Dazzling Los Angeles Guitar Quartet brings eclectic style to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Los Angeles Guitar QuarteetThe Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, one of the world's premier instrumental ensembles, will bring its technical mastery and innovative arrangements to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. The program will include J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Aaron Copeland and Joquin Rodrigo.

Fresh from major tours of Japan and Europe, the LAGQ includes John Dearman, Scott Tennant, Andrew York and William Kanengiser, all accomplished soloists who bring a depth and conviction to their ensemble work. Formed as a student ensemble at UCLA in 1980, the LAGQ has been winning raves for its live performances and stellar recordings ever since.

"If you haven't heard a classical guitar quartet before, this one won't just show you what you've been missing - they'll blow you away," raved Guitar Player magazine.

The Quartet has played many of the world's great concert halls, including those at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. They've performed with the Boston Pops, the Utah, Austin, Nashville and New Mexico symphonies and the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

The group's fondness for everything from classical to bluegrass to Caribbean styles make its live performances refreshingly unpredictable. Called "stylistically omnivorous" by the Los Angeles Times, the guitarists love to experiment with their instruments. Dearman performs on a unique seven-string guitar with extended upper and lower registers and some of the musicians' more unusual compositions require the players to attach staples, aluminum foil and strips of leather to their instruments. One reviewer noted "Gongan," a piece that requires small bits of metal and bells attached to the strings, made the guitarists look like they were playing the inner workings of a clock.

The four guitarists were all drawn to the Southern California music scene in the late 1970s, in large part because renowned guitar master Pepe Ramiero was teaching there. They met in a guitar ensemble class and found their individual gifts and group dynamic opened doors to new creative possibilities.

The LAGQ has nine albums to its credit, including "L.A.G.Q." which spent six months in the top 15 of Billboard's Classical-Crossover chart. Its latest recording, "LAGQ - Latin" features its popular transcription of Bizet's "Carmen," along with works from Chile and Cuba and original compositions by Quartet members.

Originally from Minneapolis, Dearman is a versatile guitarist whose tastes range from samba to bluegrass and flamenco to classical. A member of the guitar faculties at El Camino College and Pasadena City College, he also performs regularly with mandolin virtuoso Katarina Lichtenberg.

Detroit-born Tennant, who has been performing since the age of 12, won first prize winner in the 1989 Tokyo International Competition. He has recorded as a soloist and is the author of "Pumping Nylon," a popular technical handbook for classical guitarists. He teaches at the University of Southern California.

Known for his groundbreaking compositions, York is featured on Rhino Records' "Legends of Guitar" and "The Windham Hill Guitar Sampler." His solo album, "Denouement," was voted Best Classical Album in a 1994 Guitar Player magazine reader's poll. Guitar luminaries John Williams and Christopher Parkening have recorded his works.

Kanengiser is an acclaimed soloist and faculty member at the University of Southern California. One of the few guitarists to have won the Concert Artists Guild New York Competition, he has earned critical raves for his imaginative arrangements of everything from Old World to Caribbean music. He may be best known to younger audiences for playing the classical guitarist in the Britney Spears film "Crossroads."

Tickets range from $24 to $30. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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

Posted on October 7, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 87