Coming soon…


Dear friends,

You may have already seen the MarlowGuitar website with our upcoming Season 23 (2016-2017). If not, however, tomorrow and the days following, you can count on little tidbits about the artists as well as a chance to hear music clips.

Stay tuned!



[Guest Review] Classical Guitarist, David Russell, Spain – March 12, 2016

David Russell, March 12, 2016, John E. Marlow Guitar Series.

He had me at, “my wife and I have walked the Camino many times.” This is how David Russell, classical guitarist who plays in the stratosphere high above the ordinary crowd, began his introduction to the second work on Saturday’s program, Cantigas de Santiago by Stephen Goss. He also had me before that in his opening Suite Compostelana by Federico Mompou, equally inspired by the famous pilgrimage. David admittedly hasn’t made the 500 mile trek all at once but he lives within a 200 mile shot of the city and has done it enough to have logged in some impressive mileage. His own experience as a pilgrim set the tone for the Cantigas drawn from the earliest of Iberian secular songs and twelfth and thirteenth century collections. In the Goss work, one at times skips along the route and, at others, sits down to give the sandals a rest and reflect on the road behind and ahead. There was even a hint of Moorish influence in one of the movements which added to the complex dimensions of these historically set pieces. Sitting comfortably in the 21st century with lightweight backpacks and gear, it’s hard to imagine how the journey, all those centuries ago, would have been for whole families making their way to the relics of St. James, but this music makes it sound like a breeze, so if you’re planning the adventure, download the Cantigas — they’re sure to please and take the edge off those aching limbs. The Suite Compostelana, Mompou’s only work for the guitar, gave us some impressive, utterly exquisite and impeccably executed passages which left the audience a bit hushed after its hearing. It was the kind of interpretation that lends itself to accolades of “otherworldliness” and “if he’d lived in ancient Rome he’d be a god.” But Spain has already named at least one street after David Russell so it’s easy to understand the esteem in which he’s held there.

Part two of the evening began with the Bach Partita No. 1, BWV 825, transcribed by Gerhard Reichenbach. What a master this great composer is in the hands of another master. Even in the hands of less adept musicians Bach convinces that he’s the king of counterpoint. As I sat dumbstruck by this music, I was keeping time with David as he moved through the seven dances of the Partita. He never missed a beat. He plays with such precision that the airlines could learn a thing or two from his well-defined tempi even in the midst of complex trills here, there, and everywhere. And, as a keyboardist, I can say confidently the guitar demands much more skill to pluck the strings with one hand and place the notes on a narrow neck with the other than it does to depress a key attached to a rod with a hammer. And, it takes more than just a “gifted” musician to finesse a trill out of a wooden box and just six strings to produce an intelligible sound. It may be even more difficult than putting a man on Mars, but I’ll leave that to NASA to evaluate.

By the time we got to Tarrega’s Gran Jota and the first encore, Granados’ Andaluza, the listeners didn’t even bother sitting down. They just stood through it all – well, I do exaggerate a bit, but just a very little bit. You have to give it to the Marlow Series, one is never disappointed. With musicians like David Russell invited to town, we’re extremely fortunate to be the receptacle of a Series so well-conceived; and, it didn’t happen overnight folks. This is the 22nd Season, and with a lot of luck we’ll hear 22 more (hopefully with a lot of David Russell too).

-Deborah Drayer

[Guest Review] Classical Guitarist, XueFei Yang, China – February 20, 2016

XFY_medSQSpain, China, France and more…

XueFei Yang graced us with her refined sense of style and technique last night for a third performance on the Marlow Series in just five short years. It’s not often we’re visited with such frequency by one performer, but a couple come to mind: Pepe Romero and David Russell, so she’s in excellent, established company on the one to ten scale – and, there’s good reason for it.

I have said before, I will do so again, the international flavor the Marlow series offers provides a steady glimpse into the culture and history of our interconnected world with artists who share their treasures and introduce us to the infinite range of human expression. When Ms. Yang altered the order of her program to ensure her native Chinese heritage did not stand on its own after intermission, it was an illuminating call. There’s clearly a lot more that shines on the classical guitar than the usual mix of Spanish and Latin American composers – like the Welsh composer, yes, I said Welsh, Stephen Goss’ carefully crafted interpretations of the Book of Songs based on ancient Chinese poetry (a tall task for a non-native). Of the six Songs composed out of a universe of 305 poems, the sweetest was Ms. Yang’s admitted favorite, “Pastoral”, with its “wind blowing in the long grass and trees.” There’s something perfect about the pentatonic influence with which Chinese traditional music is infused. Renaissance composers loved the perfection of the perfect fifth and treated it with great reverence, but its influence came from the Far East. You can’t write traditional Chinese music without the pentatonic scale and this Welshman employed it admirably throughout these lovely pieces. This music is well suited for the guitar which sounds more like an Asian instrument then a western one when plucked as sensitively as rendered by Ms. Yang.

