Classical guitar is the star at FOMAG fall concert
Steve Procter

Classical guitar is the star at FOMAG fall concert

WEST BRATTLEBORO — As a musical treat for local residents and foliage visitors alike, Friends of Music at Guilford is presenting “A Celebration of the Classical Guitar” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, at All Souls UU Church, 29 South St.

Featured performers include David William Ross and the Procter/Hale duo of Steve Procter, guitar, and Alison Hale, flute.

Vocalist Jessica Gelter introduced FOMAG to Keene-based guitarist Ross in February 2018, when he was a member of the instrumental trio for her performance of David Lang's Death Speaks, the centerpiece of FOMAG's musicale The Last Dance.

Soon after, Ross queried whether FOMAG would host a solo guitar concert connected with his next recording project. This expanded celebration of the guitar evolved from that proposal.

Ross has performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Trained in both classical and jazz, he studied at Keene State, Peabody Conservatory, and the Thornton School of USC, including with noted guitarists José Lezcano, Julian Gray, and Scott Tennant.

He currently teaches at Fitchburg State University, Keene State College, the Vermont Jazz Center, Elm City Music, and the Concord Community Music School.

An advocate of new music and genre stretching, he enjoys composing “organic” and piece-specific music for dance and other performance arts, and he has played, produced, and recorded with classical, jazz, and rock groups.

Ross's repertoire for this concert includes selections by Argentine composer and bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla, who incorporated elements from jazz and classical music into his “nuevo tango."

He will also play selections by Italian guitarist and composer Carlo Domeniconi, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, and Cuban composer, conductor, and classical guitarist Leo Brouwer.

Steve Procter has been connected with a wide array of ensembles and musicians for the past 40 years.

After graduating from Ithaca College with a master's in classical guitar performance, he toured the Far East with a classical guitar orchestra, was lutenist in two early music ensembles, played “faux-oud” in a Turkish music ensemble, performed Brazilian music with Cafe Paradiso, and participated in four recording projects with violinist Mary Lea.

The one constant has been his duo partnership with flutist Alison Hale.

Over more than three decades, the duo has explored the guitar as continuo in baroque repertoire, performed parlor and concert repertoire by Classical period guitarist/composers, and played 20th century and contemporary works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Piazzolla, and others.

A repertoire they return to repeatedly is the rich tradition of Brazilian choro music.

“Strong formal structure, spicy harmonies, rhythmic complexity, and contrasting moods all have a strong gravitational pull for me,” Procter said in a news release. “Choro has all those in abundance.”

Since flute is a staple of the traditional choro ensemble, Procter said “the writing is idiomatic for Alison's instrument. The repertoire embodies the conjunction of disparate ideas and influences that gives rise to creation of something new and wonderful.”

Hale earned her M.M. and D.M.A. in flute from the Manhattan School of Music after graduating from Mount Holyoke College, and was a winner of the 1981 Artists International Competition. She performed extensively in New York as well as in Europe, South America, and elsewhere in the U.S.

In addition to her duo work with Procter, she is currently a member of the Portland (Maine) Symphony, Portland Opera Repertory Theatre, and Vermont Virtuosi Flute Ensemble, and teaches at Mount Holyoke and Amherst Colleges.