Audience Reflections: Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist from SPAIN

ME_Med_SQMargarita Escarpa performance March 18, 2017

by Deborah Drayer

The John E. Marlow Series had nearly a full house on Saturday as Margarita Escarpa graced Westmoreland Congregational Church with its magnificent acoustics and a program of Spanish and Mexican music punctuated by Wolfgang Lendle’ stunning take on Caprice No.24 by Paganini. We often hear Spanish music from guitarists of varying nationalities, but hearing it direct from this genuinely accomplished Spaniard was an extra special treat. While many of us are more familiar with the likes of Rodrigo, Albeniz, Ponce, Tarrega and Piazzolla however, it was the Variations Capricieuses d’apres Paganini that demanded the most technically of Margarita even as some variations leaned into the humorous for effect.

The Lendle Paganini arranges the original thematic material for solo violin for the modern acoustic guitar, introducing fingering Paganini himself might have found challenging had he been a guitarist. Scales and arpeggios fly off the strings with enormous effect but only if both of the artist’s hands are up to it. Fortunately for the assembled, Ms. Escarpa had no difficulty meeting the challenge and any less calloused player would have walked away with a box of band aids in their pockets. But, Margarita needed no first aid and came back for the second half of the program with fingertips intact and serenaded us with habaneras and tangos by Tarrega, Sainz de la Maza and Piazzolla, as well as Ponce’s now rarely performed Variations sur “Folia de Espanaet Fuge.

Margarita was the last of our classical guitarists on this season’s program but Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser will end the season on an upbeat swing-jazz note you won’t want to miss. So make a calendar note for April 22 at 8:00 p.m. at WCC on the Westmoreland Circle.

Minor edits provided by ICM.

Photo Gallery: Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist, SPAIN

Photos from the Margarita Escarpa performance, Saturday, March 18, 2017.

The venue
Amanie Oubrahim, 2017 Beatty Music CompetitionGrand Prize winner : Sound Check
Margarita Escarpa, Classical Guitarist from Spain, Sound check
Pre-Concert Lecture: Esperanza Berroco
Esperanza Berroco
Amy Crews Cutts, Executive Director of the Beatty Competition
Amy Crews Cutts wins the Guitar Raffle (guitar from Brian Litz)

From the Meet-The-Artist Reception:

Education and Outreach Director, Joao Figueiroa, Founder, Tim Healy, Margarita Escarpa, BOD Emeritus, Susan Healy, Artistic Director, Danielle Cumming

Antigoni Goni Spotlight: by CultureSpotMC

Antigoni Goni was interviewed by Peggy McEwan with CultureSpotMC, an online arts calendar.

The link to the story is here:

If you prefer to download the file and print it to read, here is a PDF:  culturespotmc_spotlightantigonigoni

Photo Gallery: Montgomery County Executive Ball, 2016

The International Conservatory of Music: John E Marlow Guitar Series (represented by Directors & some Board Members) visited the Montgomery County Executive’s Ball this evening (Sunday, December 4, 2016) to celebrate the arts and, more specifically, to talk up our classical guitar programs in this area. 

(Also, see the last two pictures, the organizers were raffling off some door prizes – does their Raffle whirligig look familiar to anyone?)

Artistic Director, Danielle Cumming & Education & Outreach Director, João Figurirôa.

Board Member Duane Morse & Diane Morse

Board Members Charlotte Kuenen and David Kirstein

Board Member William Herrmann and Friend of the Series Tomoko Shinagawa

(This attendee’s identity is unknown but as I approached, I distinctly heard Tim Healy mention Zoran Dukić’s name.)

Susan Healy, Board Emeritus and William Herrmann, Board Member

Audience Review: Rene Izquierdo, CUBA

A couple with season tickets gave their friends a pair of tickets to experience Rene Izquierdo’s performance and this is what they said after the concert:

Cuban Guitars Rock!

At least one of them truly does.

