International Guitar Night brings together four stellar musicians at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Four of the world's foremost acoustic guitarists will perform their latest original compositions and exchange fresh musical ideas at the International Guitar Night on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Originated in Europe, International Guitar Night was brought to the United States by Brian Gore, a California guitarist who will perform at the Quick Center event. He will be joined by legendary guitar icon Ralph Towner, who lives in Italy; jazz virtuoso Martin Taylor of England; and dynamic Brazilian guitarist Marco Pereira. This is the group's only Connecticut appearance.

Now in its ninth year in the United States, the International Guitar Night brings together top musicians to play and speak about their work in a public concert setting. Each season a new cast of guitar luminaries from the United States, Europe and South America performs solos, duets and quartets to highlight the virtuosity and diversity within the world of acoustic guitar.

Ralph Towner was raised in Oregon and began playing the piano at the age of 5. By the time he was seven, he was playing trumpet with Dixieland, swing and polka bands. Towner studied classical composition at the University of Oregon and, after graduation, traveled to Vienna, Austria to study classical guitar, an instrument he discovered in his fourth year of college. In the late 1960s he moved to New York to hone his skills and by 1980 he had added keyboard synthesizers to his instrument arsenal.

Since 1970, Towner has recorded more than 30 albums under his own name and in collaboration with Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, Wayne Shorter, Jan Hammer, the Paul Winter Consort and many others. He has also composed several orchestral pieces and documentary film scores and worked with dance companies, including Pilobolus, Murray Louis and Alvin Ailey. Among Towner's many awards are two German Grammies, a U.S. Grammy nomination and a New York Jazz Award as best acoustic guitarist in New York City.

Described by The Times of London as "the finest British guitarist of his generation," Martin Taylor has earned a reputation as a world-class performer and composer. He first came to prominence in the 1970s through his 11-year collaboration with violin legend Stephane Grappelli.

Taylor began playing at the age of four when his father, jazz bassist Buck Taylor, gave him a small acoustic guitar as a present. By the time he was 12, he was playing in local bands. Inspired by the famed gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, Taylor is known for complex, daring interpretations combined with a seamless style that doesn't shortchange melodies.

Taylor played a series of concerts with Grappelli both in the United States and abroad and the two made 20 albums, including recordings with Peggy Lee, Michel Legrand, Yehudi Menuhin and Nelson Riddle. Taylor has released several solo albums and has performed in concert with George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton and many others. The first album with his group Martin Taylor's Spirit of Django, was nominated for album of the year at the 1995 British Jazz Awards, where Taylor was named best guitarist for the seventh time.

Born in Sao Paulo, Marco Pereira studied acoustic guitar with Uruguayan master Isaias Savio and composition and conducting at the Conservatory of Theater and Music of Sao Paulo. While living in France, he earned the title "master of acoustic guitar" from the Universite Musicale Internationale de Paris, where his Latin American style became strongly influenced by jazz.

Pereira, a professor who defended his music thesis at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, performed extensively in Europe, winning two international contests in Spain, the Contest Andres Segovia and the Contest Francisco Tarrego. Upon returning to Brazil, he established courses in acoustic guitar and functional harmony at the University of Brasilia. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Composition at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and he continues to compose, release CDs and tour.

Brian Gore is a San Francisco-based guitarist gaining a reputation as an influential performer of the modern generation of finger-style guitarists. His lyrical and understated compositions integrate classical and percussive techniques that display what the Los Angeles Times called "a characterful bounce and spaciousness all his own."

Gore is an artist in residence at the Boulder Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, and is founder of the International Guitar Night in the United States. He has recorded two CDs, "The Path of Least Resistance" and "Legacy: Solo Guitar and Duets," and his music has been featured on National Public Radio's nationally syndicated "Echoes Radio."

"His finely crafted poetic 'songs without words' take the listener on a spellbinding emotional ride," according to Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

Tickets are $25. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Editors: Brian Gore is available for interviews.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 14, 2002