News from the Harris Guitar Foundation

We got off to a great start last week with our regular Wednesday student gathering in the HGC alcove at SFCM. Several students got to play some of the oldest guitars in the collection, starting with the 1830 Rene Lacote. We played our way through Panormo, Arias and Torres. The great advance that Torres made from the 1850s onward was beautifully displayed with his 1888 maple guitar, SE 112, and the student players marveled at its tonal beauty, depth and balance.

Reminder: SFCM Guitar Department 50th Anniversary Concert
Oct. 11, 8PM, Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall
Admission free, public welcome, no tickets required

Two guitars from HGC will be played at the concert: George Sakellariou will be playing the collection’s newest addition, a 1915 Enrique Garcia. And Marc Teicholz will perform on the 1930 Santos Hernandez, the same guitar he recently recorded on for his CD featuring Sergio Assad’s arrangements of the Brazilian composer, Ernesto Nazareth’s piano music.

Featured Luthier Program: Alan Perlman at SFCM

Next week, luthier Alan Perlman, our current featured luthier, will meet with students to discuss his guitar making and its relationship to the historic guitars in the collection. In particular, he will be discussing the influence on his 2011 satinwood guitar from the collection’s 1929 satinwood Simplicio he repaired last year. Anyone wishing to try Perlman’s guitar while it is in the HGC cabinet can request an appointment with HGF.

Update: Clarice Assad’s guitar concerto

“O Saci Perere”
Premier at SFCM Fall, 2015
Marc Teicholz, soloist

We announced our first major HGF project, Clarice Assad’s new composition based on a traditional Brazilian folk character, in our August blog and noted the funding completion thanks to New Music USA’s grant to Marc Teicholz, the project’s creator. But we had never heard any of the piece until last week—and OMG OSP! Clarice sent us a midi file of the piece and its clear she has created a work that will become a major concerto in the guitar repertoire—whimsical, rambunctious, haunting and percussive with a brilliant blend of melodic and dissonant elements that include orchestral singing and an array of offbeat sound effects. A real tour de force for guitar and orchestra. Congrats to Clarice and Marc. We can’t wait to hear the live premier performance, to be announced.

“The Measure of the Guitar”

A new HGF project led by Kyle Sampson and Alan Perlman.

We are happy to announce a new HGF project. SFCM alum Kyle Samson has offered his time to work with luthier Alan Perlman to measure the guitars in the collection—dimensions of all the external and internal elements in a guitar’s construction. More than a mere technical exercise, this project will go a long way to explaining how guitar construction affects guitar sound (volume, tone, projection, etc).
With his love of early repertoire and early guitars (Panormo, Lacote et. al.), Kyle is acutely aware of the different sound qualities in the collection’s oldest and more contemporary guitars. Without applying simplistic “good/bad” judgments, Kyle respects the variations in the guitar’s tonal beauty displayed over the course of its evolution. Alan Perlman will bring his building and restoration mastery to the project. We will present their findings in future blogs and add dimensions to the collection’s guitar descriptions on the HGF website. Thank you Kyle and Alan!

Auctioning off a Torres in London at Brompton’s auction house

In our next blog, HGF will interview Brompton’s director and Dr. James Westbrook about the Torres guitar up for auction in October. I saw the guitar this summer and it’s a wonderful instrument in amazingly original condition. HGF would love to have the instrument in its collection (it’s a full-sized rosewood instrument) and someday HGF will have the kind of support and resources that could make this possible. At the moment, our fundraising needs for basic operating expenses takes precedence over our dreams for new guitars for the collection.
L. John Harris