The Classical Guitar in Spain - Exclusive Access

As our unique collaboration develops and we move closer towards recording our first album together, flamenco guitarist Samuel Moore and I thought it would be great to share with you some of the research that we have produced throughout the development of what continues to be a fascinating collaborative project.

Bringing together the world of classical and flamenco guitar

A few months ago, we worked together to produce a short book that explores the connections and differences between classical and flamenco guitar in more depth. During the production of this book, we both wrote passages in which we describe the history of our respective traditions and consider the foundations of our collaboration further. It’s my pleasure to share my article on the development of the classical guitar in Spain with you here - click here to access the full article - I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Also, if you would like to read Samuel Moore’s passage on the flamenco guitar then you can do so by clicking here.

You can get hold of a limited-edition copy of this book when you select the Deluxe Signed Pre-order option on the album’s PledgeMusic page. In addition, there are also loads of other exciting ways in which you can connect with this project on a personal level, including having your name printed in the CD liner notes, attending the album launch party, and even booking a private concert performance of the album in your own home or a venue of your choice. Click here to access the PledgeMusic page and pre-order your copy of the album today.


Michael, 4th November 2018

The first annual European Classical Guitar Symposium announced for 2019

Dates announced for the first European Classical Guitar Symposium: 25-31 August 2019

Born from a number of conversations between myself and Maestro Giulio Tampalini, it is with great excitement that I share with you that we will be working together to organise the first annual European Classical Guitar Symposium, set to take place between 25-31 August 2019 in Brescia, Italy.

The aim of the 2019 European Classical Guitar Symposium is to be more than just a festival. It is hoped that it will create an annual platform for the sharing of ideas across Europe, providing an opportunity for the classical guitar community and its audience to come together and discuss the current state of things and how we can all work together as we move into the future. This will include concerts, masterclasses, one-to-one lessons, presentations, round-table discussions and much more!

With guest appearances by Carlos Bonell and Isabel Martínez in the pipeline, the first annual European Classical Guitar Symposium in Brescia promises to be a standout event in the 2019 international classical guitar calendar.

If you would like to receive further information about attending the 2019 European Classical Guitar Symposium then please complete this contact form. Similarly, if you are interested in being involved then please send your ideas over, we are very much open to any suggestions that you might have.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Brescia in 2019!

Michael, 28th October 2018

 The first annual European Classical Guitar Symposium will take place in Brescia, Italy between 25-31 August 2019

The first annual European Classical Guitar Symposium will take place in Brescia, Italy between 25-31 August 2019

Concert Review - Winchester Cathedral

Thank you to Professor Roger Richardson for this review of my recent concert at Winchester Cathedral on 7th August 2018: 

"Michael Christian Durrant has a loyal and enthusiastic following in Winchester on account of his previous recitals there and they came out in force for his latest recital held on Tuesday of this week, 7th August; some at least of them had travelled specially from America to hear him!

A well-chosen programme of pieces by Granados, Tárrega, Rodrigo, and Albéniz vividly brought to life some of Spain's contrasting landscapes and regional cultures. Few instruments can rival the guitar's capacity for conveying shifting moods, emotions, and pictures in sound. Michael's virtuoso playing took all this to new heights. But whereas many solo performers are no less and no more than fine musicians Michael's introductions and commentaries on works in his programme bring with them an extra level of engagement with his audience. They sat there spellbound as this young musician played and were panting for more at the end.

Without doubt, this guitar recital was one of the principal highlights of the Cathedral's successful 2018 concert season."

Professor R. C. Richardson, University of Winchester

10th August 2018

Concert Review - Crail Festival, Saturday 21st July 2017

Thank you to Crail Festival for this wonderful review of my recent concert on Saturday 21st July 2017:

“It was very fitting that all the tickets were sold for the wonderful performance by Michael Christian Durrant, truly a stellar classical guitarist with a natural ease and presence. Widely travelled, his superb programme led us from Italy and onwards to Germany, Spain, France, Japan and Uruguay before returning to Spain for his stirring encore Francisco Tarrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' (Memories of the Alhambra', almost mesmerising!) We expect for many in the audience the surprise piece was Sakura (Cherry Blossom) in which the dramatic sounds of Japanese instruments were brilliantly portrayed by his guitar. Throughout the evening Michael was able to capture the fragility of music with dulcet tones and also produce exquisite melodies of hypnotic quality. The imagery he created, whether the stillness inside a Cathedral or the busy streets outside, was palpable. As for the 'Vals' (Waltz) by Augustin Barrios Mangore, it painted a picture of such grace and elegance. We all left Holy Trinity uplifted and very aware that we had shared an exceptional musical evening in Crail."

