[ in the press ]

Yale Guitar Extravaganza all day Saturday in New Haven

David TanenbaumNew Haven Register

Guitar lovers will be finding their way to the Elm City Saturday, Feb. 22, for the eighth annual Yale Guitar Extravaganza, an all-day immersion of concerts, master classes and more.

Fans will be able to purchase all-day passes, offering admission to all events, for $42 ($26 for students); individual concerts at $12 each ($8 for students); three-concert passes for $30 ($20 for students); and talks/workshops at $5 each (students free with ID).

This year’s concert artists include headliner David Tanenbaum along with René Izquierdo, Elina Chekan, and Van Stiefel. Panel discussions and workshops include a “from early guitars to the electric guitar.” The event takes place every two to three years at the Yale School of Music and is supported by the D’Addario Foundation.


Published February 18, 2014
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[ concerts ]

David Tanenbaum performs at Guitar Extravaganza Feb. 22

David Tanenbaum

David Tanenbaum

The Yale School of Music presents the renowned classical guitarist David Tanenbaum in the culminating concert of the Eight Yale Guitar Extravaganza on Saturday, February 22.

Tanenbaum is an important proponent of new guitar repertoire, and his concert at Yale will focus on contemporary pieces. The program includes Ronald Bruce Smith’s Five Pieces for Guitar and Live Electronics, Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, and Mario Davidosky’s Synchronisms No. 10.

The concert will conclude with 100 Greatest Dance Hits for guitar and string quartet by YSM faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Tanenbaum will be joined by four student string players from the Yale School of Music: Nathan Lesser and Jessica Oddie, violins; Lucy Caplan, viola; and Elisa Rodríguez Sadaba, cello.


Published February 18, 2014
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[ concerts ]

René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan, guitars, perform at Yale Extravaganza Feb. 22

René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan

René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan

The Yale School of Music’s Guitar Extravaganza presents a concert by the classical guitar duo of René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan on Saturday, February 22nd at 5:30 pm. The performance takes place in Morse Recital Hall, located in Sprague Hall at 470 College Street.

Both performers are graduates of the Yale School of Music who now teach at the University of Wisconsin. Belarus-born Elina Chekan combines active performance and a teaching career, appearing as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and abroad. Argentinean composer Jorge Morel dedicated his composition “Campañas” to her. René Izquierdo is a winner of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in 2004, Extremadura International Guitar Competition, Schadt String competition, and the Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition, among others.


Published February 17, 2014
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[ concerts ]

Guitarist/composer Van Stiefel performs with Sergio Sorrentino Feb. 22

Van Stiefel

Van Stiefel

Guitarist and composer Van Stiefel ’88 BA, ’90 MM will perform on Saturday, February 22 as part of the Yale Guitar Extravaganza. Stiefel will perform with Italian guitarist Sergio Sorrentino.

The concert features the world premiere of Stiefel’s Splitting (2014) for electric guitar and video projection, performed by Sorrentino.

Also on the program are Stiefel’s Smoke and Mirrors for electric guitar and violin, and Cinema Castaneda for classical guitar quartet.  MORE

Published February 12, 2014
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[ events ]

Guitar Extravaganza celebrates tradition and innovation Feb. 22

David Tanenbaum

David Tanenbaum

Guitar Extravaganza 2014: Tradition and Innovation will take place Saturday, February 22, 2014. This is the eighth Yale Guitar Extravaganza, an event presented every 2–3 years that offers a daylong immersion in all things guitar. This season’s events features concerts, workshops, demonstrations, and more.

Concert artists include David Tanenbaum, René Izquierdo, Elina Chekan, and Van Stiefel, all of whom are alumni of the Yale School of Music. Panel discussions and workshops cover topics from education to composition, from early guitars to the electric guitar. Benjamin Verdery, the head of guitar at YSM, is the director of the Guitar Extravaganza.

René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan

René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan

David Tanenbaum will perform a concert of American music at 8 pm. He will be joined by four YSM string players in 100 Greatest Dance Hits by faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis. The duo of René Izquierdo and Elina Chekan will give a joint concert at 5:30 pm. Van Stiefel will play music for electric guitar at 2 pm. MORE

Published December 23, 2013
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About the performers for the Guitar Extravaganza


Since they first met in 2000, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have shared a number of ideas, musical projects, and travels all over the world. In 2003 they formed a duo that has already performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America, and has been acclaimed everywhere – from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus – as one of the best ensembles ever heard. About one of their performances, The Washington Post wrote: “Extraordinarily sensitive, with effortless command and an almost unbearable delicacy of touch, the duo’s playing was nothing less than rapturous – profound and unforgettable musicianship of the highest order.”

In addition to classic, romantic and modern repertoire, Matteo and Lorenzo – joined by lutenist Massimo Lonardi – enjoy exploring the early literature for baroque guitar and theorbo. Together, Matteo and Lorenzo have recorded François de Fossa’s Three Quartets, op. 19 (Stradivarius), a CD of 17th century Italian music for baroque guitar, archlute and theorbo (La Suave Melodia, Stradivarius), Solaria, an anthology of 20th century masterpieces for two guitars (Pomegranate), the Duos Concertants by Antoine De Lhoyer (Naxos), a collection of chamber works by Mauro Giuliani (Amadeus), and a collection of 19th century pieces for two guitars (Noesis, Pomegranate), as well as a dozen solo recordings on the labels Naxos, Brilliant Records, Kookaburra, Mel Bay, and Stradivarius.

