Three Works by Manuel de Falla

A selection from my recent Portland State University concert; three works from the ballet music of  Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

The first few minutes is background to the music being played. It’s a story of love, jealousy and revenge. All on one little guitar.

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Right Hand Detail Work with a Slow Motion Camera

I like to use my iPhone’s slow-motion camera to catch any technical inconsistencies that happen at speeds where such factors are hard to monitor. Here’s an excerpt from William Walton’s first Bagatelle for guitar. I was working on my alternation pattern at the end of the work. In real time it looks like this:

Here’s the same passage in slow motion. Notice the alternation (I and M fingers pass each other at the neutral position – helping to keep the pattern rhythmically accurate).

I made the slow motion video because I was looking for a breakdown that was occurring in the passage. After noting that my alternation was fine I realized the problem was in the left hand – that saved me a lot of wasted practice time.

In any case the use of slow motion video is a great way to break down problems that are too detailed to see in real time. In some cases I film passages played at the very top of my tempo range (or beyond) to find what is creating a barrier; is it technique or just the extent of my abilities?

Try this yourself. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for with regard to the sympathetic or alternation patterns you can at least look for a uniformity. Are your fingers moving with the same excursion? Are they moving in time? Do they look coordinated? Its all there under the naked eye of the slow motion camera!
 

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Classical Guitar Immersion – Performance, June 14-21, 2019 Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon

Classical Guitar Immersion – Performance Development – June 14-21, 2019 Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon
CGI is an immersion experience where 7 guitarists join for a week of performance preparation on the historic Columbia River Gorge at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon.


IMG_4894
In this close and intimate setting students get personal attention through daily masterclasses, ensemble rehearsals and performance workshops where technique, practice concepts and performance skills including the tools to help eliminate the effects of performance anxiety are explored. In addition to the scheduled workshops friendships are developed through informal discussions around the dining table, morning coffee in CGI’s large private kitchen, on walks around the beautiful grounds or at the outdoor fireplace that overlooks the historic Columbia River Gorge.

The CGI Year in PREVIEW
CGI is more than just a week-long workshop but rather the culmination of months of direction to help in your preparation. Beginning in the summer prior to CGI participants will be encouraged to focus on technique and begin acquiring some new technical goals. In the fall participants will be encouraged to begin implementing practice directives such as ‘Slow Practice’, ‘Goal Directed Movement’, ‘Backward Sectionals’ that will go towards establishing a strong technical foundation while solidifying the memorization of your new work. Also, in the fall ensemble repertoire will be assigned.

Beginning in the new year participants will begin working on musicianship practice directive such as ‘Counting Measures’, ‘Vocalization’ and ‘Conducting’ Beginning in the spring participants we work on performance skills using the practice directives from my Performance Anxiety Rehab Workshop.

By rotating through a series of practice directives you’ll be better prepared for the week where you’re playing will peak as we work on performance preparation.

CGI Overview
With panoramic views of the historic Columbia River Gorge the Menucha Retreat and Conference IMG_0015Center is the ideal location to immerse yourself in a week’s worth of classical guitar performance preparation. The daily schedule includes two master classes, ensemble rehearsal, technical and performance coaching. Spend your free time reviewing the video of your lesson, practice, compare notes, but also leave time to enjoy the grounds. Its easy to find a few friends to walk the trails or play tennis (few brave the unheated outdoor pool), or spend time in reflection overlooking the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

Three meals are provided each day in Wright Dining Hall. Special diets are available upon request.

All classes take place in Creevey Hall, a large teaching room attached to a large kitchen where personal food items can be stored and pre-breakfast gatherings take place amongst your fellow guitarists.

Each participant will have a private room and bathroom with shower.

Repertoire
All levels are accepted at CGI. Strong preference will go to students familiar with my method. The only other requirement is that each student must be prepared to play at least two works, one from the study repertoire and one from the general repertoire from memory and the required ensemble piece from score. We will perform two concerts on for the local Menucha community and special guests.

In addition we will be working on ensemble music, some of which will be part of our final concerts.

CGI Hand Stretches and Body Movement
In an effort to combat muscle and mental fatigue I’ll be teaching you hand and arm stretches. We’ll also learn a series of short functional movements that will not only help revitalize the back and shoulders but also reset the negative affects of sitting.