Crail Festival, Saturday 21st July 2017 - Photograph by Peter Salkeld

Winchester Cathedral - Saturday 23rd September 2017

Michael will be returning to Winchester Cathedral on Saturday 23rd September for a very special evening concert in which he will be performing alongside the Winchester Cathedral Chamber Choir and flamenco guitarist Samuel Moore

Entitled Guitarra, el Corazón de España (Guitar, the Heart of Spain), the centrepiece of this concert will be a performance of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Romancero Gitano, Op. 152 for guitar and choir. Written for Andrés Segovia in 1951, Romancero Gitano is a concerto for guitar with chorus, based on the timeless poetry of Federico Garcia-Lorca. Most of the poetry that Tedesco selected to set for this work comes from the 1921 collection entitled Poema del Canto Jondo (Poem of Deep Song), a title that refers to the cante jondo in flamenco music. Performed alongside solo and duet performances with Samuel Moore, this programme promises to be a one of this year's standout concerts in the classical guitar calendar. 

To find out more and to purchase tickets please visit the Winchester Cathedral website here

Michael will be performing alongside Samuel Moore at Winchester Cathedral on Saturday 23rd September 2017

2017 UK Concert Dates Announced

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be performing a series of UK concerts throughout the summer of 2017, including a return to the inspiring surroundings of Winchester Cathedral in June for their lunchtime concert series and a very special evening concert in September (I'll be sharing more details about this concert very soon).

I'll be performing for King's Lynn Music Society in the majestic Trinity Guildhall and will also be travelling to Scotland to perform at Holy Trinity Church for the 2017 Crail Festival. Furthermore, I'll be making the journey to the Isle of Wight to perform at the Classic Isle Festival 2017 alongside a great selection of other artists.

You can find more information about each concert over on the calendar page and I really look forward to seeing you at a concert along the way!

Michael, Saturday 22nd April 2017

2017 UK Concert Dates

Guitar, the Heart of Spain - 2016 UK Tour and 2017 Announcements

A HUGE thank you to everyone who was able to share in the wonderful experiences of the Guitar, the Heart of Spain 2016 UK Tour.  It was a privilege to be able to perform to such appreciative, warm audiences at all of the venues across the UK and I hope that you'll enjoy looking over some of the photographs in the gallery below. 

Samuel and I have been talking a lot since the success of the final concert of the tour at Ely Cathedral and have already made some very exciting plans for 2017.  Be sure to keep an eye on the website for announcements in the New Year regarding how we are planning to develop the Guitar, the Heart of Spain platform in the future, 2017 concert dates and an album release.  If you haven't already then head over to the website and subscribe to the mailing list to ensure that you keep up to date with all the future news and announcements as they are made. 

 

Michael, November 2016

Guitar, the Heart of Spain - Returning in 2017

What does Michael keep in his case? Part 1

One evening, as I was changing the strings on my guitar before a concert performance the following day, an idea came to me.  Looking at all of the items that were situated around the room, it struck me as really quite interesting and slightly bizarre just how many different things a classical guitarist carries around in their case and that some of these items might be of interest to a lot of you out there.  As a result, I’m proud to present the first of three instalments of...

(in a voice of great mystery and intrigue)...

What does Michael keep in his case?

1. Bam 8002XLW Classical Guitar Case

I've used BAM cases for years and continue to be impressed with the durability and lightness of my 8002XLW case.  When you travel as much as I do it's so important to have a case that's strong and also towards the smaller and lighter end when it comes to dimensions and weight.  Flying with a guitar is a subject that I won't delve into here, but this case is small enough to fit into the overhead lockers on every medium/large plane I've ever been on and will always fit in the cupboard on a smaller propeller plane if necessary.  Using a white case that reflects the sun is a great idea if you're travelling in warmer countries, and it just looks cool. 

