LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET
John Dearman | Matthew Greif | William Kanengiser | Scott Tennant
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For over three decades on the concert stage, the members of the Grammy® Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles, while perennially redefining themselves in their musical explorations. Popularly known as the LAGQ, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet is recognized as one of America’s premier instrumental ensembles. As one of the most charismatic groups performing today, their critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground.
The LAGQ has given recitals in many of the world’s top venues, including Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, Tokyo Opera City, and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. They have toured extensively in Europe and Asia, where they were featured at the Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila International Arts Festivals, and have performed with orchestra and in recital in Australia.
Highlights of The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's 2018-19 season include making their Philadelphia Orchestra debut performing Rodrigo's "Concierto Andaluz," a work they have previously performed for the composer’s official centenary in Spain, as well as for a "Live with the Boston Pops" television feature, and to a crowd of thousands at the Hollywood Bowl. In addition they tour to venues in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and return to New York's fabled Town Hall continuing to premiere "Road to the Sun," the new work by guitar legend Pat Metheny, commissioned specifically for them.
Among past seasons’ highlights are the world premiere performance and recording of the Metheny, and the reprisal of their beloved "Nutcracker Suite" for the holidays. Continuing to grow the repertoire for guitar quartet and guitar orchestra, the LAGQ toured "By Chants" throughout Arizona to audience and critical acclaim. This new work, based on Native American themes, was written for them by composer and longtime LAGQ member, Andrew York. Their 2017-18 season also included tours to China, Norway and Sweden.
Additional highlights include LAGQ's role as Artistic Directors of the 2015 Laguna Beach Music Festival. As the focal point of the festival, they treated audiences to four days of performances, outreach activities and celebrations including: a joint concert with the LA Percussion Quartet in which the combined octet premiered a new work by composer Jeff Holmes; a "Latin Romance" Valentine's program with mezzo-soprano Janelle DeStefano and L.A. Flamenco; and a closing performance of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote: Words and Music from the Time of Cervantes” with guest artist, Firesign Theatre veteran and voiceover actor, Phil Proctor. This last work was captured live at St Louis’ historic Sheldon Theater and released on DVD in March 2012. This multi-disciplinary project was originally developed and premiered in collaboration with the British actor John Cleese in Santa Barbara.
Recent seasons have focused on many works written specifically for the LAGQ as well as collaborative works such as "Interchange," the concerto written for them by Sergio Assad, and "SHIKI: Seasons of Japan," a work written for them with guitar orchestra. The world premiere performance of "SHIKI" took place as part of an extended residency in Loudoun County (VA) a few days after the one-year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake. Since the premiere in 2012, this work, inspired by and dedicated to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, has been performed in numerous communities throughout the United States. Pushing boundaries once again, the LAGQ participated in the ground breaking 2015 premiere of "How Little You Are" for voices and guitars, by Nico Muhly, one of today's most sought after composers. The work was hosted by Texas Performing Arts in partnership with the Austin Classical Guitar Society and Conspirare; a reprisal tour and recording with Conspirare are in the works for Fall 2019.
The Telarc release of “Interchange” marked the LAGQ’s first recording of concertos by Rodrigo and Assad. “Interchange for Guitar Quartet and Orchestra,” the concerto written specifically for these four virtuosi by Brazilian composer and guitar master Sergio Assad and featured on the Telarc CD, received a Latin Grammy® nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. “Interchange” premiered at the Southwest Guitar Festival with the San Antonio Symphony in 2010 and was later recorded with the Delaware Symphony and Music Director David Amado, along with the Rodrigo “Concierto Andaluz.” Members of the quartet have also performed and recorded two works of Osvaldo Golijov with the Atlanta Symphony in Atlanta and at the Ojai (CA) and Ravinia (IL) Festivals.
The LAGQ’s CD “Guitar Heroes,” released on Telarc, won the group their first Grammy® Award in 2005. It is a heartfelt salute to the great players who inspired the quartet, as individuals and as a group. It has received raves for its unique ability capture the feeling and fervor of diverse musical styles such as jazz, bluegrass, rock and flamenco. In November 2008, this recording joined those by artists such as the Who, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits on Sound and Visions “Top 10 Surround Discs of All Time.” Their first Telarc CD, “LAGQ – Latin,” features their popular transcription of Bizet’s Carmen, along with works from Chile, Cuba and some new original works by members of the quartet. This CD, which has received raves from listeners and critics alike, received a 2003 Grammy® nomination; the Super Audio CD (SACD) version won the award for “Best Made for Surround” at the 1st Annual Surround Music Awards. The LAGQ’s release, “SPIN” (Telarc, 2006), shows yet again that the group is equally at home in a wide variety of musical genres and also features several commissioned works from their collaboration with percussionist Colin Currie. “LAGQ-Brazil” (Telarc, 2007) continues to receive raves and includes performances with singing sensation Luciana Souza. The LAGQ’s “Interchange” CD (Telarc, 2010) features their long-awaited recording of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Andaluz” and the premiere recording of Sergio Assad’s “Interchange” with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The DVD of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote” (2012) appears on the Mel Bay Artist Series, along with their first live-concert DVD. Their newest recording, "New Renaissance," (LAGQ, 2015), is a modern take on classic works. It includes long-awaited instrumental works from "Music from the Time of Cervantes," and new works by Bogdanovic and Krouse, among others.
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LAGQ's recordings appear on the Telarc, SONY, Delos and LAGQ labels. Please visit Los Angeles Guitar Quartet online at lagq.com and on Twitter (@LAGQ), Instagram (@laguitarquartet) and Facebook (@laguitarquartet) for candid photos and additional information about touring, recordings and special projects.