» SoloDuo will perform at 8 pm on March 24.

Zaira Meneses & Kim Perlak

Zaira Meneses is among the most exciting performers on the international classical guitar circuit. Her musicality and charisma have delighted audiences on three continents. Recent achievements include a special prize from Italy’s prestigious Academia Chigiana and the recording of several solo CDs available at her website. She has also aroused considerable interest through postings of live performances on Youtube. Zaira Meneses was born in Xalapa, Mexico. From an early age she showed great talent for music, studying both classical guitar and voice. She traveled widely, performing as well with the famed Orquesta de Guitarras. At the age of 17 and as the youngest contestant, she won first prize in an important national concerto competition. This success led to performances of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Concierto Madrigal for two guitars throughout Mexico. MORE

Published February 24, 2012
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Guitar Extravaganza announces lectures + panel discussions

Jeffrey McFadden

This year’s Yale Guitar Extravaganza, The Guitar: Today and Tomorrow, is pleased to announce its lineup of guest speakers. (Concert performers for this year’s Extravaganza are listed here.)

The Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012. A full schedule is available here.

The day’s first panel discussion will address The Future of Classical Guitar Pedagogy. The panelists will be Scott Cmiel, Daniel Corr, Jeffrey McFadden, Kim Perlak, and Kevin Vigil, moderated by Benjamin Verdery. This panel discussion will take place at 12:30 pm in Sudler Recital Hall (located in WL Harkness Hall, adjacent to Sprague Hall).

Master luthier Garrett Lee, in conjunction with Benjamin Verdery, will lead a lecture/demonstration on What to look for in a classical guitar. Held in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue), this talk begins at 4:15 pm.

Jeffrey McFadden will give a lecture on Fretboard Harmony, based on his book Fretboard Harmony: Common Practice Harmony on the Guitar (Productions Musicales d’Oz, 2010). His talk will begin at 4:45 pm in Sudler Recital Hall.

About the Lecturers & Panelists MORE

Published February 8, 2012
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Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza announces lineup

March 24 full of concerts, master classes, workshops, & more

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the line-up for the seventh semiannual Guitar Extravaganza. The event, which will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2012, is directed by celebrated guitarist Benjamin Verdery, the longstanding chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music.

The Extravaganza brings together guitar lovers for a day of concerts, lectures, exhibits, master classes, and other events. Performances will feature both students and established artists. Events will take place mainly in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven), as well as in Sudler Hall (in W.L. Harkness Hall, 100 Wall Street) and the Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue).

This year’s featured artists include the fast-rising duet SoloDuo (pictured at left), the adventurous Dither Guitar Quartet (pictured below), and classical guitarists Kim Perlak and Zaira Meneses.

The Dither Guitar Quartet plays an eclectic mix of experimental music for electric guitars. Their concert, which begins at 2 pm, will feature their signature blend of composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation.

Kim Perlak, a School of Music graduate, specializes in American music (classical, jazz, and traditional) and has been featured on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. Zaira Meneses, a Mexican-born guitarist hailed as “stunning” (Syracuse News), was recently praised for her “fluid, colorful style” by the New York Times. The two join together at 6 pm in a concert featuring music of the Americas.

SoloDuo, the acclaimed Italian duo comprised of Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, will perform the event’s final concert at 8 pm. “Do not miss a chance to hear them,” commands the New York Concert Review. “It is hard to say what left more of an impression: their remarkable blend, their sublime artistry, or their impeccable technique.”

The Guitar Extravaganza will also offer events such as workshops, panel discussions, and master classes. A complete schedule is available at music.yale.edu/events/guitar. MORE

Published January 19, 2012
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Gallery: Highlights from the Guitar Extravaganza

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Guitarists from across the United States came to the Yale School of Music for the Guitar Extravaganza VI, which took place on March 7, 2009. Under the artistic direction of Benjamin Verdery, the daylong event covered topics from baroque to electric. Among the performers and presenters were several Yale alumni, including Eliot Fisk ’76BA, ’77MM, who gave a special benefit recital; Seth Josel ’94DMA, who performed in a double-bill with guitarist and composer Gyan Riley; Jerald Harscher ’90MM, who offered a workshop on body mapping; and Kevin Vigil ’90MM, who led his student guitar ensemble in concert and then teamed up with Kim Perlak ’01MM for a lecture on the guitar’s role in education.

Other guest artists included David Madsen, who led the Hartt School Guitar Ensemble, and Jerry Willard, who performed on two period guitars and offered a master class, as well as faculty composers Ingram Marshall, Martin Bresnick, and Jack Vees, who participated in a panel discussion on composing for the guitar. Hundreds of people came to attend the workshops, lectures, master classes, and concerts offered throughout the day.

Photos by Vincent Oneppo and Dana Astmann.

Published March 19, 2009
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