Debussy’s La Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin arranged by Julian Bream appropriately followed the Book of Songs hinting at the chinoiserie of Claude’s evolving psyche and by the time de Falla’s Homenaje, pour le tombeau de Debussy brought the first half of the program to a close, Ms. Yang had once again demonstrated how remarkably her delicate digits slide over the frets from one culture to another without a fumble. Both composers would have been impressed.

Granados opened the second half of the concert with Valses Poeticos arranged by Ms. Yang. Granados was not a composer of music for the guitar so if you want to know what this opus should sound like, you might be interested in listening to a recording by Alicia de Larrocha whose passionate playing defines this delightful and alternatingly sentimental work with the fullness it demands. Listen to Alicia and you’ll wonder how anyone else could manage it so well. It’s a difficult one to translate but it was done so with great accomplishment and nerve by Ms. Yang.

The Chinese traditional music was my personal fav on last night’s program. There’s nothing quite as tranquil as listening to the cascading chords of a waterfall in an enchanting garden. This is what it felt like listening to this fluid work as quick and complex as they get but done with the ease of a true professional — so effortless, yet so difficult and astutely realized. Ms. Yang is truly a cut above and the season’s not even over yet!

David Russell on March 12 needs no introduction, so purchase your tickets now, they won’t last long and join us for another remarkable evening unlike any other around this town.

Deborah Drayer

Photos: XueFei Yang, China – February 20, 2016

Sound check!


Pre-Concert Lecture with Professor Larry Snitzler

Intermission: Door Prize Give-Away and Guitar Raffle

Meet-The-Artist wine and cheese Reception


A great Saturday night!

27 Countries!

We just did a tally. Amazing to think of it, isn’t it?

27 Countries represented in the John E. Marlow Guitar Series over the past 22 years ( 6 concerts per year):

54 concerts representing the USA

14 Brasil

19 Spain

9 Paraguay

1 Argentina

3 Venezuela

2 Bulgaria

7 France

6 Cuba

4 UK

5 Australia

2 Greece

2 Belgium

1 Sardinia

2 Scotland

1 Germany

4 Ireland

2 Italy

7 Croatia

1 Canada

3 Israel

1 Turkey

3 Chile

3 China

1 Mexico

2 Poland

1 Taiwan

List of December Fun: Recommended Movies and Documentaries

© 2015 Meagan Healy – Two Guitarists

Happy New Year!

During the month of December, we posted some recommendations for documentaries or movies  on our social media featuring the music business. We are included 3 documentaries or interviews with Andrés Segovia at the end, because he is so inspiring.

Thank you for all of your support, we wish you the best for the New Year and here is to many more musical performances!

To Begin

#1: All Things Must Pass – Tower Records – So new, it’s still showing in theaters. The closest one is in Winchester, VA on January 6th. (In Theaters)

#2: Amy (movie/documentary) – (Online Streaming)

#3: Amadeus (movie) – (Online Streaming)

#4: It Might Get Loud – (documentary) (Online Streaming) (DVD Netflix) (Online Streaming)

#5: Immortal Beloved (movie) – (Online Streaming, also avail on Google Play)

#6: Standing In The Shadow of Motown (documentary) – (Amazon Prime)

#7: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (documentary) – (Online Streaming)

#8: Twenty Feet From Stardom (documentary) – (Online Streaming)

#9: The Wrecking Crew (documentary) – (Online Streaming)

#10: Love And Mercy (movie) – (Online Streaming)

#11: The Recyclers The Recyclers: From trash comes triumph – 60 Minutes Videos – CBS News

#12: From Mao to Mozart (documentary) – (dvd)

#13: Some Kind of Monster: Metallica (documentary) – (DVD Netflix)

#14: Far From The Lighted Stage (documentary) – (DVD)
– (DVD Netflix)

#15: Respect Yourself, The Stax Story (documentary) – (DVD)
Respect Yourself, The Stax Story (documentary) – (DVD Netflix)

EXTRA – Tous les Matins du Monde (movie) – (Online Streaming)

*** Classical Guitar ***

#1: Andrés Segovia: The Song of the Guitar (Online Streaming)

#2: Andrés Segovia at Los Olivos (Online Streaming)

#3: Andrés Segovia: In Portrait (DVD)

Outreach: Classical Guitarist from Taiwan, Chia-Wei Lin at James Blake High School, Silver Spring, MD


On November 24, 2015, Chia-Wei Lin performed for students at James Blake High School in Silver Spring, MD as part of our Visiting Artist at School Program.

This program was developed to enhance music education and increase awareness of classical guitar by bringing the very best guitarists to schools in our area.  Chia-Wei Lin performed pieces by Johann Kaspar Mertz and Marek Pasieczny, shared his experience as a young classical guitarist performing in many different countries and told personal stories about his life growing up in Taiwan.

The students were part of electric guitar class, and never had heard a world class guitar player performing so close. The music director enjoyed very much and offered for next time the possibility  to organize a bigger meeting in the main auditorium with all the performing arts students from the school.

Joao Figueiroa