A throng of the globe’s leading guitarists are descending upon Adelaide this week, in a fitting homage to the world’s most popular instrument at the 2012 Adelaide International Guitar Festival. This year’s program boasts 88 musicians across 42 exhilarating events over four jam-packed days from today, Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August.
The fourth Adelaide International Guitar Festival is the most significant festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, the program showcases 18 international artists from the United States of America, Croatia, Bosnia, Brazil and Korea, plus 70 of the best Australian musicians.
As the nation’s largest international guitar festival, this premier Adelaide music event features a smorgasbord of ticketed shows spanning classical, flamenco, roots, jazz, blues, rock, funk and contemporary song writing, as well as free and low cost workshops, master classes, artist talks and panel discussions.
The 2012 program delivers a World Premiere, three Australian Premieres and five Adelaide Premieres, 17 international events and one-night only performances, many of which are exclusive to the Adelaide International Guitar Festival.
Esteemed guitarist Slava Grigoryan relishes his second tenure as Adelaide International Guitar Festival Artistic Director, “I am so proud of what this Festival has become and the incredible sense of community it has harnessed, attracting world-class musicians and providing rare access to a broad range of music forms for guitar enthusiasts and artists alike.”
“Our aim in extending the Festival experience has brought about initiatives such as the Meet the Maker events where a bridge between guitar makers and the wider community has been established.”
In a Festival first, the inaugural Meet the Maker series of free events features 13 fascinating guitar makers from across Australia and the opportunity for guitar enthusiasts to explore the craft of luthiery in a focussed environment, being privy to demonstrations involving latest works, various tools, techniques and trade secrets.
“We have also focused on setting reasonably priced tickets to make the high calibre of musicians accessible to Festival-goers as well as offering a number of free events for all to immerse themselves in this extraordinary cultural feast,” Slava says.
“I encourage audiences to explore unfamiliar territory and seek out artists or genres they haven’t heard of in addition to old favourites, as they won’t be disappointed! The Festival offers a range of music experiences which really offer an incredible journey that knows no boundaries,” he says.
Marking the opening night of this cultural event tonight (Thursday 9 August), in a colossal performance set to ignite the Festival Theatre stage, is the John Scofield Trio. From funk and fusion to swinging jazz standards, rock-fuelled jams, lush orchestral collaborations and gritty blues, Scofield effortlessly masters each style with his potent distinctive six-string voice complemented by improvised musical banter with his band Ben Street (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums). Supporting them in this rare musical treat are The Airbenders featuring Adelaide’s own Mike Stewart (saxophone) and Paul White (Hammond organ) along with up-and-coming star Hugh Stuckey on guitar and drummer Andrew Dickeson.
Direct from a sold-out US tour, New York’s charismatic Punch Brothers make their Australian music festival debut in the Festival Theatre on Friday 10 August with special guests The Yearlings. The Punch Brothers have built on their bluegrass roots to create a sound that breaks through folk, jazz, indie rock and classical music.
On Sunday 12 August, the Festival Theatre stage will be charged with majestic shows Quintette and The Spirit of Flamenco. The formidable Australian String Quartet is joined by a stellar line-up of international soloists to perform some of the most superb guitar quintets ever written in a unique collaboration exclusive to Adelaide International Guitar Festival. Collectively with exceptional Festival guests Edin Karamazov, Ana Vidovic, Simon Powis and Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan, the Quartet will present works by Boccherini, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Albéniz and eminent Australian composer Phillip Houghton, as well as a suite of seven classic Beatles songs arranged for guitar and string quartet by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. A post-performance High Tea with Quintette performers will be served at the idyllic Lyrics restaurant, overlooking the River Torrens from 3pm.
The Spirit of Flamenco toasts American maestro Jason McGuire’s – ‘el Rubio’ – collaboration with Emmy Award-winning choreographer and dancer Yaelisa, drawing their San Francisco-based company Caminos Flamencos to Australia for the first time. Special guest Florian Remus gathers some of South Australia’s brightest flamenco stars to embody the exhilarating and electrifying spirit – el Duende - that arises from the genre’s fierce fusion of dance, voice, percussion and guitar.
In a World Premiere performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, award-winning musicians, composers and innovators, the Grigoryan Brothers explore the entire suite, arranged for two guitars by their father Edward. In a unique arrangement for guitars and voice, Schubert’s Winterweisse will be tenderly played by dynamic duo Oliver Fartach-Naini and Lee Song-Ou, and joined by acclaimed lyric coloratura tenor Henry Choo, presented in the Dunstan Playhouse on 9 August.
