World-renowned for stunning precision, rich tonal colors and joyous music-making, the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet performs on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm in Spaulding Auditorium of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The artists will also take part in a post-performance Q&A.
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) will perform a program including the Hop co-commissioned Road to the Sun, written expressly for the group by jazz master Pat Metheny. Complementing this expansive musical journey are LAGQ’s own arrangements of J.S. Bach’s spirited Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, Brazilian jazz and music from the time of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
For more than three decades on the concert stage, the members of the LAGQ have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles, while perennially redefining themselves in their musical explorations. As one of the most charismatic groups performing today, their critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground. Their recitals take them to the world’s top venues and festivals, and recent collaborators have included Metheny, Nico Muhly, Dweezil Zappa, Sergio Assad, and symphony orchestras across North America.
Programs including Latin, African, Far East, Irish, folk and American Classics transport listeners around the world in a single concert experience. Their 14 albums include the 2005 Grammy winner Guitar Heroes, a heartfelt salture to great guitarists of all styles; and their newest recording, New Renaissance, released in 2015, a modern take on classic works.
The ensemble are legends among their fellow guitar players. Wrote Dartmouth Music Department guitar instructor John Muratore, “LAGQ has firmly established itself as the premiere guitar ensemble in the world, with masterful arrangements and ground-breaking new works that display flawless technique, impeccable musicianship and a thoroughly innovative approach.”
LAGQ is made up of John Dearman, Matthew Greif, William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant, who all combine LAGQ with busy careers as soloists and teachers in Los Angeles-area music programs.
Wrote the Los Angeles Times: “The world’s hottest classical ensemble or its tightest pop band? However it helps you to think about the LAGQ, keep the emphasis on superlatives for its unrivaled joy, technical elan and questing spirits.” Wrote the Baltimore Sun, “After more than three decades, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet remains a formidable ensemble, both in terms of technical bravura and musical personality…[and] demonstrated a tight rapport throughout a colorful program that covered classical and jazz repertoire with equal flair.”
Road to the Sun was titled after Metheny’s trip to Glacier National Park where he traveled the Going-to-the-Sun Road not long after an LAGQ concert. The road, completed in 1932, is a spectacular 50 mile, paved two-lane highway that bisects the park east and west. It spans the width of Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass.
LAGQ performed the world premiere of Road to the Sun last October at the University of Denver’s Newman Center. The piece is a major work—six movements in 25 minutes—and runs the expressive gamut. Following its premiere, Downbeat magazine wrote, “The work is a triumphant achievement for all parties involved, and guitar culture, in general.” LAGQ’s John Dearman said,“The length and dramatic scope of the piece placed it among the most challenging works LAGQ has yet tackled,” and fellow LAGQ member Bill Kanengiser called it “a major addition to the guitar quartet repertoire.” The group gave three performances of the work in the fall of 2016 and plan to record it in the fall of 2017. Road to the Sun will be a central part of LAGQ’s program during their 2017–2018 season.