Annual Event Series: New York Guitar Festival
Returning to form as an annual event, New York Guitar Festival (NYGF), returns Spring 2017 with a cross-cultural concert programming in celebration of works of the guitar. This year the Festival expands its partnership with media sponsor WNYC, which will host a 4-week series of events at The Greene Space. Kicking off with the Opening Night concert on May 18th by two-time Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, the weekly series will follow every Thursday through June 8, 2017.
The additional events added with this announcement are detailed below, along with information on the return NYGF Academy, Silent Cinema, and a rare visit from to North America from Debashish Bhattacharya, the inventor of Hindustani slide guitars.
Additional Events Announced!
On Thursday, May 25th, NYGF’s Greene Space series features performances by a seemingly unlikely pair – indie-rock singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy and jazz guitarist Julian Lage, performing both solo sets and as a collaboration.
Thursday, June 1st welcomes Mark Ribot and Trixie Whitley, artists with differing approaches to the blues, who will also both perform solo sets followed by a collaboration performance.
Lastly, Thursday, June 8th at The Greene Space is a stellar lineup of solo sets from Sonic Youth founding member Lee Ranaldo, indie-darling Steve Gunn and Dom Flemons, Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist.
Tickets for NYGF’s Greene Space series are available here.
2017 also marks the second installation of NYGF Academy, this year offering a panel discussion titled “The Ruts of Performance.” Guitarists Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, Erika Anderson (EMA) and Ava Mendoza will share and explain their methods of moving past creative walls. The Panel will be moderated by Fabi Reyna, founder and editor-in-chief of She Shreds Magazine.
The 2017 New York Guitar Festival welcomes slide guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya making a rare visit to North America from his native India. Known as the inventor of Hindustani slide guitars, Bhattacharya bears the honorific title Pandit – meaning teacher, guru, or bard. It also befits one who attains a masterly level of performance, and in Bhattacharya’s achievement, the honor encompasses his successful adaptation of ragas from their original instrument, the sitar, to his own slide guitar work. Bhattacharya, who leads the non-profit School of Universal Music in Kolkata, will usher in the all-day Raga Marathon on May 19 at Brookfield Place Winter Garden beginning at eight o’clock that morning. The event lasts until midnight.
“One of the unique characteristics of Indian and South Asian music is the assignment of definite times of the day and night for performing Raga melodies,” explains New York Guitar Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director David Spelman. “It is believed that at certain hours in the spinning of the Earth, the Raga approaches the height of its melodic beauty and majestic splendor. There are some Ragas that are very attractive in the early hours of the mornings; others that enchant more toward dusk; and yet others reveal their fragrance only near the midnight hour. That’s how we’ve programmed this Marathon.”
Other performers at this year’s Festival include sitarist Krishna Bhatt (featured in a trio with Gyan Riley and percussionist Dan Weiss); sarodist Anupam Shobhakar; and a pair of up-and-coming young classical guitarists who study with Sharon Isbin – Alberta Khoury and Tengyue Zhang, among others.
Silent Cinema Returns to NYGF
Silent Cinema returns to the New York Guitar Festival for the first time since 2013. During the Raga Marathon, guitarist Rez Abbasi leads a quartet performing the world premiere of a new live score to the 1929 silent film, A Throw of Dice: A Romance of India, as it’s projected onto the Winter Garden West Wall. Says Abbasi: “The writing, direction, cinematography, and character development in A Throw of Dice is as timeless as the multi-layered Indian adventure story it’s based on.” The plot, a triangle between a young princess and two rival kings, stems from the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata, a masterpiece of world literature held in the same esteem as the Greek tragedies or Shakespeare.
Abbasi continues: “As a music composer for the film, I could not ask for anything more. The tapestry of emotions and visuals within has sparked musical ideas I would not have usually come up with. It has also instigated the formation of a new ensemble in which all four players play multiple instruments. The compositions and orchestration for this 75-minute film come through the sound-fabric created by electric and acoustic guitars, sitar-guitar, tenor and soprano saxophones, bansuri flute, cello, acoustic bass, Indian percussion, and a drum set.”
“It is this elevation in inspiration that only a great work like A Throw of Dice can provide, and I am excited to share my new score for the screening via live performance,” Abbasi concludes.
View the complete 2017 New York Guitar Festival schedule here.
About the New York Guitar Festival
The New York Guitar Festival produces innovative experiences that celebrate the guitar’s musical personality and are designed to foster creativity and joy, energize communities, and nurture the next generation of performers and audiences.