(From The Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
Posted Jan 14, 2018 at 1:04 PM
Updated Jan 14, 2018 at 1:04 PM
Musician opened the 12th season of GuitarSarasota’s international concert series
By Richard Storm / Correspondent
There were many notable aspects of Xavier Jara’s recital for GuitarSarasota Saturday evening, other than the expert and delicate skills of the young guitarist, including the rapt and silent attention paid to the music by a large and largely mature audience.
This program may have surprised some as it was devoid of the usual “crowd-pleasers” often associated with this instrument. Instead, we heard transcriptions of historically significant music and new works written for the modern guitar, including compositions by John Dowland, Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Isaac Albeniz and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, framing works by contemporary composers such as Dusan Bogdanovic and Jeremy Collins.
Throughout this challenging program, and in an atmosphere of fine acoustics and intense audience focus, the young soloist maintained expert and cheerful control of his instrument and the demands of the music, never going for an easy effect or a virtuosic stunt.
After leading off with the first item on the printed program, 17th-century John Dowland’s “Two Fantasies,” played with great restraint, Jara introduced the compositions that followed, beginning with a mysterious work by Francois Couperin with unexpected harmonies.
Later, we heard a lengthy and compelling modern composition by Collins, a composer born in 1986, and Bogdanovic’s Sonata No. 3, a well-regarded “minimalist” work that incorporates some jazz elements, kept the audience’s attention despite its intricate textures and challenging harmonic language.
Graeme Koehne’s “A Closed World of Fine Feelings of Grand Design” lifted the weight of its long title in music of calm simplicity. After lengthy and insistent applause and a standing ovation, Jara delivered a sweet and calming encore — a sonata by Alessandro Scarlatti, founder of the Neapolitan school of 18th-century opera and an enormously productive composer in other forms.
The success of this recital, a program of demanding compositions which avoided the musical clichés frequently associated with the guitar, is a significant indication of the maturing taking place in the Sarasota music atmosphere.
Although it was rapturously received by the audience, the lack of younger attendees points to a continuing need to remove the remaining stigma often attached to so-called “classical” music. Mr. Jara rocked the joint and those of us who attended were given a welcome dose of gifted youth.
Presented by Guitar Sarasota. Reviewed Jan. 13, Unitarian Universalist Church, Sarasota. For information on GuitarSarasota: 941-260-3306; guitarsarasota.org
Xavier Jara Plays Wide-Ranging Classical Guitar Program
September 22, 2017
Classical guitarist and winner of the Guitar Foundation of America’s Rose Augustine Grand Prize Xavier Jara, who performed in Kulas Recital Hall Wednesday night, not only demonstrated his instrument’s impressive time- and genre-crossing capacities, but also shed light on the community of classical guitarists and enthusiasts in Oberlin. Jara’s performance was in fact sponsored by the Oberlin Classical Guitar Association. After Jara gave a masterclass on Monday, he was joined by members of the OCGA — social media coordinator and double-degree senior Mohit Dubey; treasurer and double-degree senior Brian King; and OCGA member and double-degree sophomore Aidan Wiley Lippke — who talked about the poetic names their instrument has been assigned.
“Someone once called [the guitar] a tiny orchestra … who said that?” Dubey asked.
“It was God,” King replied, to general amusement.
Though the phrase was actually coined by guitarist Andrés Segovia, King’s joke wouldn’t have seemed off-base to the audience who attended Jara’s Wednesday night performance. The award-winning guitarist, not much older than the many Conservatory guitar majors in the audience, sat with his left foot suspended on a footrest, his instrument propped on his knee and nearly vertical. His left fingers jumped up and down the guitar’s neck while his right hand shimmered across the strings to produce a sound that was nothing short of orchestral.
“What the classical guitar actually is known for is the tone of the instrument just being so special,” Jara said. “Whereas a lot of steel strings or electric guitars will often be for accompaniment, just sort of back up music … polyphonic music on guitar is something we do a lot, which is several voices at once.”
The guitar is one of the few instruments that has a firm standing in the culture of classical music, yet remains a keystone of popular music. Professor of Classical Guitar Stephen Aron, who has been the faculty advisor for the OCGA since its inception in 1993, elaborated in an email to the Review.
“Many people attend classical guitar concerts [who] might not normally attend other classical concerts, even though the music may be every bit as sophisticated, complex, or opaque as one might find at a contemporary chamber music concert or symphonic program,” Aron wrote.
The primary work of the OCGA is to build on that accessibility, and to provide a voice and funding for a department that did not have the same level of institutional funding as others for a long time.
“The main thing we do is just concerts and masterclasses,” King said. “The concerts are obviously geared towards everyone. The masterclasses — I mean, anyone’s invited, of course, but the only people that play are the student members of the guitar studio.”
While the OCGA focuses exclusively on classical music — though not just guitar, as they will be bringing a flutist in as a guest judge for the James Stroud All-Ohio Classical Guitar Competition and Festival in the spring — many classical guitarists, including Jara, got their start playing popular music.
