The Classical Guitar Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania will bring some of the finest concerts audiences in the 570 will see this coming year. This season brings everything from one of the world’s fastest flamenco guitarists to the premier contemporary finger-style guitarists on the international scene.
We had a chance to catch up with Jay Steveskey, president and founder of the society, who filled us in on the exciting line-up of gifted artists who will perform in Marian Chapel at Marywood University. The season kicks off with Swedish guitarist and composer Johannes Moller on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. "We’re really excited this year," Steveskey said. "This is the first year we’re on the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) winner’s tour."
The GFA competition is international, bringing guitarists from all over the world together to compete. "It’s one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious classical guitar competition in the world now and the winner gets a 50 (plus) city tour," Steveskey explained. Moller is the 2010 champion and he’ll perform original compositions as well as standards when he makes a stop in Scranton on Saturday night.
Steveskey said even those not familiar with classical guitar will enjoy the concerts because the skill level of the artists scheduled to perform is excellent, and the acoustics and ambience in Marian Chapel really enhance the concert experience.
"The level of playing now among classical guitarists is really up there with other classical musicians, pianists, violinists and cellists, and their technique and musicianship is incredible," he said. "And we have a great venue in Marian Chapel. The acoustics are perfect for the guitar. The chapel’s not too big, not too small, and you can really hear the guitar- the guitar just fills that room and some of the great artists we’ve brought in have really complemented the sound there."
Following Moller’s concert, the season continues on Saturday, Nov. 5 with Russian flamenco guitarist Grisha Goryachev. One of the fastest in the world, Goryachev performed as part of the series last year and was so well received; the society asked him to return this fall. Goryachev will be joined by his friend and colleague, classical guitarist Jerome Mouffe for an evening of duets and solos.
New York City-based guitar duo Threefifty bring its modern finger-style sound (Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings as opposed to strumming all the strings in chords.) to the series on Feb. 4, followed by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Guitar Trio, comprised of Steveskey, and Charles Truitt and Robert Lozada on March 31.
Funding for this series is provided by the Scranton Area Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts as well as donations from Society members. Steveskey said the organization has grown since its inception in 2007, and is always interested in reaching more music lovers. "It’s such a beautiful thing to share," he said. "I believe it really is healing – one note at a time."