There’s no place like Kingston
Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux is described as being “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists” by Gramophone, and he’s been recognized as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” by NPR. Celebrated now for his extensive concerto repertoire, Vieaux has loved music since he was young. He remembers being an avid listener of his parents’ record collection at age four, getting his first guitar at age five, beginning classical guitar lessons at age eight, and performing his first full-length recital at age 12. His passion has become mastery, and his immaculate technique is enriched by the palpable joy he exudes and shares with his audience while playing. For Vieaux, the latter is what excites him most.
“It’s fascinating to me, more than ever, how people choose to relax, escape, or enhance their lives through art in this sometimes difficult and chaotic world,” he says. “I’m honored to be a part of that solution.” He notes that this sense of fulfillment has heightened since the beginning of the pandemic – a time characterized by isolation and uncertainty. “Coming out of it has made me appreciate just how much light we regularly put into the world through music, teaching, interviews, radio, and recordings. It’s an exhausting-but-amazing job to have the privilege to perform.”
“It’s going to be a blast”
At the KCMF concert on August 2nd, Vieaux looks forward to playing two of his favorite pieces. His solo will be an arrangement of “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington – who Vieaux calls “one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.” He will also perform an original piece by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis titled “100 Greatest Dance Hits” and arranged for guitar and string quartet. “It’s a loving nod to the urban and popular musical sounds he heard in NYC in the early 80s,” Vieaux says. “It’s very percussive and has an incredible sense of rhythm and groove, and it’s quite a challenge to put together. I’ve played it with members of the quartet that [Artistic Director] Natalie Zhu has put together for this performance, and I know everyone in the group from other festivals, so it’s going to be a blast!”
Kingston has some of the best
Vieaux has brought his exuberant and soulful performances to some of the most renowned stages in the world, from New York’s Lincoln Center to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to South Korea’s Seoul Arts Center. But for Vieaux, there’s no place quite like Kingston. “Being able to work with some of the best musicians in the world on a regular basis never gets old, and Kingston Chamber Music Festival consistently has some of the very best,” he says. “This event has been one of my favorites to look forward to for years now, and it’s a thrill to be back.”
Read more about Jason here.
Photo credit: Asia Margo