Every once in a while, artists who perform at Hope College will return to host another concert. However, up until Friday, no artist had performed at Hope four times. Paul Galbraith finished up the 2018-2019 Guitar Series on Friday when he played for students, faculty and community members in the Jack H. Miller Concert Hall. He has previously performed here in 2004, 2010 and 2014. So who is Galbraith, and what makes his music so special? Galbraith is internationally recognized as an innovator of classical guitar.
He has recorded works by famous classical composers, including Bach, Haydn and Brahms and has also recorded some of his own arrangements of various folk songs from around the world. In 1998, Galbraith’s two-disc album, titled “Complete Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Solo Instrumental Album, as well as reaching the Top Ten on Billboard’s classical music charts. However, it’s not just the excellent caliber of his music that makes Galbraith stand out but also the way he plays it. Galbraith does not play on an ordinary six-stringed guitar; the guitar he uses has eight strings: an extra high and an extra low string. The Brahms Guitar, which Galbraith helped to develop, is played in a unique fashion. It is supported by a metal endpin that rests on a wooden resonance box, similar to one that a cello player would use.
The design of the guitar, as well as the style which Galbraith plays it in are both considered to be groundbreaking developments in the area of classical guitar music. Galbraith developed the Brahms Guitar to help interpret challenging classical transcriptions, and the instrument has helped him to increase the range of the guitar and the music it can play to an unprecedented extent. The attendants of Galbraith’s concert last Friday were not disappointed in the slightest. The crowd was packed, and from the opening chord of the first Bach piece Galbraith played, the audience was enthralled by his talent. Following the moving performance, the audience members mingled in the lobby of the Jack H. Miller Center as they waited for the musicinduced chills to subside.
While Galbraith’s concert marked the end of Hope’s 2018-2019 Guitar Series, the Great Performance Series has one more show on March 30, where Hope will host Russian Renaissance, a Russian folk group that plays everything from tango to folk to jazz. Tickets for the performance are $23 for adults, $17 for seniors and Hope faculty/staff and $6 for children 18 and under. Hope students can watch the performance for free. Be sure to save the date in your calendar and to pick up your tickets either online, at the Ticket Office located in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center, or at the door before the show. We can’t wait to see you at the show!