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


six maidens


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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 2.02.52 PM




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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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Prelude, Sarabande and Gigue from JS Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 (new 2016 edition)

Here’s a video from a recent performance of mine in Weigand Hall on the Marylhurst University Campus for the Portland Classical Guitar Series filmed December 9th, 2016 by videographer John Dimick.

Recently Michael Lorimer began reworking his original arrangements of Bach’s Six Cello Suites. I’ve been one of the fortunate recipients of the many reworks and have been able to offer feedback. Here are a few movements from the newly finished 2016 version of the Prelude, Sarabande and Gigue from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.

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Pesky Passage Problem Solving for the Classical Guitarist – Saturday January 7th

Have you worked a passage to what feels like a satisfactory level only to return the next day to find it still problematic? Or, have you ‘mastered’ a passage in practice only to find that it falls apart in performance? Often how we feel we learn best actually produces little if any results, resulting in long term frustration.

I’ll be holding a one day informal workshop on problem solving for those pesky passages that take a 20141011-_MG_3144little extra work to master. This free workshop will take place via SKYPE only on Saturday, January 7th from 2:00-3:30 PM PDT. Performers and auditors will be chosen on a first come first served basis.

The workshop will consist of a few performers who’ll share passages that have proven difficult to master. We’ll learn to first identify the passage’s problem, then its solution.  Finally I’ll assign a series of exercises, (using the passage in question) that will help to overcome the problem posed. In the context of that last point we will also be discussing new principles of how wImage 5-23-16 at 10.21 AM copye learn best using a practice format that causes the brain to work fast and hard, (and seemingly in a semi-confused state) resulting in more long term success, in less time and with less effort.

The playbagiiier who applies the concepts learned in this workshop should find him or herself progressing quickly. All levels of players and repertoire will be accepted. The only pre-requisite is that you have the piece memorized and that you share the passage (via PDF) with us in class. So whether its a simple Aguado study or one of the Walton Bagatelles please join me with your pesky passage problems.

Auditors and performers alike will benefit. If you are interested in attending the workshop please send me an email stating whether you want to be a performer or an auditor. In addition you’ll need to have established an account with Skype.

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Portland Classic Guitar Presents Scott Kritzer in Concert Dec 9 (sold out) & 10

Portland Classic Guitar (PCG) is proud to present classical guitarist Scott Kritzer, appearing in 20141011-_MG_3077concert on December 9 and 10, at Marylhurst University’s Wiegand Hall. The December 9 concert is already sold out, and the December 10 show has been added to meet demand. On the program are works by JS Bach, William Walton, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and others. Mr. Kritzer will preview this concert on 89.9 All Classical Portland’s “Thursdays @ Three” program on Thursday, December 8, at 3 p.m.

Mr. Kritzer, known for his musical sensitivity and technical excellence, has been actively touring for Scott Kritzer, Guitaristover three decades and across two continents. His performances have been hailed in cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver (British Columbia), and Sapporo (Japan), and he has given critically acclaimed debuts at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall. Bernard Holland of the New York Times writes that Mr. Kritzer’s performance of Bach creates “an inner life,” while London-based Classical Guitar Magazine calls him “a guitarist in the best modern American mold.” Closer to home, Willamette Week describes Mr. Kritzer as “a champion of living American composers,” and he is a frequent guest on the Portland, Oregon radio station, All Classical Portland. In 1996 Mr. Kritzer was chosen by Senator Bob Packwood to represent the state of Oregon in a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

ScottTomA graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Kritzer studied with one of Segovia’s favorite students, Michael Lorimer, for whom he also served as an assistant in a year-long master class held in North Carolina. In the decades since, Mr. Kritzer taught at both Reed and Lewis & Clark colleges and currently teaches out of his private studio in Beaverton, Oregon. Many of Kritzer’s own students have gone on to win regional, national, and international guitar competitions, and to attend such notable institutions as The Julliard School, the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Mr. Kritzer has released two celebrated solo recordings (Romance for Guitar and A Classical Guitar Christmas) and two marvelous collaborations with soprano Janet Chvatal (In the Blue Hour—featuring the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Munich—and Songs of the Americas). He has performed as soloist with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon Ballet, and multiple chamber orchestras and string quartets throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has also served as performer and Artistic Director to Portland’s Third Angle New Music Ensemble.

Wiegand Hall is located at Marylhurst University: 17600 Pacific Highway, Marylhurst, OR (97036). To order tickets (which are priced at $32-37), call 503-830-1417, or visit portlandclassicguitar.com.