“I heard a mariachi band and I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. Play mariachi music,’” he said. “And then my teacher happened to give me classical, and it just sort of stuck … It’s a physical sensation, which I really attached myself to. I mean, I was playing metal music, I was playing country music, I was playing bluegrass, I was playing classical, and all this different stuff. And then at a certain point, when I was 15, my dad died, actually. And I decided just to play classical for a while to sort of try and live off of this as a musician as best I could. So, at 15, I got really serious about classical guitar.”
When he was 14, renowned guitarist Judicaël Perroy came to his hometown in Minnesota for a concert. “I was so annoying. I was writing him on Facebook like, ‘Can we meet for a lesson, is that okay?’” Eventually, Jara ended up at Perroy’s hotel at 8 a.m. on the day after the concert. “He’s like … brushing his teeth and putting in his contact lenses,” Jara said. “And he gave me a great lesson, which was actually three hours, and he wouldn’t even charge me a cent for it. He said, ‘Hey, if you ever want to come to France I’ll help you out, I’ll help you get the visa, I’ll help you get a place to stay,’ and he did.”
The day he turned 18, Jara moved to France, where he lived for six years with Perroy as his mentor. He attended the Conservatoire de Paris and began participating in competitions, after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree. He has earned prizes at competitions including the 2014 Boston Guitarfest, the 2015 Gargano, Italy competition, and the 2016 Tokyo International Competition. After winning the Guitar Foundation of America’s highest prize, he did what he had been desperately wanting to do: stop competing. Since then, he has recorded his first album, acquired an upcoming book publication deal, and is now in the midst of a 60-concert tour that will span the United States as well as venues in Canada, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, and possibly China.
“It’s really a nice life,” he said. “Playing concerts is so freeing, in the way that I can play what I want to play, and I don’t always have to play imposed music, I don’t have to think about what’s strategically best for a certain jury. I can just structure a concert in an artistic way, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. So I’m pretty happy with that.”
Jara’s emotion and artistry shone in even his first moments on stage. His eight-piece show at the Oberlin Conservatory began with a piece by 16th-century composer John Dowland, then jumped “about 200 years into the future,” and finally arrived at the 21st century compositions of Ohio native Jeremy Collins. Throughout the show, there was emphasis on classical guitar repertoire’s collaborative and interwoven nature — for example, Bach’s Concerto No. 1 in D Major, BWV 972 was an arrangement of Vivaldi’s work — and later, that arrangement was arranged for the guitar by Perroy, Jara’s mentor.
Such collaboration lies at the heart of the OCGA as well — it is made of people who are excited about what they love, love being excited about it, and endeavor to share it. As the OCGA members watched Jara’s performance, they turned to smile at one another, snapped their fingers, and bobbed their heads and shoulders along with tunes they knew well. It was pure, unadulterated musical excitement — and it will be repeated with performances later this year by Jorge Caballero, Benjamin Verdery, Matthew McAllister, Nigel North, the Cavatina Duo (Denis Azabagic and Eugenia Moliner), and James Piorkowski.
At the end of their interview, Dubey added, “We’re the best instrument. You should end the article with that.”
Jara laughed in agreement “And therefore, we’re the best.”
Excerpt from "Guitar Magazine":
Recent releases Tuesday: Albums from Xavier Jara, Schneiderman-Yamaya Duo, and Detlev Bork
JULY 11, 2017
Winner of the important Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) International Concert Artist Competition in 2016, Xavier Jara—the first American to win since Martha Masters in 2000—has made an intriguing and satisfying debut disc (which is part of his Grand Prize package) that nicely juxtaposes Renaissance and Baroque works by Dowland and Couperin, with a gaggle of modern composers, including Mario Castlenuovo-Tedesco, Sérgio Assad, and Dusan Bogdanovic. Castlenuovo-Tedesco’s Variations à travers le siècles (Variations across the centuries) provides a quite natural bridge between the old and the new. There are two quite different modern elegies here by composerrs new to me: The one by Alan Rawsthorne is somewhat dark and contemplative, while Jeremy D. Collins’ starts outpretty and lyrical, builds to a furious crescendo, drops back into another quiet passage which grows into an exultant and then pensive reverie for the departed. It’s altogether a superb piece.
Jara takes more chances than a lot of the players in Naxos’ Laureate Series on this Recital disc, but sounds utterly confident and at ease with his choices, down to his somewhat bold inclusion of Bogdanovic’s Sonata No. 3, with its abstract jabs and violent conclusion. It’s certainly easy to understand why Jara has fared so well in the world of competitions.
A Fancy, P5; A Fantasia, P71; A Fancy, P73 (all by Dowland); Les barricades mystérieuses (Couperin); Variations à travers le siècles (Castelnuovo-Tedesco); Elegy (Rawsthorne, edited and completed by Bream); Summer Garden, Suite XIX, Dreams (S. Assad); Elegy (Collins); Caprichos de Goya, XVIII, El Sueño de la razón produce monstruos (Castelnuovo-Tedesco); Mysterious Habits; Sonata No. 3 (both by Bogdanovic)
Raymond Bisha introduces the latest release in the Naxos Guitar Laureate series. The featured performer is Xavier Jara, winner of the 2016 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, adding to the artist’s ongoing string of successes. The acoustic guitar has an ancestry that can be traced back thousands of years; this recording presents music from the last five centuries, with a stylistic range that clearly affirms the instrument’s versatility.
Listen @ THE NAXOS BLOG
Posted By Guitar Foundation of America, Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA (June 6, 2017) - The Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) is pleased to announce that a concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall will be included as part of the 2017-2018 GFA International Concert Artist Competition Winner’s Tour. The 2016 Rose Augustine Grand Prize Winner, Xavier Jara, will begin his 50-city tour in the Fall of 2017, performing concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Brazil. Jara’s concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall will take place on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 8pm. This concert will be presented by the Guitar Foundation of America in conjunction with the New York City Classical Guitar Society. The GFA expects that the Carnegie Hall concert will remain a part of the prize package for the Rose Augustine Grand Prize winner for years to come. Martha Masters, Artistic Director of the GFA International Concert Artist Competition, says, “The GFA is thrilled that our winners will be featured in concert in one of the world’s most prestigious venues. The instrument has earned its place on the major international classical music scene with a consistent and impeccably high standard of excellence. Xavier is a fantastic ambassador for the instrument, and for the GFA.” John Olson, President of the New York City Classical Guitar Society, states, "The GFA International Concert Artist Competition is the world's preeminent classical guitar competition. We are excited to be working with the GFA to bring this year's winner, the remarkable Xavier Jara, to perform in New York." A native of Minnesota, Jara was a student of Alan Johnston at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis until 2011 when he moved to Paris, France to study with Judicael Perroy. Jara studied in Paris for six years with Perroy. During this time he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. He received 1st Prize in a number of international competitions including the Boston Guitarfest (2014), the Gargnano, Italy Competition (2015) and the Tokyo International Competition (2016). In 2016, Jara returned home to the United States to win the Rose Augustine Grand Prize in the GFA International Concert Artist Competition. The GFA International Concert Artist Competition is the preeminent classical guitar competition in the United States. Along with a 50-city tour, the competition’s Rose Augustine Grand Prize Winner receives $10,000 cash, a Naxos CD recording, a Mel Bay book publication, CD design by Contrastes Records, and string prizes from Augustine Strings, D’Addario, and Savarez. Contact: Connie Sheu, General Manager Guitar Foundation of America PO Box 2900 Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90275 firstname.lastname@example.org 877-570-1651 ###
Xavier Jara gana el XIX Concurso de Guitarra 'Ciudad de Coria'
Xavier Jara gana el XIX Concurso de Guitarra 'Ciudad de Coria'
MÉRIDA, 10 Ago. (EUROPA PRESS) - El estadounidense Xavier Jara, de Minneapolis, ha ganado este pasado sábado, día 8, el XIX Concurso de Guitarra 'Ciudad de Coria' y ha obtenido también el 'Premio del Público'. Así, el jurado ha proclamado como ganador Jara; al que le ha seguido en segundo lugar Antoine Morinière, de Francia; en tercer lugar Marko Topchii, de Ucrania; y la cuarta posición ha sido para Elena Fomenko, de Uzbekistán.
Xavier Jara gana el XIX Concurso de Guitarra 'Ciudad de Coria'
En nota de prensa, el Ayuntamiento de Coria ha señalado que el concurso ha sido "todo un éxito", tanto por la asistencia de público y organización como por la "gran" música de estos artistas que hizo disfrutar al público. De este modo, cada concursante dispuso de 25 minutos para "deleitar a los asistentes con su mejor música"; así, en primer lugar actuó el concursante Xavier Jara, de Estados Unidos, que interpretó a John Dowland (Dos fantasías), Domenico Scarlatti (Sonata K.53) y Dusan Bogdanovic (Sonata n°3). Después, el segundo concursante fue el francés Antoine Morinière, que tocaba Fantasía Dramática, de Napoléon Coste, y la Sonata de Alberto Ginastera, y la tercera actuación corrió a cago de la guitarrista Elena Fomenko, nacida en Uzbekistán, y lo hizo con Johann Sebastian Bach (Allemande de la suite BWV 1004) y Nicholas Maw (Música de la Memoria).
Cabe destacar que mientras el jurado deliberaba, el público asistente votaba en urna al guitarrista que más le había agradado para así poder elegir el 'Premio del Público', que lo ha obtenido el gitarrista estadounidense Xavier Jara.
Leer mas: http://www.europapress.es/extremadura/noticia-estadounidenses-xavier-jara-gana-xix-concurso-guitarra-ciudad-coria-2015-20150810170147.html
(c) 2015 Europa Press.
- terça, 06 maio 2014