Billy Novick & Guy Van Duser, USA : April 22, 2017 8pm

bg_med_sqWe conclude with the great fun and sweet melodies of Swing jazz. This fabulous duo of guitar and clarinet will carry us through the Big Band, gypsy jazz and American Songbook eras.

“Smooth-struttin’ jazz and smokey blues…a rare fusion of emotion and intellect.”
– – Montreal Gazette

“A sound so full that it’s hard to believe only two people hold the stage.”
– – Calgary Herald

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now:
Music Clip:
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016, which is TODAY!

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo supplied by artist
Sponsored by Shereen Remez

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

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.

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

Gazette Preview: Jason Vieaux, USA

Postcard: Classical Guitarist Jason Vieaux
Postcard: Classical Guitarist Jason Vieaux

Dear Friends,

The Gazette. net, Maryland Community News Online, has written a preview for the Jason Vieaux performance Saturday, October 26, 2013 – 8pm.

Free pre-concert lecture given by Larry Snitzler at 7:15pm. Arrive early for the lecture, stay for the free reception and Meet The Artist.


Ana Vidovic, Croatia, January 26, 2013

Ana Vidovic, Croatia

There was another full house on Saturday, January 26th at the first of the 2013 Marlow Series concerts and Ana Vidovic did not disappoint her attentive audience.

Attendees braved -30 degree temperatures to hear this vibrant talent serenade them with a program that included some of the all time favorites of the classical guitar repertoire. We were fortunate to have Ana back for her third appearance and it was easy to understand how she has claimed international awards such as The Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega Competitions when she featured their work on this concert’s list of little jewels. Her selections, too, prove how versatile she is at interpreting a range of styles from Baroque with J.S. Bach’s beautifully mastered BWV 998 to Walton’s Five Bagatelles composed for Julian Bream who commissioned them.

Ana gave us a refreshing order of composers by mixing up the periods a bit so we were not hearing a strict chronology of music. That kind of programming reminds us that, in whichever age an artist composes, fine music is timeless when tested against the backdrop of history.

Ana gave us Turina’s Op. 61 Sonata with its tonally mixed arpeggios, soft, delicate swells, and sensitive, oh so lovely, Andante preceding a rapidly articulated Allegro Vivo. Sor’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9 lightened the evening with sweetly, playful cat-and-mouse like runs chasing each other around the neck of the instrument. Tarrega’s pensive Recuerdos de la Alhambra was freshly conceived and brought the listeners forward as it faded to its pianissimo close. And, Albeniz’ Granada with its wonderful dynamic range followed by Asturias showed us how breathtaking this lady’s pianissimos can be.

The second half of the program began with J.S.Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro (BWV 998). As much as one can appreciate the mastery of Spanish composers of the guitar, one can never go wrong with the German J.S.B. The man’s a hands-down genius and hearing this piece so capably handled, even when the Allegro could easily run away with the performer, or vice-versa, was worth the evening alone.

Mangore’s La Catedral, a piece I’d never heard, had a nice ring to it with the opening notes sounding like high, bell tones which descend into the middle range of the instrument followed by a spiritually cast Andante, and ending with a terrific Allegro with arpeggios flying over a repeated drone so meticulously executed. Walton’s Five Bagatelles were the final work of the evening and I couldn’t help thinking of Satie’s Gymnopedies in the Lento with the Sempre espressivo’s quiet roaring after it like a locomotive forging on across an open plain.

We certainly do look forward to having Ana back again. There’s a reason why some performers return over the years, and this one demonstrated clearly why she’s a favorite.

Next concert: Saturday, February 16, 2013. Joao Paulo Figueiroa of Brazil. Please join us.

-Deborah Drayer

Silver Spring, MD



In the days to come, we will post a few pictures from both performances of Roland Dyens, France (L) and Marco Socias, Spain (R). In the meantime, please see what we have available on the John E. Marlow Guitar Series Facebook Page.

And Season 19 begins

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the beginning of 2012-2013 John E. Marlow Guitar Season (Season 19)!

We begin this evening with a performance by Roland Dyens. Please see our website:, for more information and tickets (if you don’t have them yet).

Here is a sneak peek of our concert program – by clicking on the image, you can view the entire physical music program.

Simon Powis, February 24, 2012

“Scarlatti is just as much a delight to play as he is to be heard on the receiving end by ticket holders.  One might say it’s the thrill of the trill that lures in the listener, but it’s so much more.  Simon Powis, one fine Australian and soon to be American, gave us more on Saturday the 25th with his practiced elegance and accomplished ornamentation of three Sonatas by this eminent composer of the harpsichord – an instrument which lends itself nicely to transposition on an adeptly plucked and fretted acoustic guitar.  The skill in turning these sonatas, made for up to 50 strings, however, into a work for six strings is, in and of itself, a daunting occupation.  But, to do so with equal musicality and skillful decoration raises Dominico’s art to another level entirely.  One could easily argue that trills, mordents and embellishments are far more complex in a guitarist’s hands than those of a harpsichordists.  The guitarist isn’t just depressing a key from which an articulated sound pours forth.  His instrument requires far more finessing and calculation – the fingers needing to know precisely where those arpeggios go rather than merely striking a key and voila – out comes the note.  Try it sometime, I guarantee you you’ll be stumped.

But, Mr. Powis was not stumped.  He breezed through the courtly K491, to the melancholic reverie of K208, and ended with the cat and mouse-ish chase of K209 all with metronomic precision.  All else that followed took on its own form, from the stream of consciousness lines in Armand Coeck’s Constellations to Giuliani’s Rossiniana 1, op.11 through Walton’s Bagatelles with its Satie-esque Lento and lyrical Alla Cubana, Turina’s toreodorish passages and ending on Piazzolla’s Tangos with the La Muerta de Angel providing an impressive ending to a program that spanned the Baroque to the 20th century.

We’re getting spoiled this year, you know, with all these new young hands bringing us something unique from their respective continents and fanning the fire for this series ever higher, and Spring promises even more with the seasoned John Feeley of Ireland up next on March 24th and our 2011-2012 finale provided by a much beloved and cherished Pepe Romero on April 14th.  Hope to see you there…”

-Deborah Drayer
Silver Spring, MD