Jason Vieaux: Guitar in the Garden

Guitar in the Garden
Jason Vieaux

Thu, July 27, 2017, 7:00pm


This performance will be moved to Venetian Theater due to inclement weather.

Seating will remain General Admission.
Contact the Box Office at 914.232.1252 or [email protected] if you have any questions.

Gramophone magazine placedArtist-in-Resident Jason Vieaux “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.” In his final concert of the season, Vieaux returns to the intimate natural beauty of the Sunken Garden with a solo recital of classical and contemporary guitar music that spans the globe—from Italy and Argentina to Mexico, Brazil, and the US—including selections from his 2014 Grammy Award-winning album, Play.

“…perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” – NPR

Giuliani Handel Variations
Bach Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998Ponce Sonatina MeridionalMorel Choro, Danza in E Minor, Danza Brasilera
Ellington In a Sentimental Mood (arr. Vieaux)
Jobim A Felicidade (arr. Roland Dyens)

Getting to Caramoor

Taking the train? We’ll give you a lift! Free Metro-North Katonah Shuttle beginning at 5:00pm.

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Jason Vieaux

Jason Vieaux, guitar

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Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR), is the guitarist that goes beyond the classical. His latest solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music. Recent and future highlights include performances at the Caramoor Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Ravinia Festival, New York’s 92Y, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bard Music Festival, [email protected], Strings Music Festival, and many others. He has performed as soloist with nearly 100 orchestras and his passion for new music has fostered premieres by Dan Visconti, Vivian Fung, José Luis Merlin, and more.

Jason Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series and in 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music.

Vieaux continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well. His latest album Together, with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, was released in January 2015. His previous eleven albums include a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, Bach: Works for Lute, Vol. 1, Images of Metheny, and Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz. Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series. Vieaux recently recorded Ginastera’s Sonata for Guitar for a Ginastera Centennial album produced by Kondonassis, which will be released in fall 2016 on Oberlin Music. His album with bandoneonist Julien Labro will also be released in fall 2016 on Azica.

In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an unprecedented technological interface that provides one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and in 2015 was invited to inaugurate the guitar program at the Eastern Music Festival. Vieaux has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001.

Vieaux is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize, the event’s youngest winner ever. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award, and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant.

Jason Vieaux is represented by Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd and plays a 2013 Gernot Wagner guitar.

A Note from Jason Vieaux.

Caramoor has been such an amazing place for me to play over the last ten years, and I am incredibly honored to be an artist-in-residence here this summer. My programs this summer are a pretty accurate reflection of some of the collaborations I regularly enjoy with Escher String Quartet (June 30) and Julien Labro (July 16), as well as what I will be performing as a solo recitalist (July 27) over the next season.

I met the Eschers 10 years ago at [email protected], one of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center summer festivals. I was asked to curate and perform their “Carte Blanche” concert for that year, a kind of marathon concert featuring solo works and chamber pieces, choosing my chamber partners from the list of guest artists. The Eschers and I not only had fun working on the two quintets I programmed, we found that we had a good natural rapport and have been friends and regular collaborators since then. A 2018 CD is in the works featuring quintets by Boccherini, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Kernis. During our concert at Caramoor this summer, I will be performing a very important work for solo guitar that I recorded in 2017 for a project featuring great artists Gil and Orly Shaham and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis – Ginastera’s Guitar Sonata, composed in 1976.

Julien Labro, accordionist extraordinaire hailing from Marseilles, France, was visiting my home base of Cleveland 10 years ago, performing with his group, Hot Club of Detroit, at jazz club/restaurant Night Town. Hot Club of Detroit would go on to perform at least twice a year at Night Town due to popular demand, so my producer at Azica Records, Alan Bise and I would check their sets out over the next several years. I had never heard anyone improvise on the accordion like that before. Hanging at the bar with Julien and his band afterwards, I wondered if he had ever played any bandoneón, and if so, would he be interested in playing the Piazzolla’s Double Concerto for Bandoneón and Guitar. Two CDs and several concerts later, I am happy to be sharing the stage with Julien and Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Caramoor.

Since I’ve played a few solo concerts at Caramoor in the past, I have been looking to revisit some pieces I haven’t performed in quite a long time: a couple of Sonatas by Manuel Ponce, and some of Jorge Morel’s encore pieces, along with a gorgeous work of Bach (Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 996) that I haven’t yet performed here. I hope you will enjoy the concerts as much as I have enjoyed preparing them.

– Jason


About the Music.



Variations on a Theme by Handel for Guitar, Op. 107

“The guitar is a miniature orchestra unto itself.” Beethoven is reputed to have said this after hearing the Italian virtuoso of the guitar, Mauro Giuliani. This certainly speaks of the high-esteem that Giuliani enjoyed among many of the great musicians of his time. He performed in the premiere of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Wellington’s Victory (presumably on his second instrument, the cello). He also performed one of his guitar concerti in Prague under the baton of Carl Maria von Weber, and was said to have even performed with Paganini and Rossini. The authors of one contemporary guitar method stated that Giuliani’s performances and teaching while a resident of Vienna in 1806-1819 “…formed for us so many outstanding amateurs, that there could scarcely be another place where authentic guitar-playing is so widely practiced as here in our Vienna.” And though he had never been to England, Giuliani’s influence extended even there, where several years after his death a journal in tribute to him entitled The Giulianiad was published.

Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op 107, is based on the theme that comes from the last movement of Handel’s Fifth Harpsichord Suite. In Handel’s work, it is also the focus of a set of variations, though it is probable that Giuliani actually knew the theme not from the original, but from the variations that his friend and colleague Ignaz Moscheles had written several years prior to Giuliani’s composition. The theme itself has become very popular, and is nicknamed “The Harmonious Blacksmith,” after the rumor that Handel had first heard the tune whistled or sung by a blacksmith, accompanied by the rhythmic clanging of his hammer upon the anvil. In fact, this story is entirely false. It was fabricated well after Handel’s (and even Giuliani’s) death by Richard Clarke in his book Reminisces of Handel, in 1836. Clarke went so far as to reveal the identity of the central figure of his fictitious story – a contemporary of Handel’s named William Powell – and even had an elaborate headstone made for Clarke’s grave naming him as “The Harmonious Blacksmith.”

– Erik Mann



Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro in E-flat Major, BWV 998

Among Bach’s vast output is a handful of works for the lute, which were probably inspired by Silvius Leopold Weiss, by far the greatest lutenist of his day, whose dates almost exactly match those of Bach (1686-1750), and who visited Bach in 1739. Bach may have seen him again when he went to Dresden, where Weiss was employed at the court, to visit his son Wilhelm Friedemann. Since the best estimate of a date for the Prelude, Allegro, and Fugue is some time in the early 1740s, it is hard to imagine that Bach could have conceived it for anyone else. It is a largescale and virtuosic solo work, opening with a flowing Prelude that just hints at the beginning of the Fugue to follow. The fugue is an elaborate one with elements of recapitulation (very unusual in Bach). It is followed by a brilliant, racing Allegro that puts the player’s virtuosity to a severe test, and this is no less the case on the lute’s modern equivalent, the guitar.

– Steven Ledbetter



Sonatina Meridional

Manuel Maria Ponce was born in the provincial Mexican town of Fresnillo. Beginning at the age of six, he received piano lessons from his sister; his musical studies progressed from rural maestros to the Conservatory in Mexico City. In 1912 he wrote the beloved Estrellita; its lilting melody made him famous, but his failure to secure the copyright cost him the financial security such an international “hit” might have brought. He continued his studies in Havana, Bologna, Berlin, and (with Paul Dukas) in Paris from 1925-1933. When the celebrated guitarist Andres Segovia gave his first recital in Mexico City in 1923, Ponce wrote a glowing review of the concert for a music journal. The two met, and a lasting friendship was forged. Although dozens of composers answered Segovia’s call for new repertoire, Ponce remained his favorite. The Sonatina Meridional was written in 1930 in response to Segovia’s request for a sonatina of a purely Spanish character.”

– Richard Long


b. 1931

Danza in E Minor
Danza Brasilera

The popular and prolific Argentine-American guitarist-composer Jorge Morel began his guitar studies in Buenos Aires with his father, a famous actor. After further studies with Amparo Alvariza and the virtuoso Pablo Escobar, Morel emigrated to New York in 1961. Choro (“little cry”) is an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre which originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. It is characterized by virtuosity, improvisation and subtle modulations, and is full of syncopation and counterpoint. Choro is considered the first characteristically Brazilian genre of urban popular music. Contemporary harmonies are also evident in Morel’s Danza In E Minor, with its Afro-Cuban Rhythms; it was composed during a visit to England in 1979-1980. The urban and jazzy Danza Brasiliera, one of Morel’s best-known pieces, is close in spirit to the modern samba and bossa nova.

– Richard Long



In a Sentimental Mood (arr. Vieaux)

Duke Ellington was one of the most important figures in the development of American “jazz” music, and one of the great artists of the 20th century. When I played a little mediocre jazz guitar as a Cleveland-area sideman in the 90s, I had a small repertoire ready should the leader motion for me to call a tune. “IASM” was something I liked to call because it was one of the only tunes in the Real Book (other than something like Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard) where I could get bluesy in my solo – bending lots of notes! As a soloist with the Charlotte Symphony some years ago, I played Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez in a program that started with Bernstein and ended with an Ellington concert work. They asked me to transition from Aranjuez back to the American stuff, so I played Sevilla by Albéniz, Danza Brasiliera by Jorge Morel, and then this arrangement I made especially for the engagement. I kept a little of the note-bending.

– Jason Vieaux



A Felicidade (arr. Roland Dyens)

Antônio Carlos Jobím is one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, right up there with Gershwin, Porter, Bacharach, and Lennon/McCartney. This superb arrangement of A Felicidade is by my esteemed colleague and composer Roland Dyens, The song title is Portuguese for happiness and begins with the lyric “Sadness has no end, happiness, yes…”

– Jason Vieaux