Friday, June 22, 2007


I just ordered 2 CDs of the Tokyo Guitar Quartet, playing some popular music ranging from O Solo Mio, La Cumparsita, to Funiculi Funicular and Broadway music from the West Side Story. It should be interesting to listen to yet another guitar quartet (besides the evergreen LAGQ - sadly now missing Andrew York) play these transcriptions.

I've also ordered a set of quartet scores to test out with Guitaresque.

To be honest, I'm pretty eager to get the recording and the SAM performance (21 July) over and done with, as then we can truly start exploring new music. Not that playing the Bachs and the Vivaldis arent challenging, but it does get a little "flat" after a while, since none of us are full-time musicians (or even music students, for that matter) and sometimes I do find our interpretations of such period music rather 1 dimensional. The best we could do is to listen to the professionals and maestro play in their records, and try to imitate their style, their phrasing. Sadly (or not), that is often good enough in the local context of classical guitar playing, to rise above the mediocrity of the general lot of players.

Recently, a colleague after hearing that I am learning the cello, on top of teaching classical guitar in 2 local varsities, asked, "Why don't you think about doing music full-time, like start a small private teaching school or something?"

I laughed at his suggestion, "Com'on lah, how to 'survive' doing music in Singapore?"


That prompted me to think of my own career path... WHAT IF... I had chosen to study music full-time back then? Most likely would've gotten a music diploma/degree majoring in classical guitar. Then what? Become a full time guitar teacher or conductor in the various schools and institutions in Singapore? Or join Yamaha as a guitar teacher, taking private students?
None of these options appeal to me... What I really enjoy, is to be playing in a performing orchestra, playing with like-minded musicians and enjoying not just the music we make, but also the process of making it.

Obviously, you ain't gonna get that opportunity if you are a classical guitar player. Not in Singapore at least. The closest possibility is to travel to Japan and join the Niibori Guitar Orchestra as a professional performing member. *sigh* Maybe my dear friend Balraj can fulfil that dream one day...

Anyway, back in reality, Guitaresque is the closest thing I have to satisfy my appetite for music making alongside fellow musicians and friends. Perhaps that's why I've willingly taken on the role of 'task-master' for the group, studiously writing arrangements and transcriptions for the quartet, as well as always being on the lookout for new performing opportunities in this "barren land", as far as classical guitar performance is concerned.

Or perhaps playing the cello would open new doors in the future...

Who knows.. :)


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