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All Classical Portland presents Thursdays @ Three with Scott Kritzer

[Please note: All in studio seating has been reserved – no seating available]

Each week, All Classical Portland presents Thursdays @ Three, a live broadcast concert showcasing local musicians, arts partners, and visiting artists.  Senior Announcer Robert McBride hosts the lively format of music-making anSenior Announcer Robert McBride with Senior Guitar Player Scott Kritzerd conversation for the radio listening audience – you can stream from anywhere – and members of an intimate studio audience. Live Studio Audience Reservation

Thursdays @ Three concerts are broadcast live and in real time from the studios of All Classical’s Hampton Opera Center, and programs last about an hour. This is my third appeimg_0753arance on Thursdays @ 3. For this appearance I’ll be previewing music from my upcoming performance for the Portland Classic Guitar Series with works by Bloch, Bach, Walton, Gaultier and others. If you would like to join me as a live studio audience member open this link (Live Studio Audience Reservation), and select the Sign Up button at the bottom of the December 8th event listing.  Each of my appearances have sold-out so sign up early.  You can also listen live by going to All Classical 82013 Thursdays @ Three Appearance9.9 KQAC and choose the Listen button. (Archived performances are also available for a few weeks).
For tickets to my Friday, December 9th performance go to Portland Classic Guitar.

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The Times Article – by Ravleen Clark



While all his high school classmates were listening to Led Zeppelin back in the early 1970s, Scott Kritzer was listening to “Five Bagatelles,” classical compositions for the guitar written by William Walton.

Kritzer picked up the guitar at age 9, and after a series of short, intense lessons from his older brother, began buying songbooks and working through collections of music: folk guitar, rock guitar, jazz guitar.

“I had exhausted most of that music,” said Kritzer.

But when he happened upon classical guitar music at a concert, he saw infinite possibilities.

“I just saw a great, fertile place where I could keep exploring,” he said.

None of his fellow students at Tigard High School (he graduated in 1973), where he was a football star, knew he played music.

Kritzer, who lives in Beaverton, is a renowned classical guitarist who has played all over the world, including at Carnegie Hall in New York.

But when he was 18 years old, he faced a crossroads when he made the bold decision to pursue music education after high school.

“I announced it to my previously supportive parents and they flipped,” said Kritzer, who turned down a football scholarship, moved to California and began working to save money to attend the San Francisco Conservatory.

Eventually, he became a student of Michael Lorimer, who was a student of Andrés Segovia — considered by many to be the founder of the modern classical guitar movement.

“It’s kind of nice to be a part of that lineage,” said Kritzer.

Kritzer moved back to the Portland area in 1980, and taught at Lewis & Clark College and Reed College for years before settling into private tutoring.

Over the years, he’s continued to tour all over the world, playing his repertoire of Baroque, Spanish and contemporary pieces, often translated for the guitar from other instruments.

“The music, it speaks differently on the guitar,” said Kritzer. “There’s a natural intimacy.”

Classical guitar marries and muddles the line between the street and the chamber hall, between a “popular” instrument of the masses and an “elite” genre of music.

“We can play James Taylor and we can play Bach,” said Kritzer, describing the guitar’s mobility and versatility.

With the angle of his wrist on the wood and the stroke of his fingers on the strings, Kritzer draws out a wide, exquisite tonal range.

“You feel like you’re a painter with a palette for 50 different colors,” he said.
screenshot-2016-10-06-12-17-01Sitting in his small home studio that opens up to a verdant yard, Kritzer demonstrated the colors he could evoke with different musical phrases.

“You can take your right hand and move it down towards the bridge of the guitar, and when you play down there, the sound is real brittle, and bright. It has a real distant … sound to it,” said Kritzer. “If you bring your hand to the opposite side of the guitar, it is a rich, warm, beautiful sound.”

Kritzer owns only one guitar, custom-designed by renowned maker Jeffrey Elliott, and has played it since 1989.

“Because these things die out. If you don’t play these guys for a few weeks, the wood stops moving. It needs to be exercised. It likes to be talked to, you know?” said Kritzer.

The guitar’s materials, a combination of European spruce and African blackwood, make all the difference. Whenever Kritzer has a few minutes to spare, he picks it up.

“I’ve held this thing in my lap more than I’ve been married, more than my kids have been alive,” said Kritzer. Playing the guitar “got me through puberty, through a divorce.”

While he admits that it’s hard to stay away from his guitar, Kritzer admits that sometimes, distance is what he needs to really understand a piece of music.

He spent several afternoons this month sitting in his garden, practicing pieces on a keyboard.

“I realized things like, ‘I didn’t know that voice was there,’ or ‘that doesn’t sound right,’” said Kritzer. “The translation can be effective if you take yourself out of playing it all the time.”

To this day, Kritzer finds himself breaking new guitar ground — all thanks to teaching.

“I’m out there kind of swatting the bushes in the trail, then I take my students and that’s how I teach,” said Kritzer, who explores new concepts with those learning from him. “I don’t know if I could play without teaching.”

Kritzer has spent the past 12 years developing his signature method and writing a technical guide to impart his knowledge, which will soon be published online. Students master hand positions and movements, then learn to “let go” during performances.

“When you can learn to completely relax your hand, the conduit of music opens up to a much broader spectrum,” he said.

Some of his students have performed during a “Fireside Chat” series, informal gatherings that Kritzer holds at Beaverton First United Methodist

Church every month for guitar enthusiasts and the public to share music and ask questions.

At the next event, at 7 p.m. Oct. 6, the theme will be “What Makes Baroque Music Baroque?”

“I thought it would be nice to build community here,” said Kritzer. “(Beaverton) seems like a community that is ripe, artistically and culturally.”

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