A report on the 2010-11 Guitar Series at the Victoria Conservatory of Music

The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s guitar series featured four events – all of exceptional quality. Jorge Caballero, whose amazing musicianship and frightening technique proffered a typically outstanding recital in the Goolden Hall on Oct. 4, 2010. Included in the program were Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 and the Sonata Op. 1 by Alban Berg. Suffice it to say that Caballero is a kind of Horowitz of the guitar, with uncompromising skill and intelligence. His teaching is equally impressive – at once insightful, supportive and demanding. On March 6, 2011, The VCM presented

Jacob TV's Jesus is Coming used projected images from the Old Testament, clouds, children, and deserts

Multimedia Guitars – an event blending gigantic projected images, dancers, narration, and new works for four amplified guitars – organized, rehearsed and produced by Alexander Dunn whose able quartet was made up of Adrian Verdejo, Bradford Werner and Michael Dias. On the program were John Oliver’s Prismophony (a quartet that certainly should be performed more often), Stephen Goss’ Under Milkwood (for quartet and narrator on Dylan Thomas’ radio play), Jordan Nobles Temporal Waves (a beautiful meditation on slowly shifting colors) and Jacob TV’s Jesus is Coming, newly arranged by Dunn for four guitars. The video for Jesus is Coming can be viewed here. ‘Avant pop’ composer Jacob TV has garnered much attention in Europe and the US for his intensity and heavy borrowings from pop culture and media. A seemingly unlikely mélange of quasi-rock concert, modern dance recital, art exhibit, and theatre production made Multimedia Guitars an approachable and engaging event. On March 18, 2011, GFA International Competition winner Florian Larousse played a gorgeous recital of Dowland, Sor, D’Angelo and Regondi. Although he was scheduled to play the Bach Suite BWV 996, he opted to perform Bach Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 instead as the airline had smashed his Hugo Cuvilliez guitar. For those who saw Larousse at the 2010 GFA Convention in Austin or met Hugo, the Cuvilliez instrument has detachable floating basses, making lute and multi-string Romantic music workable on a normal guitar . And on April 11, 2011, Lynn McGrath adjudicated the Greater Victoria Music Festival and gave a program of excerpts from  Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Platero y Yo – played with great aplomb and musicality and made the more impressive by the fact that she simultaneously narrated in flawless Spanish. Lynn gave expert advice to students during the festival and was well-receieved by her audience. Additionally, there were numerous student recitals at the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, making it a challenge to attend so many events. Stay tuned for next years activities!

Report by Alexander Dunn

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