This Saturday, the Pune Guitar Society (PGS) is presenting a concert of “Guitar & Piano music from Spain and Latin America”. It’s a unique collaboration of two instruments that don’t often appear together on the same stage. We spoke to Kuldeep Barve (founder member of the Pune Guitar Society) about the concert and this collaboration.
Tell us how you decided on this concert programme?
Tuhin, a concert pianist, teacher and a friend from Pune came up with this great idea to perform a concert of piano and guitar repertoire from Latin America, Spain and Cuba. Composers from these regions have written a lot of music for the guitar as well as for the piano. The guitar has been central to the music from these regions, both as a folk instrument as well as a classical instrument. All the composers included in this program, except Lecuona have written for the guitar. Many composers represented in this programme such as Albeniz, Granados, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla, Ponce, Ginastera, Rodrigo were steeped in European classical traditions and have written music for solo piano and solo guitar. Some of the music written originally for the piano by Albeniz and Granados, for example has become standard concert repertoire for the guitar with excellent transcriptions available. Composers such as Leo Brouwer have written extensively for solo guitar as well as for guitar and orchestra. We have limited the program to solo guitar and solo piano music with one exception of a guitar-violin duet.
How did the Pune Guitar Society start collaborating with pianists?
The Pune Guitar Society, although primarily focussed on classical guitar has been active in creating an overall culture for serious music making and appreciation. We are constantly looking for ways to enrich our understanding of western music. A small step in that direction is to collaborate with other western classical instrumentalists and get familiar with their repertoire. This creates many possibilities for musical exchange and collaborations. The Pune Guitar Society has regular performance meet ups and for the last meet up we invited piano players and guitarists to perform their repertoire. We got a very positive response from the piano community in Pune and we are well on our way to create more and more such events.
Do you see scope for further collaborations?
The classical guitar has been isolated for too long from the larger western classical world. Although we see far more openness to collaborations between the guitar and other instruments in Europe and the States, these attempts are still in the nascent stage in India and a lot can and needs to be done in that respect. There needs to be more breadth and more collaborations need to happen with other western concert instruments. When we say collaborations, we essentially mean either playing in a duet, trio or quartet etc. format. For this to happen, already composed music needs to arranged for such formations. This involves a lot of work and a lot needs to be done in this area. We are also looking at encouraging composers to write new music not only for solo guitar, but for guitar-piano, guitar-violin and other such ensemble formations. This seems to be the only way to open our ears and minds to a larger tonal and textural palette especially since here in India we do not have access to orchestras and larger ensembles.
I would like to add that collaborations need not be limited to ‘classical’ music and musicians. We would like to create opportunities to collaborate with jazz and other improvising musicians. We believe that a certain amount of spontaneity needs to come into the sphere of classical music making and working with improvising musicians might be a great way to pave the way ahead.
4 March 2017, 7pm onwards
Venue: Mazda Hall, Camp, Pune
Guitar: Kuldeep Barve, Kabir Dabholkar, Jacob Samuel, Jayant Sankrityayana
Violin: Sounak Sinha
Piano: Sachit Ajmani, Meghana Dharap, Sonam Lodhi, Nakul Jogdeo, Tuhin Rao, Rahel Shekhatkar