Of the various styles of guitar playing found throughout the world, I had decided early on to go with the "classic" guitar. Which is to say, that style of guitar playing that facilitates performing classical music on the guitar. Once I found out, at age 10, that classical music could be played on my chosen instrument, thanks to my first guitar teacher (Arnold "Rick" Richtmyer), not to mention a couple of original Segovia recordings I encountered within my father's vast collection of vinyl records, there was really no question in my mind which guitar path I wanted to take. Although I certainly appreciate and enjoy listening to the myriad genres of guitar music out there - and hats off to those guitarists who play more than one - my focus has remained on the classic guitar ever since. And while the guitar, like other instruments such as the piano and violin, has a long-established body of classical repertoire, its repertoire is continuously expanding, as is that of those and other instruments, not only through freshly composed works by both guitarist and non-guitarist composers, but also through transcriptions and arrangements of music of greatly contrasting styles and eras. Not surprisingly perhaps, I myself, as most classical guitarists, regularly find myself working on one or another transcription or arrangement. Occasionally, such projects may even include music that, strictly speaking, does not come under the category of "classical guitar music." Nevertheless, a well-crafted arrangement of such music easily demonstrates how accommodating the classic guitar can be when it comes to the diverse palette of musical genres to choose from. As such, I have no hesitation whatsoever in performing, for example, a Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin or Cole Porter tune as arranged for a fresh, classical reading.
All that said, if you're looking for a guitarist whose performances more typically include composers such as Bach, Milan, Mudarra, De Visee, Sor, Tarrega, Albeniz, Mertz, Regondi, Giuliani, Villa-Lobos, Torroba and Lauro, then you've come to the right place. For me, one of the most important facets of music performance, part of what it's all about, is the historical context of the music one is performing. How stupendous it would have been to be able to listen to a Beethoven performing one of his Sonatas, or a Paganini performing one of his Caprices, or a Chopin performing one of his Etudes. By the same token, certainly no less so for a guitarist to have been able to listen to a Sor performing his "Grand Solo," or a Giuliani performing his "Sonata," or a Regondi performing his "Introduction and Caprice," or a Tarrega performing his "Recuerdos de la Alhambra." Whenever playing those same notes, a guitarist should strive for nothing less than a sincere attempt to render those composers' musical intentions as faithfully as possible, while simultaneously adding something artistically unique, ideally highlighting the essential qualities of a composition. Such a task, of course, requires familiarity with their work and the musical environment that surrounded them, acquired through years of study and listening. Or, a little closer to home, how about the notes of one or another of the works written for Andres Segovia or Julian Bream, among other eminent guitarists of the 20th century, both of whom so many of us have had the priviledge of listening to in concert on more than one occasion. Here our task is facilitated somewhat, as we are given the opportunity to hear the original interpretations of these works, implicitly sanctioned by the composers themselves. For example, Torroba's "Madronos," or Turina's "Fandanguillo," or Castelnuovo-Tedesco's "Melancolia," or Berkeley's "Impromptu," or Walton's "Bagatelle." The sheer contrast in musical styles as reflected even in such a short list speaks all the more convincingly to how accommodating an instrument the classic guitar remains, from the Renaissance through the present.