SymposiumMasterclassWorkshopConcert

Brussels Guitar Laboratory

Program book available now!

After decades as a popular icon, shedding new light on the guitar should cast some interesting shadows. In a series of concerts and workshops, PhD students and researchers of the Brussels Royal Conservatory's guitar studio beat unconventional tracks to and from their beloved instrument. Gut strings, motion sensors, excavations of mechanical debris, imagined bows, and symbiotic choreography. This is not the guitar you know, but surely one you are curious to meet.

Concerts

Concerts

Concert Friday 27/4
20:00, Tempelzaal
Kleine Zavel 5
Free admission on condition of reservation by e-mail to communicatie.kcb@ehb.be

 

Seis Doncellas Bailan
Yiannis Efstathopoulos

In the second half of the 19th century, guitarists Arcas and Tárrega collaborated with luthier Antonio de Torres to lay the foundation for the classical guitar as we know it. A few decades later, that same instrument would ride a wave of neoclassicism and nationalism to become an icon of Spanish culture.

Manuel de Falla, as well as composers of the influential Generation '27, began to write for the guitar. They were drawn to its rich heritage, which had one foot in the illustrious Spanish renaissance and baroque and the other in vibrant folklore. Yet at the same time the music they wrote stood firmly in the present, looking beyond their native culture to the impressionist developments in Paris. Thus the guitar came to inhabit a space between the popular and intellectual, between exoticism and modernism. In an intimate recital on gut-string guitar, Yiannis Efstatholpoulos pays homage to this seminal diversity by returning to its origin-Garcia Lorca's six dancing maidens, three of flesh , three of silver.

Program

Francisco Tárrega(1852-1909)  Capricho Arabe

Rosa García Ascot (1902-2002)  Española

Gustavo Pittaluga (1906-1975)  Homenaje á Mateo Albeniz

Salvador Bacarisse (1898-1963)  Pavane

Rodolfo Halffter (1900-1987)  Giga

Julián Arcas (1832-1882) Murcianas (dedicated to Antonio de Torres)


Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)  Homenaje (Le Tombeau de Debussy)

Julián Bautista (1901-1961)   Preludio y Danza

Ángel Barrios (1882-1964)   2 little pieces

Sabicas (1912-1990)    Zapateado

 

Concert Saturday 28/4

20u, concert hall KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30
Free admission on condition of reservation by e-mail to communicatie.kcb@ehb.be


Bricolage
Maarten Stragier

Bricolage is the ability to use whatever one finds and recombine it to create something new. Done right it can be delectably subversive; it can expose the cracks and contradictions in our everyday preconceptions. This is certainly the case for the music of composers José Maria Sánchez-Verdú and Mauricio Pauly. Veritable "junkyard virtuosos," both decided to rummage through the historic discards of the beloved guitar in order to create new instruments.

Maarten Stragier performs the result: a classical guitar that has shed its insecurities about dynamic range and finds full expression in hyper-intimate chamber music; and an electric guitar stripped of its machismo swagger and swallowed whole by a mesmerizing noise-scape of electronic glitches.

Program

José Maria Sánchez-Verdú   Tres Caprichos (2005)

Mauricio Pauly   Sky Destroys Dog (2014, rev. 2016)

 

Flesh and Wood
Luca Isolani

Percussion has become an increasing part of the guitarist's toolbox. This physical interaction with the instrument alters how we relate to it. In this light, our old practices are inevitably reconfigured.

This reconfiguration has generated a wealth of inspiration for players and composers alike. Luca Isolani gives us a sampling from a century of experimentation: Turina evokes the clicking heels of flamenco dancers; Petrassi paints a nocturnal scene with a palette of mesmerizing timbres; and guitarist-composers D'Angelo and Ryan daftly expand playing technique toward a virtually seamless integration of newfound percussive possibilities.

Program

Joaquìn Turina  Fandanguillo Op.36 (1929)
Gofffredo Petrassi Suoni Notturni (1959)
Nuccio D'Angelo Electric Suite (1995) Funky Soft Raga-Blues Song

Gary Ryan Benga Beat (2011)

 

Concert Sunday 29/4
18u, concert hall KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30
Free admission on condition of reservation by e-mail to communicatie.kcb@ehb.be


A portrait of Zad Moultaka
Pierre Bibault

Pierre Bibault delves into the work of Lebanese composer and visual artist Zad Moultaka. If this is your first encounter with Moultaka's music, the world-premiere of Kahraba for electric guitar and electronics will no doubt make it a memorable one. Existing in sound as well as a caligraphic copper engraving, this work puts the notion of gesture front and center in the creative process. Also on the program the titanic Calvario for classical guitar and electronics. Calvario was inspired by Christ's falls during the stations of the Cross, in which Moultaka sees a cyclical movement towards the divine not unlike the whirling trance of Sufi muslim ascetics.

