Friday, October 06, 2006

Strings Blended III Concert

Tomorrow is the SMU Strings Blended concert, a performance featuring the Guitarissimo ensemble, the Obliggato quartet (or was it quintet?), as well as the students' original compositions - product of the 3 month long workshops conducted jointly by Dr John Sharpley and Mr Robert Luse.

My involvement has been limited to only the Guitarissimo ensemble (for which i am the Music Director/Conductor), and we are presenting only 2 ensemble pieces. To the audience, this may seem like a small drop in the ocean, but to the insiders, which includes not just the players, but also the organising committee of the concert, this 2 pieces took us a lot of time and effort to prepare.

Having spent years in Genus ( first as a player, then as a tutor ), i guess i've come to expect a certain level of technical competence when it comes to being an ensemble player. In recent years, we've generally avoided accepting members who are totally new to music/guitar. And even then, when Raj and i conducted the workshops for the freshmen, we still faced challenges bringing them up to speed to take on the ensemble repertoire.

Guitarissimo, on the other hand, comprises mostly undergraduates with little/no experience in music/guitar playing. As long as the person shows interest in guitar music and is willing to commit the time for practices/rehearsals, them're in. I spent the last 5 months training this group of players to read notes (there're those who did not have any music background, and those who could only read tab), and then to play as a group.

It was tough work, but it feels pretty good when the group starts to gel together, and the music begins to take form. For me, there's a real sense of achievement ( not to mention relief! ) bringing the group from almost 'ground zero' to where we are now. We may not be playing the rachmaninoff or the pagannini equivalent on the guitar, but hey - I'm real proud of my guys at Guitarissimo!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gratz Bear!

You have attained the Nirvana of Education!

Perhaps consider a MOE post?


10:30 AM  

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