Gerardo Núñez & Carmen Cortés for IGF London Guitar Festival

Gerardo Nunez & Carmen Cortes Quintet

The tasty-looking London Guitar Festival is fast approaching in just under two weeks time, running over the weekend of 14th-16th May on the South Bank.  The excellent programme includes the great flamenco pairing of Gerardo Núñez and Carmen Cortés; the first UK visit for many years of the unsurpassable classical ensemble, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ); the multi-talented Amit Chatterjee; folk singer-songwriter Chris Wood; and notable classical players Andrea Vettoretti, Amanda Cook and Phillip Villa.

Guitarist Núñez and dancer Cortés have performed together for a number of years (not a great surprise, as they’re married!), and play the festival as part of their own quintet on Saturday 15th May, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.  Flamenco-World describes Núñez as composing ‘enormously rich and complex music, without loosing the strength of the flamenco reference, and he performs himself with the technical capacity of a real virtuoso. Some of his creations are lavishly beautiful.’  Cortés, meanwhile, is described as ‘moving at ease between the classical flamenco and the modern one. She has been the first bailaora to make a choreography of a “Granaina”, a flamenco “Palo” with a free rhythm.’

Tickets for the performance are priced from £18-25 (concessions available), and begins at 7.30pm. According to the South Bank website, ‘when Nuñez and Cortés perform together there is a unique dynamic and heightened level of communication that can only come form the closeness of husband and wife.’  The mind boggles …

There’s also an interview with the couple on Esflamenco from 2007.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet – probably the foremost guitar ensemble in the world – appear on the Sunday night in the same hall, playing the UK for the first time in a number of years, after extensive recording and touring just about everywhere else, so a great coup for the festival.

Their programme includes a Brazillian slant in the shape of music from Jobim, Villa-Lobos and Baden Powell, plus their famous arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen Suite.  Tickets are priced the same as the previous night’s flamenco.

The full weekend performance and workshop programme is online at the IGF and South Bank websites, and well worth checking out.

The festival is produced by the International Guitar Foundation (IGF) – an organisation ‘dedicated to the promotion, understanding and enjoyment of the guitar, its music and artists.’  The IGF runs festivals in London, Bath and the North East, alongside summer schools in Bath, Cheltenham, Gateshead and London.

Here’s a Gerardo Núñez Sevillana clip (on an ad-hoc visit to his patio) to keep you going …

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