Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another great year at La Guitarra

Another great year for Hill Guitar 
at La Guitarra!

Simon and Quillan Hill ready for questions!
We recently got home from the guitar festival La Guitarra California in San Louis Obispo. I've been to this festival every time since the beginning, and it really does seem to get better and better. The coolest thing about this year was the luxury that my two sons Simon and Quillan basically ran our show, handled the logistics and interacted with customers and friends, old and new. After doing so many of these kinds of shows by myself, I'm really thankful to have their help. And at this point they are much better at it than I am.

I got to attend two concerts. The first was a great performance by my good friend the LA Guitar Quartet. They must be the premier classical guitar performers in the world, and their repertoire, skill and energy never fails. They did arrangements of iconic classical pieces, world music, original compositions for the quartet, and some very good arrangements of music by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I love hearing them play, it's always good.

Andrew York and Kenny Hill
The second evening concert was by Andrew York, also a good friend whom I haven't seen in a few years. He did an almost completely original program. He's a fine guitarist, and this music is written for the guitar. Watching the pieces unfold I had a vicarious thrill at the discovery of the endless variety of themes and idioms and hooks, then all together in compositions of many moods and expressions. Most of the pieces in the program are on York's most recent CD Yamour. I picked up the CD at the concert and listened to it on the drive back home to Santa Cruz. Hearing the music again on recording, it is a very personal and satisfying collection of the works I had just heard in concert, and listening to these works is like getting caught up on the experiences and musings of an old friend. Glimmerings is a set of 6 pieces, each clever and expressive. Albaycin is a haunting piece I first heard Andy play on my sofa, and I was able to learn and perform the earlier version myself. Mechanism was originally written for and premiered at La Guitarra California 6 years ago, and while then it was a deadline hurried to meet, now it's a settled piece, clever and strong. Andy also played the Bach 3rd cello suite with the guitar tuned in fifths, like a cello, so he could just play the exact original notation. A good idea, and effective. I was glad to see Andrew perform here again, and glad to hear the ongoing compositions and his strength as a player.

There were many other artists in concert, with wonderful performances and classes, and many colleagues showing their guitars. We sold some guitars, heard good music and talked with many interesting people. Russ DeAngelo has worked hard to make La Guitarra California a professional, high class and fun festival, and he's working on it already for 2015. I'm planning to be there.

Kenny Hill
September 2013

Scott Tenant checking out on of
Kenny's signature guitars
 The master classes this year were a real treat. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to see each master class artist both perform in concert and teach four different level students in front of 100+ viewers. Some master class sessions focused on posture and relaxation while others focused on pushing through with passion and the importance of telling a story with your music. The audience not only had the opportunity to learn some new technique, but also got to look into the minds of these artists and see what their processes are to produce such amazing music. Many people in the audience were spotted taking notes!

Acoustic Angel by Dale Evers
Mrs. Fantasy by Nicky Shane
    In between concerts and master classes, people at the festival had an opportunity to check out the vendor fair and the guitar art display. After a concert or class the vendor fair was packed with people asking questions and trying out our guitars. The art gallery featured many different medias of art each with their own unique style. This three day festival was jam packed with talent; we can't wait to see what 2015 has to offer.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

La Guitarra, here we come!

Hill Guitar is off to the 2013 
La Guitarra California Festival!

When: September 6th-8th
Where: Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA

This 3-day Festival is a “Celebration of Guitar” featuring 15 artists in 9 concerts, 5 Masterclasses, and a free lecture. The Vendor Fair will have 40 Luthiers exhibiting their hand made instruments, and attendees can place their bid on a new guitar in the silent auction.

Don't miss Friday's opening night concerts: Martha Masters, followed by The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet!

The Masterclasses will have added interest for guitar students of all ages and levels. They are conducted by a group of distinguished teachers: Scott Tennant, Andrew York, Berta Rojas, Adam del Monte, and Bill Kanengiser.
World renowned artists from England, Russia, Spain, Paraguay, France, Brazil, Israel, Belgium, and the United States will be at this year's festival.

We hope to see you there!

For more La Guitarra information click here: La Guitarra Website