2. Sam McClaren Concert Model Classical Guitar

Sam's guitars are just beautiful and I've been using his instruments in all of my concerts for several years now.  This spruce top guitar was made for me in 2014 and continues to be my constant companion in all of my adventures.  When thinking about what guitar to use in your own concerts and performances, it's always important to consider aspects such as projection, tone-balance and whether you simply feel at home on the instrument and enjoy playing it.  I love playing Sam's guitars. 

3. Removable Accessory Pouch

This one speaks for itself.  The removable accessory pouch slides into the BAM 8002XLW case just underneath the neck and, as we will learn, is always full of fascinating items.

4. D'addario Pro Arté Nylon Strings

I always carry at least three spare sets of hard tension D'addario Pro Arté strings with me.  In a week I may sometimes play three concerts or more and it's really important to make sure that the strings on my guitar are still up to the job.  When choosing your own strings, you might consider aspects such as how much volume you want to get from your instrument, playability and how bright you would like your sound to be.  I really like hard tension strings as they provide the perfect balance for me between a good, solid tone and nice playability. 

5. A sock with the end cut off

Well, this is definitely the strangest and one of the more insightful items in my case.  This is for use when practising in countries with a hot, sticky climate.  If a classical guitarist is wearing a short-sleeve shirt then one can simply slip this ingeniously modified sock onto their right arm and, presto, their arm will no longer stick to the guitar!  We're a colourful lot.  

...

So there it is, the first five items on the list of what I keep in my case.  I really hope that you've enjoyed reading and that you'll tune in for Part 2 of the series, coming soon!  Don't forget to subscribe to the mailing list for all of the latest news on forthcoming concerts, releases and other announcements.  

 

Michael, November 2016

Guitar, the Heart of Spain - Celebrating a Fiesta at Amantia, Birmingham

A huge thank you to everyone who was able to share in the launch of Guitar, the Heart of Spain at the intimate El Tablao Amantia on Saturday 8th October 2016.  This was far from just a concert performance, this was a fiesta and a celebration of the incredible music that we're exploring with Guitar, the Heart of Spain.  As you'll see from the photographs below, we had a lot of fun and following the warm standing ovation that brought the second performance to a close, Samuel and I were as pleasantly surprised as the audience to share in a completely unexpected Sevillana dance by Isabel Martín Consuegra Barrajón and Marta Retenaga!

Thank you to everyone for making this a truly unforgettable evening.  We are looking forward to continuing the 2016 UK Tour at the University of Leeds on Saturday 22nd October 2016.

www.guitartheheartofspain.com

 

At the Golden Gate - a musical homage to San Francisco

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to spend some time in the magical city of San Francisco, California.  As the days and weeks passed by it became ever clearer that I was in a place with a special resonance for me; a city full of warmth, positivity and happiness.

Here is my musical homage to my time there;  a musical diary entry that reflects upon a moment that will always remain special to me... I'm looking forward to returning soon! 

2016 UK Tour - Thank You!

A HUGE thank you to all of the wonderful people who have attended my 2016 UK Tour concerts.  It's been a privilege to share the incredible beauty of the classical guitar and the chosen pieces of music with you.  In a world that is so fractious I am humbled to have a life in which I am surrounded by positive, special people and to be so often reminded of the endless possibilities that can be achieved through sharing the joy of music. 

Now is the time for me to take a short break for the summer; I will be travelling to Spain and spending a few weeks in Andalucía studying the wonderful music of Joaquín Rodrigo and enjoying the slower pace of Spanish life.  

Legion of Honour, San Francisco (Photography by Lorenzo Giraldo)

For the autumn of 2016 the buzz word is collaboration.  A series of exciting announcements are coming soon relating to a wonderful project with the flamenco guitarist Samuel Moore entitled Guitarra; El Coraźon de Espańa.  We will be performing 5 dates in the UK and preparing a new album for 2017 release, watch this space!

As always, please stay in touch.  I would love to receive photos from all of the concerts and there is Facebook, Twitter and the mailing list to make contact.  I would LOVE to hear from all of you. 

From the bottom of my heart; thank you. 

See you in the autumn, 

Michael

 

 

 

Barnard Castle Classical Guitar Festival

Michael will be appearing at the Barnard Castle Classical Guitar Festival alongside luthier Sam McClaren this weekend as they present Classical Guitarist and Luthier; an Exploration of Collaboration within the majestic surroundings of the Bowes Museum.   The presentation will take place at 12:30pm. 

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

© Michael Christian Durrant 2018