad/J. Young: The Being Between
L. Gonzaga/H. Teixeira: Asa Branca/V.Farias: Ai Que Saudade d’oce
B. Assad: Noite de Sao Joao
Badi Assad: Você não entendeu nada
Heitor Villa-Lobos/L. Gonzaga & H. Teixeira: Estudio #1/Assum-Preto

B. Blanco: Banca do Distinto