CGI Schedule
Classical Guitar Immersion

Friday
1:00-3:00 Portland Airport Arrivals and Pick-ups
4:00-5:00 Check-in
5:00-5:30 Orientation
5:30-6:00 CGI Orientation
7:00-8:00 Dinner

Saturday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Master Class
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open
3:30-5:30 Master Class
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-8:30 Ensemble Rehearsal
8:30-9:00 Technical Warm-Down

Sunday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Master Class
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open
3:30-5:30 Master Class
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-8:30 Ensemble Rehearsal
8:30-9:00 Technical Warm-Down

Monday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast

9:30-11:30 Master Class
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open
3:30-5:30 Master Class
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-8:30 Ensemble Rehearsal
8:30-9:00 Technical Warm-Down

Tuesday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Master Class
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open
3:30-5:30 Master Class/Performance I
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-8:30 Performance I Review
8:30-9:00 Technical Warm-Down
IMG_2211Wednesday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Ensemble Rehearsal and Performance Staging
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open
3:30-4:30 Performance Warm-up
4:30-5:30 Public Performance (II)
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-8:30 Performance II Review

Thursday
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Goals and Repertoire
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:30 Open

3:30-4:30 Ensemble Rehearsal and Warm-up
4:30-5:30 Private Performance (III)
6:00-7:00 Dinner with Guests
8:30-10:00 Outdoor Fireplace Gathering

Friday
7:30-8:00 Check-out
8:00-9:00 Breakfast

Schedule subject to change

Housing and Meals
Each participant will have a private room and bathroom/shower and a shared small living room area.Wright Hall In addition we have private access to a large kitchen complete with microwave, coffee machine and refrigerator. Participants can bring snacks and drinks and store them in Creevey which is locked each night. We will meet in Wright Hall each day for meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are covered each day except for the Friday of our arrival where we will have dinner only and the Friday of our departure where we will have breakfast only.

Alternate diets can be accommodated at an additional cost of $40.00. An extensive list of options are available. Reserve your meals no later than four weeks prior to the first day of CGI. For more information, and to request an alternate diet, go to http://menucha.org/dining/alternatediet.

Fees & Deadlines

  • CGI cost is $1995.00 and includes all housing, meals and classes.
  • A non-refundable deposit of $495.00 secures a spot. Registration to past participants opens immediately after the previous CGI and extends until August 1st .
  • Open Registration begins August 2nd (earlier deposits will be taken for open registration and any spots that open on that date will be given on a first-come-first-served basis).
  • Final Fee for CGI Due: March 1st
  • Final Repertoire List Due April 1st
  • Alternate Dietary Requests Due: May 18st

General Info
Menucha is a great place for doing some simple hiking. The hiking trails are relatively flat but you can find some hills. There are tennis and basketball courts as well as an outdoor (unheated) swimming pool.

The weather can be a little rainy, usually some nice weather but of course dress in layers. Bug repellant is not a bad idea for our annual outdoor fireplace night.

There are no phones or TVs in the rooms and wifi is rather slow but available. Click HERE for more information about your stay at Menucha at this link

Getting to Menucha
IMG_0617I want everyone to arrive no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, June 16th. We will form a carpool made of up local students who can pick-up and drop off those flying into Portland International Airport.

Students should plan on staying through Friday breakfast, June 23rd.

Please send me the following to help coordinate your arrival:

  • Arrival time (local or remote students)
  • Cell phone number
  • Air travelers should also send your itinerary including arrival and departure times and flight numbers. (I’ll coordinate pick-ups and get everyone in contact with each other the week before)

Menucha Retreat and Conference Center
38711 East Historic Columbia River Hwy
Corbett, OR 97019-0008
Phone: 503-695-2243 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm PST, weekdays)

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Classical Guitar Immersion – June 15-22nd 2018

  • Classical Guitar Immersion – Performance Development – SOLD OUT (see information below of TWO CGI’s coming in 2019* )
    CGI is an immersion experience where 7 guitarists join for a week of performance preparation on the historic Columbia River Gorge at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon.


IMG_4894
In this close and intimate setting students get personal attention through daily masterclasses, ensemble rehearsals and performance workshops where technique, practice concepts and performance skills including the tools to help eliminate the effects of performance anxiety are explored. In addition to the scheduled workshops friendships are developed through informal discussions around the dining table, morning coffee in CGI’s large private kitchen, on walks around the beautiful grounds or at the outdoor fireplace that overlooks the historic Columbia River Gorge.

*Classical Guitar Immersion – Technique – May 19-24, 2019 (space is limited)
In 2019 I’ll be adding a second CGI on Technique. This will coincide with the fall 2018 release of my method Primary Skills Development. Participants will work online through my method. In addition I’ll be meeting personally with participants in monthly live workshops beginning in January to 2019. Our work will culminate at CGI Technique in May 2019. Participants must complete Phase I Primary Skills Development prior to CGI Technique.

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Upcoming Performances

I have two more performances scheduled for the remainder of the Fall of 2017. Friday, October 13th at noon I’ll be performing at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus’ Little Theatre (CT201). On Saturday, October 21st at 2:00 pm I make my first Seattle appearance in a performance sponsored by the Seattle Guitar Society at the Frye Museum’s Recital Hall located at 704 Terry Avenue. Admission to both concerts is FREE.

