The world on a string
A string of guitarists will pick up their instruments and make their way to Taranaki next week.
There will be musicians from Italy, guitarists from America and willing students from across Australasia.
The Taranaki Classical Guitar Summer School is a week of workshops, concerts and masterclasses with some of the world's best.
Dominique Blatti, the event organiser and president of the region's classical guitar society, says the seven days of music will be the highlight of summer for many musicians. "Some may wonder why you want to go to school in the holidays, but this is fun.
"It is like a big family reunion of people who love music.
"The ambience is great," she says.
The event has been about nine months in the planning and has been entirely organised and directed by volunteers.
It will bring together educators, students, professionals, amateurs and composers.
The first summer school ran in 2012 and was such a success it has been pegged as a continuing biannual festival.
While people can come along for a single day, Blatti recommends attending the whole week.
"We have ensemble rehearsals and workshops that build on each other, and the technique you can learn is incredible."
The week of training ends in a free finale concert at the TSB Bank Festival of Lights on January 18.
More than 60 guitarists, ranging in age from 10 to 70 will give a public performance of what they have mastered.
The concert is one every musician in the programme looks forward to and for some it is the biggest audience they have played to.
Blatti was born in Switzerland and moved to New Zealand with her family when she was 18.
She began studying classical guitar at the age of nine, under the tutelage of Senorita De Cruz, and entered the Geneva Conservatory in 1997.
"I also played the piano when I was little, and my mother's accordion, but it is the guitar that is my love.
"Many people know a little bit of guitar and know how to play enough for their friends, but the techniques are wide and varied.
"A lot of people don't realise the amount of work that goes into playing the instrument properly. It is actually one of the hardest instruments to learn well and use to the full potential," she says.
Blatti, who teaches guitar to 45 students, says parents are sometimes stunned when she tells them that in order to teach their child how to play guitar, she will also teach them how to read music.
"People don't associate guitar playing with reading music.
"But if it was any other instrument, like the piano, they wouldn't question learning to read music.
"There is a lot of misconception about the instrument out there and not a lot of fantastic tuition," she says.
Despite this Blatti says the summer school caters for musicians of any and all skill ranges, and the students will be broken up into groups.
She predicts a lot of the attendees will know how to play a raft of different tunes, while others will only know pieces like Smoke on the Water.
"Every student wants to play that to me on their first lesson, or Stairway to Heaven," she says.
For more information, or to book a place in the Summer School, which runs from January 13 to 18, email email@example.com.
Night Concert Series: Sunday, January 12: William Kanengiser
American Grammy award winner 4th Wall Theatre 8pm Monday, January 13: Gunter Herbig
Naxos recording artist 4th Wall Theatre 8pm Tuesday, January 14:
Italian composer and guitarist
4th Wall Theatre 8pm Wednesday, January 15:
Summer School artistic director 4th Wall Theatre 8pm Thursday, January 16:
Sydney Guitar Trio
Australia's leading trio
4th Wall Theatre 8pm Saturday, January 18:
Free concert on the Hatchery Lawn
5.30pm * Presale tickets for the Night Concert Series are on sale at Pianoworks, or are available at the door for $25 an adult and $15 for students.
Daily lunchtime concerts: New Plymouth Girls' High School
Monday, January 13 to Thursday, January 16
School hall, 1pm Monday: New Zealand Guitar Quartet
Tuesday: Duo Jackson
Wednesday: Student concert
Thursday: New Zealand Aspiring Guitarists
* Tickets to the lunchtime concerts are $15 and are available at the door.
Taranaki Daily News