Friday, 19 April 2013
I received an exciting email from Adam Larison this week, telling me that he had just won first prize in the Great Lakes International Guitar Competition in America. Adam is a fine young player and is pictured above just prior to the final round of the competition. As a maker, I am always thrilled to hear my instruments being played so well and it is great to have a gifted player like Adam presenting my guitars on the concert platform. Adam has a fine and accomplished tone and great musicality; I am very proud that he has chosen one of my guitars for his main concert instrument.
Springboard, Brighton and Hove's Performing Arts Festival, recently took place. Started in 1925 under the banner of Brighton Competitive Music Festival, and supported by Brighton Borough Council, it has a long history spanning almost a century. Today the festival is still going strong, having evolved to incorporate drama as well as music, and now involves nearly one thousand local performers. Most of these, but not all, are young people between five and twenty-five. For many years I have awarded a prize in one of the classical guitar classes and was happy to do so again this year.
The competitive element in the Springboard festival is very much in the background; it always strikes me that participation and sharing of the music is far more important. It provides a fantastic focus for a musician to prepare and practise a piece and gives them a supportive platform to perform on in front of a small audience. The adjudicator this year was guitarist and composer Gary Ryan who always gives great feedback to each of the performers - a real bonus for participants. Whenever I have attended the event I have been struck by the great sense of achievement that performers get from the experience. I hope this event continues for many years; I for one will continue to support it.
My own abilities as a musician are somewhat limited and these days I get very little time for playing. Recently however, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing my Rene Lacote copy which I recently finished. With a shorter string length and a quick response it is great fun to play, and I have been working my way through some simple pieces including Sor, Carcassi and Guiliani. I have recently been on a family break to the West Country and had a lovely room to practise in. The acoustics were crisp and lively, and the peaceful surroundings most conclusive to playing guitar music. This guitar will leave my workshop soon but I am planning on making another which I really hope I'll be able to keep keep. Who knows, if I keep on practising I might even enter Springboard next year!