Rene Izquierdo performed a dazzling array of Cuban and European guitar compositions to a full house last evening at the Westmoreland UCC church.  We loved every moment and thank you for the privilege of attending — in second row seats, no less.

Izquierdo introduced virtually every composition he played, providing his audience with helpful background.  The printed program added more.

Izquierdo’s mastery of his instrument was notable throughout the evening,
sometimes sounding like a harp, sometimes a harpsichord, sometimes a
dulcimer or a viola.  Amazing.

Thank you again,
Steve and Pat

Audience Review: Jason Vieaux, USA

Jason Vieaux, October 22nd, 2016

It could not have been a better start to Marlow’s 23rd season. Jason Vieaux, co-founder of the Curtis Institute of Music’s Guitar Department in Philadelphia, set a strong precedent for artists who will follow in the 2016-2017 line up. But many performers Marlow has featured year after year have left such a lasting impression on Washington’s music scene.

Last Saturday, however, was a great joy to the collective ear. It’s hard to know where to start, but I’m going to start with what came last, the encore. If one had the ability to wait for it, and nearly all in attendance did, you couldn’t help but be memorably touched by Mr. Vieaux’s original interpretation of the classic song released in 1967, “It’s a Wonderful World.”

After the well known Tarrega and Albeniz works at the start of the evening, the Barrios and Brower near the end of the program, and the smashing Ellington “In a Sentimental Mood” as the last bit, one would think the program couldn’t be topped. Think again – what a delicious dessert we were served in that darling encore first recorded by Louis Armstrong during one of our country’s more turbulent political and cultural times. Maybe it could serve as a calming balm during our current political discord.

What can one say, though, about a performer whose classical repertoire includes jazz and popular greats delivered just as convincingly and assuredly as Segovia’s “Estudio Sin Luz”?   Why should we be surprised about Jason’s versatility? But, we were, and very pleasantly so – so much so, that not one of his CD’s was left on the table by evening’s end. That’s a statement. Let’s hope he returns soon. The booking should commence now!

P.S. Don’t miss Rene Izquierdo of Cuba on November 19th. See you there!

– Deborah Dreyer

Tickets for Rene’s performance available:

Tim’s Thought For The Day : Beethoven blog

Thought for the day: 

By Tim Healy

So, here’s a story I heard or read about when I was at music school:

Beethoven and Goethe were out for a typical walk, during the day, as was conventional in the old days. As they were walking, the trail narrowed a bit. Approaching them was the Austrian Empress, Maria Ludovica and her entourage, a larger than life figure and an “important person”. Goethe doffed his hat while Beethoven pulled his own hat down deeper over his face, not giving way. Beethoven bawled Goethe out for his subservient behavior. Later, Goethe, who was most aghast, said to him, “Didn’t you see who was coming?” Beethoven’s reply was, “Didn’t she see who was coming?”

Now I don’t know if that’s a true story or just a story, but the thought of it last night remained with me and I got to wondering…

“What was Ludwig Van Beethoven’s nickname, or did he even have one?”

Would he have been so serious that you couldn’t call him Luddy, or Van or Viggie, or the Ludmeister, or the Ludmobile? Would he have been a Cubs fan, rooting for them in this World Series? Would you invite him out for lunch and in the middle of the lunch, say, “Hey, Ludmeister, would you pass me the mustard?” And would he even do it? I think if I did invite him for lunch, at his best choice of a restaurant, it would be a minimum courtesy to pass the condiments, if you know what I mean.

In the cold light of history, we hear that he had a nephew and a wild sister and a fairly imperious father and he was one impressive piano composer and player. We hear that he sold his written works in different countries at the same time, with little regard to international copyright, if there was one.

It must have been incredibly daunting to lose one’s sense of hearing…even more since he was a practicing musician. How frustrating to try to conduct and have to wonder if the players are really in tune, or what? And according to my understanding, his deafness was curable if he were in our time.

But his most famous motif, the beginning of the 5th Symphony, maybe It’s a future looking phrase, “Don’t kid your Self!”