Program

Zad Moultaka Calvario (2008), Kahraba (world premiere)

 

Tokens: A Century of Modern Guitar Music

Kostas Tosidis

In this concert, Kostas Tosidis shares some of his modern favorites. Among them: mementos from the rebelious years of Leo Brouwer; flamenco-inspired vignettes by Gasull; pocket-size masterpieces by giants Milhaud and Poulenc; an early treasure from the oeuvre of Gubaidulina; Latvian institution Vasks' medidations on lonileness; and Tosidis' very own transcription of Ligeti's cello sonata.

Program

Leo Brouwer Canticum, Tarantos

Gyorgy Ligeti  Sonata for cello (arr.Kostas Tosidis)

Francis Poulenc  Sarabande
Sofia Gubaidulina  Serenade
Darius Milhaud  Segoviana

Peteris Vasks Sonata of Loneliness

Feliu Gasull 10&1 Estudios


Workshops


Participation in all workshops is free. Those interested in active participation can send an email to kunstenplatformb@gmail.com with the workshops in which they would like to enroll, their personal information, and (if applicable) their school and year of study. Spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis

Workshop 1: Guitar technique in Spanish high-romanticism
Yiannis Efstathopoulos


28/4, 16:00-17:30
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

Historical performance practice for our instruments typically stops at the development of the modern guitar by Antonio Torres. Hereby we completely overlook the impact of nylon strings when they were introduced in 1948. Yiannis Efstathopoulos has spent the last several years analyzing historical instruments, strings, methods, and recordings. He began playing pre-1948 repertoire on gut strings again and found they opened a world of forgotten possibilities, a part of the music's soul lost in our habituation to nylon.

In this workshop Yiannis introduces students to the historical sources for his research. These will then serve as a point of departure for exploring the forgotten art of the left hand: the great expressive potential of practices like vibrato, portamento, and slurs on a gut-strung instrument. Active participants will be invited to put this knowledge to work in an open and collaborative masterclass on repertoire by Francisco Tárrega.

Active participants must be guitarists and are asked to prepare a prelude by Francisco Tárrega.
Maximum number of active participants: 2
Auditors welcome

 

Workshop 2: Percussion Techniques on Classical Guitar
Luca Isolani


29/4, 11:00-12:30
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

Percussion has become an increasing part of the guitarist's toolbox. This new physical interaction with the instrument alters how we relate to it. In its light, our old practices are inevitably reconfigured.

In Luca Isolani's workshop, students learn to play relevant percussion excerpts from the repertoire. Luca explains how these percussive techniques function in their compositional contexts, and how they impacted the development of guitar performance practice.

Active participants must be guitarists
Maximum number of active participants: 5
Auditors welcome


Workshop 3: Bricolage
Maarten Stragier


29/4, 14:00-15:30
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

Bricolage is the ability to use whatever one finds and recombine it to create something new. Done right it can be delectably subversive; it can expose the cracks and contradictions in our everyday preconceptions.

In Maarten Stragier's workshop, students get to try their hand at musical bricolage in an interpretation of Suspension-Aggrégat by Kasper Toeplitz. Using your own instruments, electric guitars and effects pedals provided by Maarten, and whatever you can find that might be of use, you get to challenge your own preconceptions of music making and find expression where you might least expect it.

Active participation is open to all composers and instrumentalists. Non-guitarists are encouraged to experiment with the guitars provided. No prior knowledge is required.
Maximum number of participants: 6
Auditors are welcome to listen and help in the creative process


Workshop 4: What Guitarists Can Learn from Bow Technique

Kostas Tosidis


28/4, 11:00-12:30
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

Due to the percussive nature of our beloved plucked instrument, the guitarist's technique tends to be approached in a granular fashion. We focus on the mechanics of the singular attack, a one-size-fits-all for sound creation of any volume and any given musical context. In studying the guitar's bowed siblings (violin, viola, cello, double bass), Kostas Tosidis realized we are all the poorer for it. In the intricacies of bowing technique, the musician's anatomy is inextricable from elements such as phrasing, articulation, and the use of dynamics. Kostas' research as a PhD candidate uses the bow as an inspiration for a similar refinement of guitarists' technical awareness.

The workshop will consist of a group session, in which Kostas will work with students on improving their technical finesse through an enhanced understanding of their own anatomy. This knowledge will then be related back to examples from the repertoire.

Active participants must be guitarists
Maximum number of active participants: 12
Auditors welcome

 

Workshop 5: The Guitar in the IT Revolution
Pierre Bibault


28/4, 14:00-15:30
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

The central role of information technology is an obvious fact of contemporary existence. It permeates every corner of our lives, from the private to the professional. In this workshop, Pierre Bibault discusses how we, as classical musicians, can adapt to and even flourish in the information-technology revolution. To illustrate his point, he gives the participants a look under the hood of his technological equipment, and lets them try their hand at motion-sensored musical performance.

All instrumentalists are welcome as active participants.
Maximum number of active participants: 5
Auditors welcome

 

Round Table Discussion


Moderator: Jan Michiels
29/4, 16:00-17:00
Room A028, main building KCB
Regentschapsstraat 30

The performers talk about the relevance and intended impact of their research at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.