These programs will features a trio of works from the ballet music of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, Sir William Walton’s landmark work The Five Bagatelles for Guitar my own arrangements of Lou Harrison’s Waltz for Evelyn Heinrichen, originally for piano, and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma as well as movements from Sylvius Leopold Weiss’ Sonata No 34.20141011-_MG_3144

This program hits on all my favorite eras and styles for the classical guitar. I’ve been trying to get Walton’s Five Bagatelles, one of my first loves, back on my program for over a decade. And I’ve always loved playing the de Falla – these charming works are really casting their spell on me in my practice room.

Please see my Upcoming Events Side Bar for more information.

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Portland Performance – October 7, 2017

I’ll be will previewing my upcoming Seattle Guitar Society performance in a special Portland performance at Casa Della Zisa located at 4624 NE Fremont Street in Portland, Oregon on Saturday October 7th at 7:30 pm.

The program features J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fuge, BWV 539a, originally for organ, 20141011-_MG_3144my own arrangement of Lou Harrison’s Waltz for Evelyn Heinrichen, originally for piano, and movements from Sylvius Leopold Weiss’ Sonata No 34. I’m also bringing back repertoire from my past; a suite of works from the ballet music of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and Sir William Walton’s landmark work The Five Bagatelles for Guitar.

This program hits on all my favorite eras and styles for the classical guitar. I’ve been trying to get Walton’s Five Bagatelles, one of my first loves, back on my program for over a decade. And I’ve always loved playing the de Falla – these charming works are really casting their spell on me in my practice room.

Make your reservations now by emailing Peter Zisa at casadellazisa@gmail.com or by calling (503) 307-4907. Seating is limited.

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El Polifemo de Oro (four fragments for guitar) by Reginald Smith-Brindle

Here’s a recent performance from my performance in Bozeman, Montana of Reginald Smith-Brindle’s work “El Polifemo de Oro” inspired by Garcia Lorca’s poem.

At the round

crossroads,

six maidens

dance.

Three of flesh,

three of silver.

the dreams of yesterday search for them,

but they are held embraced

by a polyfemus of gold.

The Guitar!

The polyfemus of gold (cyclops of gold) references the guitar with a face of gold and a single eye (the sound hole). Three of flesh and three of silver reference the strings of the guitar….

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Northwest Guitar Festival 2017 Presentation on Right Hand Technique

I’ll be previewing my soon to be released Phase I Primary Skills Development in a lecture/workshop Logo NWGFat the 26th annual Northwest Guitar Festival to be held at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon from Friday April 7  through Sunday April 9.

Featured at the NWGF will be evening recitals by Martha Masters, Michael Partington and Hilary Field. Afternoon
recitals will be presented by Elizabeth C.D. Brown and Michael Lefevre. In addition there will be masterclasses, a guitar orchestra performance and two competitions as well as a lecture by yours truly. (Festival schedule is below)

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 2.03.52 PMMy lecture cover right hand technique and will take place Friday, April 7th from 1:45-2:45 in Lincoln Hall’s room LH303. In addition I’ll be performing Fernando Sor’s duet L’ encouragement with festival director Jesse McCann with the festival orchestra (arrangement by Bryan Johanson) lead by John Mery on Sunday, April 9th from noon to 1 pm. Amateurs are encouraged to participate – its a great way to meet other guitarists!

Registration for the festival is $125 – what a deal. Portland Guitar Society members get an even better deal; $40 for the entire festival.

To register you can make checks payable Portland State University, School of Music.

Attn: Jesse McCann
P.O. Box 751
College of the Arts, School of Music
Portland State University
Portland, OR 97207-0751

You can view the festival brochure on line HERE. For more information go to NWGF 17’s website HERE.

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Available for Listening

16681694_10155729740194908_4917629681029520398_nIf you weren’t able to make it as a live studio audience member my recent performance on All Classical’s popular “Thursdays @ 3” live radio broadcast is available for listening. Just go to All Classical and choose ‘Audio Archive’ on the right sidebar and then Thursdays @ 3’s latest broadcast. It will only be available for a few weeks.

16640899_10155729739994908_1559039779816790733_nI performed works by Bach, Weiss, Default and Gaultier. Also performing on the show was a great cast of singers and harpsichordist from the Portland Opera performing Monteverdi. Here I am serenading my lovely #1 fan in the warm-up room overlooking the Tilikum Crossing Bridge.

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Week of February 6, 2017

Two performances coming up this week. First I’ll be sharing the mic with Portland Opera when I joinIMG_0704 KQAC’s Robert McBride for Thursdays @ 3 this Thursday, February 9th, 3:00 pm PDT. There is room for in-studio guests or you can listen live. For more information go to KQAC Thursday’s @ 3.

img_6602-1And if you’re in the area join me for my popular Guitar Salon on Thursday, February 9th at 7 pm in the Fireside Room of the First United Methodist Church located on 12555 SW 5th Ave in Beaverton, Oregon. I’ll be playing and informally chatting about the music. If you’d like to bring your guitar and play a few pieces please do so. For more information go to Guitar Salon.

For more information on upcoming performances and workshops please see the sidebar.

 

 

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