Blog #5

We are happy to be back in business at SFCM with a new crop of very talented guitar students–freshmen, graduates and even some transfer students. And we welcome back the continuing students at all levels we already know and love. Our Wednesday sessions in the HGF alcove are going full speed ahead as we bring out of the display case each week guitars that tell the story of the evolution of our instrument.

Here are some of the highlights of what’s going on at HGF:

Our New Featured Luthier: Randy Angella

randy-43476

Many thanks to Pepe Romero Jr., our out-going Featured Luthier. His wonderful guitar will now join the SFCM collection, available on loan to students. It’s going to be a very popular guitar at SFCM.

Welcome to our new Featured Luthier, Randy Angella. His superb guitar, now on display in our display cabinet, will also join the SFCM loaner collection. Randy has been building for over 40 years and his guitars are played by many internationally known performers, including Michael Lorimer, Jorge Caballero and our very own David Tanenbaum. The guitar on display, #192, is from 2010, recently gifted to the Conservatory by former student, Felix Vergara. Read more about the guitar and Randy in our Featured Luthier section of the HGF website: www.harrisguitarfoundation.org

Classical Guitar Magazine to feature HGF Winter issue, 2015

Last Summer I was approached by writer Jeff Kaliss for an article on HGF for Classical Guitar Magazine. Jeff came to SFCM to see the HGF display case and he interviewed me, David Tanenbaum and several SFCM guitar students. We look forward to seeing the article, the first serious media feature on the foundation.

CGM was launched in England in 1982 by the well-known guitar scholar Maurice Summerfield. Last year the magazine was purchased by Stringletter Publications, the Marin County publisher of Accoustic Guitar, Strings and other publications. We welcome CGM to our Bay Area guitar community.

World premiere sponsored by HGF:

Clarice Assad guitar concerto

O Saci Pererê
Clarice Assad, composer
The New Music Ensemble directed by Nicole Paiement
Guitarist: Marc Teicholz
HGF Guitar: Stephan Connor, 2008
January 14, Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, SFCM
Tickets, $30, available at: http://omniconcerts.com/tickets/

We are delighted to have had the opportunity to be involved in this project as the non-profit sponsor. The premiere will be part of the bi-annual Biasini Competition and Festival being held this year at SFCM. Special thanks goes to Marc Teicholz who approached Ms. Assad and HGF to make this all happen. All indications are that this concerto will be an important new contribution to the repertoire. Funding for the commission came from a variety of sources, including New Music USA, HGF and SFCM. The OMNI foundation is also co-sponsoring the premiere as part of its new season of guitar concerts.

Harris Guitar Collection Showcase

At the Biasini Competition and Festival
January 16, 2015
SFCM, Recital Hall, 4PM
Free

During the Biasini Competition (http://www.guitarcompetitionbiasini.org), HGF will present a group of important guitars from the collection—Torres, Bouchet, Garcia, Hauser, Simplicio, Rodriguez, Santos– with demonstrations by some of SFCM’s finest student players. L. John Harris and David Tanenbaum will co-host the showcase. The presentation will mirror the regular weekly gatherings at SFCM when students come to play and discuss guitars from the collection in the HGF alcove on the mezzanine lever of SFCM.

The Steve Connor Connection at SFCM

The guitar Marc Teicholz has selected to perform the Assad concerto on is our 2008 Stephan Connor, built by the luthier in collaboration with Maestro Angel Romero. It has, incidentally, a 20th fret that is required to perform Ms. Assad’s composition. This is the guitar that launched SFCM’s close relationship with the Boston-area luthier. Maestro Romero began working with Steve Connor around 2005 on a guitar that would bare his name on the label. The instruments in this Angel Romero signature edition are made of the most exquisite materials available and are constructed to performance standards required and approved by the maestro.

When Romero played this guitar at his OMNI foundation concert in 2008, I was able to try it along with members of the SFCM faculty. Impressed, I purchased the guitar and named it “el Rabino” (the Rabbi) because of its unusual six-pointed Star of David bracing pattern. David Tanenbaum and Rich Savino ordered Connor guitars almost immediately and others, including Marc Teicholz and the Assads followed suit.

A new 2015 Connor guitar was just purchased by SFCM guitar alum Jeff Wells as a gift to SFCM’s guitar department in honor of the late Paul Binkley, a former instructor at SFCM. This guitar will go into our Featured Luthier cabinet during the Biasini Festival and Steve, who will be attending the Festival, will spend time with SFCM students discussing his techniques and philosophy of guitar building.

New Guitars at HGF

From time to time, we come across an instrument that is both an excellent example of an important luthier’s output (both in condition and sound), but also helps us tell the story of the guitar’s development since it’s modern birth in the mid-19th century. Here are the four instruments recently added to the collection. You will be able to see pictures on our website latter this Fall.

Dedier Nicholas la Aine, 1815, Mirecourt

An ornately decorated guitar from Mirecourt, the center of guitar building in France from the late 17th to early 20th centuries. Restored to excellent playing condition by Richard Brune.

Juan Perfumo, 1839, Cadiz

A beautifully preserved guitar from the Cadiz region, a major influence on the revolutionary guitars of Antonio de Torres. The frets, action and a bowed neck were expertly adjusted recently by one of HGF’s Featured Luthiers, Alan Perlman.

Benito Ferrer, 1917, Granada

The father of the Granada school of guitar making, Ferrer made the first guitar owned by Segovia, from 1904 to 1913. Alan Perlman replaced the worn frets and leveled the fingerboard.

Arcangel Fernandez, 1962, Madrid

The only student of the great Marcelo Barbero, Arcangel Fernandez is highly regarded for both his flamenco and classical guitars. It has been reported that a Japanese guitar dealer bought the entire lifetime output of Fernandez’ shop in the 1960s, but some guitars, like the one in the Harris Collection, have been sold in Spain and made their way to the US.

An Exciting Guitar Building Project

Its just in the planning and funding stages and the details are unclear, but we are starting to conceptualize an HGF project in which SFCM guitar students will participate with a local luthier in the building of a guitar that will become part of the SFCM’s student loaner collection. Details forthcoming in future blogs. What an amazing opportunity this will be for students to become familiar with the entire process of guitar building, documented in great detail.

HGF will need to raise funds for the price of the guitar. Contributors to this HGF project at the $500 level or higher will be invited to join us for sessions at the luthier’s workshop at key moments during the guitar’s construction. The luthier will be generously donating his time to this project way beyond the labor of building the guitar.