On 10 August in the Dunstan Playhouse, Ana Vidovic in Recital showcases the extraordinary grace, delicacy and expressive eloquence of talented guitarist Ana Vidovic. Special guests on the evening are Elder Conservatorium’s elite Guitarissimo performing a diverse and exciting repertoire.
Acclaimed composer, revered scholar and masterful guitarist Paulo Bellinati brings his distinctive sound to Australia for the first time. Famed for compositions which reinvent traditional rhythms, Bellinati and his fellow countryman Weber Lopes strike a perfect balance between the sophistication of classical music and the spontaneity of popular forms. See them on 11 August at the Dunstan Playhouse.
In an Australian exclusive performance at the Dunstan Playhouse on 11 August, enigmatic Bosnian lutenist Edin Karamazov will treat his audience to a charismatic performance of his favourite compositions along with innovative soloist of a new generation of classical guitarists, Australian expat Simon Powis.
Celebrate innovative guitar quartet Guitar Trek’s 25th anniversary on a musical voyage through their distinctive and innovative sound in the Dunstan Playhouse on 12 August in a special launch performance of their new album to mark their impressive milestone.
Join founding member of multiple Grammy Award-winning US swing band Asleep at the Wheel, ABC Radio National’s Daily Planet presenter, screen composer and touring musician, Lucky Oceans for a Coopers Late Night Session with his pedal-steel guitar and blazing quartet including Ric Eastman and Dave Brewer together with multi-instrumentalist Sam Lemann at the Space Theatre on 9 August.
Another Coopers Late Night Session on 10 August at the Space Theatre is one of the hottest talents in Australian blues, revered Sydney guitarist Ray Beadle whose infectious swing and loping rhythmic sensibility are underscored by Hal Tupaea (bass) and George Brugmans (drums) along with Adelaide’s five-piece roots institution The Streamliners.
In a highly anticipated Triple Bill, Harry James Angus (The Cat Empire, Jackson Jackson) will enchant audiences with his poignant storytelling via a series of breathtaking ballads, followed by the young and dangerously talented Roscoe James Irwin at the Space Theatre on 11 August. Australian folk darlings, Tinpan Orange featuring guitarist Jesse Lubitz and stunning six-foot front-woman Emily Lubitz twirling her flaming red hair across a complex musical landscape will form the final treat in this spectacular performance trifecta.
Adelaide’s legendary Billy Bob Rankine and the BBQ Boys will host the final night of the Festival and Coopers Late Night Sessions with an All Star Jam at the Space Theatre on Sunday 12 August with very special guests including a bevy of the finest international, interstate and local Festival guitarists for a highly memorable last hurrah.
This year the Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition, supported by the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation and Marsh Australia, attracted competitors from across the globe. The 16 semi-finalists have passed through a rigorous audition round and will travel from Italy, France, Germany, China, Thailand and from across Australia to compete for the first prize of $10,000 and a guitar made by acclaimed South Australian luthier Jim Redgate valued at $16,000. Festival-goers are invited to the free finals event on Saturday 11 August in the Dunstan Playhouse from 10am to 1pm.The prize ceremony will take place at 3pm on the same day.
Adelaide Festival Centre has joined forces with Adelaide City Council to present the various free workshops including Dave Brewer’s Talking Technique with Lucky Oceans, Caminos Flamencos’ Flamenco Dance, Jason McGuire’s Beginners and Intermediate Levels for Flamenco Guitar and Sam Lemann’s Hawaiian Ukulele Styles.
Other free events include the series of four Artists in Conversation events, Segovia on Toast, facilitated by The Victorian Guitar Society’s Dr Paul Nash along with a panel of guitarists and educators including Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan. Edin Karamazov discusses his musical adventures with Classic FM’s Julie Howard, while Lucky Oceans reveals the evolution of the steel guitar and his journey with the instrument and ABC Radio National Music Deli’s host Alice Keath explores musical inspirations with Punch Brothers’ mandolinist Chris Thile.
Making another comeback this year is 15 Minutes of Fame open mic performances, providing emerging guitarists with the unique opportunity to perform at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival. For a 15 Mins of Fame schedule of performances visit: www.adelaideguitarfestival.com.au
Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says “We are gearing up for an exceptional Festival showcasing some of the world’s best guitarists, guitar makers and enthusiasts.”
“Slava and our Adelaide International Guitar Festival team have worked tirelessly to ensure that the entire four days are filled with engaging events to keep Festival-goers entertained throughout.
“Adelaide truly will be the guitar devotees’ top destination this week,” he says.
For full program/venue details and information on workshops and other events in the 2012 Adelaide International Guitar Festival go to www.adelaideguitarfestival.com.au
Tickets are on sale through BASS 131 246 or online www.bass.net.au.
SEE OUR INTERVIEW WITH ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, SLAVA GRIGORYAN BY CLICK HERE