Virtuoso Guitarists Performing At Macey Center

SOCORRO, N.M. November 18, 2014 – "Phenomensemble" – that's a word coined to describe the singular melding of six virtuoso guitarists from four countries performing under the umbrella of two separate ensembles, thus creating a unique six-by-six string, well, phenomensemble.


 The California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio performing together on stage at a recent concert.



 The Montreal Guitar Trio is Marc Morin, Sebastien Dufour and Glenn Levesque. 



 The California Guitar Trio is Nideyo Moriya, Bert Lams and Paul Richards. 


The musical magic unfolds at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21 at New Mexico Tech's Macey Center in a Performing Arts Series event. The concert coincides with the annual week-long Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

The six guitarists, who hail from four countries – Japan, Canada, Belgium and the United States – perform as the California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio; as in, West Coast meets the Saint Lawrence Seaway, with a whole lot of geography in between.

"These two trios actually have much in common, even though they come from different sides of the hemisphere," said Series Director Ronna Kalish. "For example, the California Guitar Trio's steel-stringed guitars musically meld with the Montreal Guitar Trio's nylon-stringed instruments, as the six musicians play off one another on original songs and new arrangements of progressive rock, world, jazz and classical music."

"In short," Kalish continued, "this is a concert you don't want to miss!"

So how do such musical collaborations originate? In this case, members of both guitar trios were doing what musicians have always done – jamming with other musicians, discovering in the process a rapport defined by instrumental skills and musical chemistry.
Inspired by that impromptu studio session in 2009, members of both trios released a live recording two years later, while securing presentation duties at select conferences, and sharing "co-billing" with headliners from the Iridium in New York City, to the Montreal Jazz Festival, to the Napa Valley Opera House, and many venues in between.

"Honestly, these guys are terrific," said Kalish. "Imagine six talented and seasoned musicians, with their combined passion for music, together on one stage makes for a memorable evening, and PAS is proud to be a part of it."

The California Guitar Trio has recorded 14 albums and performed nearly 1,500 gigs across its 23-year career. Bert Lams of Belgium, Hideyo Moriya of Japan, and Paul Richards of Utah represent the genres of rock, jazz, world music, surf music, and classical music in performances and recordings.

The trio's most recent album, "Masterworks," is a nod to the classical side of the house, featuring works by Bach, Beethoven, Shubert and Vivaldi; with musical support from Tony Levin (upright bass, cello) and Fareed Haque (classical guitar).

It was at a guitar craft course where the three guitarists met in 1987. They first toured together as part of an orchestra of acoustic players that served as exponents of the King Crimson founder's teachings, compositions, and performance approach.

In 1991, they founded the California Guitar Trio in Los Angeles, which initially gained notoriety as an opening group for a number of headliners. And check out this fact: The crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour used their pieces as wake-up music.

Recent years have found the California group working with the Montreal Guitar Trio, both independently and in the six-guitar format to be performed in Socorro. They play arrangements of each other's material, as well as innovative takes on rock standards.

For its part, the Montreal trio, hailed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as the "hottest" guitar ensemble in Canada, has established a reputation, earned over almost 20 years, for its virtuosity, creativity and stage presence which have been winning over audiences around the world.

The trio, comprised of guitarists Marc Morin, Sébastien Dufour and Glenn Lévesque, has given hundreds of concerts in some of the most prestigious venues across North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, including the BB King Blues Club in New York, the Rundetårnet in Copenhagen, and the legendary Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Throughout the years, the trio has collaborated and shared the stage with world-renowned ensembles and artists, but has found a singular chemistry with the California Guitar Trio. Fans recall an "unforgettable" concert when both trios performed a collection of rock classics from Queen, the Beatles, and a few themes from the "spaghetti westerns" of the 1970s.

Since the fall of 2010, the sextet has toured across Canada and the United States, performing in over 100 cities.

Sponsors for the Nov. 21 performance are the City of Socorro, Don and Rosie Tripp, Vertu Fine Art Gallery, EMRTC and Van H. Gilbert, PC.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $10 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier's Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech