Who are the top performers in the world today?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
redmcq
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Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by redmcq » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:32 am

Who are the top performers of the classical guitar in the world today ? Please give me some names and of any young upcoming great guitarists.
Thanks.
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Gary Macleod
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Gary Macleod » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:44 am

In the U.K. I would say Sean Shibe is making waves.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:15 am

There are so many to choose from. They have grown exponentially since the 1960s when there were less than 10 world class players (Segovia, Bream, Williams, Diaz - can anybody name more???)

My own favourites are Isabella Selder for tone quality and touch, Ana Vidovic for seamless technical fluency and Marcin Dylla for interpretation.

There are so many waiting in the wings...but an uninterested general public.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:25 am

Gary Macleod wrote:In the U.K. I would say Sean Shibe is making waves.
I second that nomination.

redmcq
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by redmcq » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:50 pm

Gary Macleod wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:44 am
In the U.K. I would say Sean Shibe is making waves.
Thankyou! I'll check him out. Any other guitarists of today that you rate ?
.

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Peter Lovett
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Peter Lovett » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:52 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:15 am
There are so many to choose from. They have grown exponentially since the 1960s when there were less than 10 world class players (Segovia, Bream, Williams, Diaz - can anybody name more???)

My own favourites are Isabella Selder for tone quality and touch, Ana Vidovic for seamless technical fluency and Marcin Dylla for interpretation.

There are so many waiting in the wings...but an uninterested general public.
Yepes, Lagoya, Romeros', Presti just to name a few more for the 1960s'.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:40 pm

Peter Lovett wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:52 pm
Adrian Allan wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:15 am
There are so many to choose from. They have grown exponentially since the 1960s when there were less than 10 world class players (Segovia, Bream, Williams, Diaz - can anybody name more???)

My own favourites are Isabella Selder for tone quality and touch, Ana Vidovic for seamless technical fluency and Marcin Dylla for interpretation.

There are so many waiting in the wings...but an uninterested general public.
Yepes, Lagoya, Romeros', Presti just to name a few more for the 1960s'.
Oh yes, sorry - forgot all about them. Still probably less than 10 that you could call "world class". Now there are many thousands, which would be great if only the rest of the world was watching, and there were more opportunities outside of guitar festivals and Youtube.
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Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:00 pm

"Oh yes, sorry - forgot all about them. Still probably less than 10 that you could call "world class". Now there are many thousands,"

I wonder if there weren't always more highly accomplished players than anyone knew about, but now youtube makes us aware of the existence of their numbers.

I'm not quite sure how to parse "many thousands of world class players". many thousands on a par with Bream, etc.?
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Rasputin
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Rasputin » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:03 pm

My impression is that standards have risen. Recently someone posted a link to a Jason Vieaux video in the 'our favourite websites' section, and at one point JV was saying that a particular recording that came out in the 60s or 70s was really pushing the boundaries of technique, but that his students can now get through the same piece without too much trouble.

Even so, many thousands of world class players sounds like an overstatement to me, I have to say. It might even be a contradiction in terms. It all depends on your criteria though...

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm

It is maybe an exaggeration, I'm not completely sure, though. I perhaps should have used the term "professional standard" instead of "world class", though - as the latter term is too contentious...

In the 1960s, I don't think that all that many players could produce a professional standard recital of an hour's length or more, playing challenging pieces in the repertoire, such as a complete Bach Lute Suite, plus a piece by Rodrigo, a few lighter pieces (such as Catalan folksongs) and play to a level that we have become accustomed to - ie. not necessarily up there with JW, but a decent overall standard, minimal slips, a sense of interpretation that reflects the variety of music on offer and generally clean and professional playing.

The players that could do that in the 1960s were (as has been mentioned), Segovia, Bream, Williams, the Romeros, Diaz, Ida Presti, Lagoya, Yepes and perhaps a very few others that I have missed.

I read and have collected a number of BMG magazines from the 1960s. The same names predominate, and when a newcomer gives a recital somewhere,the results are not always satisfactory, if we are to judge the opinion of John Duarte - ie. some of the other players in London suffered from breakdowns in performance or major issues of interpretation or accuracy. Some people would question the validity of these reviews, as John Duarte has a reputation for being opinionated and sometimes biased in favour of his friends.

Now let's look at 2017. When I search for a challenging piece like the BWV 1006a, there are literally dozens of versions on offer, most of which are of the general standard that I mention above - ie. maybe not Bream or Williams, but clean, accurate and fully professional. Same goes for other pieces such as the Chaconne, and all the other pieces that were signs of a great player in the 1960s. I am extrapolating from Youtube of course, but if I can see perhaps 50 versions of 1006a that are professional, then there might be five times the number of players who can also play it to that level, but have never put it on Youtube. Same with any other traditionally challenging piece you can think of. I might be exaggerating by saying that there are 1,000 people who can give a thoroughly professional recital on classical guitar in the world in 2017, but who knows; it might be a lot more.

Incidentally, the fact that there were very few great players in the UK in the 1970s and a general interest in the classical guitar due to Bream, Williams and Segovia being featured on the TV, a few players (who I will not name, but let's say that they featured quite prominently in the Classical Guitar magazine as it became known), managed to make performance careers on the back of this popularity of the guitar. Some of those players had a valiant attempt at being performers, but many would get nowhere in today's climate of young virtuosi.
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:06 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm
<snip>
Now let's look at 2017. When I search for a challenging piece like the BWV 1006a, there are literally dozens of versions on offer, most of which are of the general standard that I mention above - ie. maybe not Bream or Williams, but clean, accurate and fully professional. Same goes for other pieces such as the Chaconne, and all the other pieces that were signs of a great player in the 1960s. <snip> Same with any other traditionally challenging piece you can think of. I might be exaggerating by saying that there are 1,000 people who can give a thoroughly professional recital on classical guitar in the world in 2017, but who knows; it might be a lot more.<snip>
Agreed. Musicianship has improved and technique has improved enormously. Just a single example, Tamaki Shibuya is, as far as I know, completely unknown outside of Hokkaido. Listen to her musicianship and clean, crisp playing. I have heard Sor's Op 29, #2 played by numerous different players. I think it is safe to say this is the definitive version.

Youtube

She is a major world-class guitarist. How many more are there? There are plenty of guitarists that have either mediocre technique or mediocre musicianship. But there are also plenty out there who have superb technique, and some of those are outstanding musicians. And new guitarists show up on the scene quite regularly.
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Granary Guitars
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Granary Guitars » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:17 pm

redmcq wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:50 pm
Gary Macleod wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:44 am
In the U.K. I would say Sean Shibe is making waves.
Thankyou! I'll check him out. Any other guitarists of today that you rate ?
Shibe's very good, but he's not Devine.

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muirtan
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by muirtan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:05 pm

I'd add James Boyd, he works with singers as well as solo work.

The trouble with the OP is it's so subjective. There are a few players who have been mentioned who I don't rate at all. I have 3 measurers I judge professionals by.

The highest if I hear them on say a CD then I have to stop and listen, I have no choice I just have to.
Middle level OK, if they're on CD or radio I can drop in and out of listening, some parts are quite nice but I could still carry on doing something else.
Lowest level I just have to turn the CD/ radio off their playing just isn't for me.

I'm sure quite a few of you will disagree with me but for me the musician has to have something to say and that has to be communcated to me. All art should be about communication.

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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Rasputin » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:35 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm
When I search for a challenging piece like the BWV 1006a, there are literally dozens of versions on offer, most of which are of the general standard that I mention above - ie. maybe not Bream or Williams, but clean, accurate and fully professional. Same goes for other pieces such as the Chaconne, and all the other pieces that were signs of a great player in the 1960s.
Fair enough - that's not been my experience, I have to say. For example, I like the variations on themes from La Traviata by Arcas / Tarrega, but I only found 3 competent versions on YT - two of which I liked (David Russell and Kyuhee Park) and one of which I didn't happen to like but would certainly acknowledge as being of a professional standard (Gohar Vardanyan). I would not call the others I found competent (maybe I should say performance-ready) - Tatyana Ryzhkova's being the example that springs to mind. That is not to say that I can play it like DR, obviously...
Incidentally, the fact that there were very few great players in the UK in the 1970s and a general interest in the classical guitar due to Bream, Williams and Segovia being featured on the TV, a few players (who I will not name, but let's say that they featured quite prominently in the Classical Guitar magazine as it became known), managed to make performance careers on the back of this popularity of the guitar. Some of those players had a valiant attempt at being performers, but many would get nowhere in today's climate of young virtuosi.
I'm always sceptical about this argument because it isn't comparing apples with apples. Bream did not have very good tuition in guitar technique but was/is a natural musician and had good tuition in musicianship. His counterpart today would have access to excellent tuition in both areas and would end up with much better and more consistent technique. Today's Bream would compete just fine with the virtuosi of today, and would blow yesterday's Bream out of the water (ahem), technique wise. The same may well be true of yesterday's not-quite-Breams.

I have to disagree with Yisrael when he says that musicianship has improved. To me this is like saying that people of today are funnier or more intelligent or more articulate than their parents or grandparents.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Who are the top performers in the world today?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:01 pm

There is a point where musicianship and technique cross over, or share the same territory.

ie. players below a certain level may be too busy trying to get the notes in the right place to pay too much attention to interpretation.

I would also agree that due to the massive rise in technique, there are many, many young players who seem to play it very safe for competitions and recitals but ultimately do not have either the maturity or charisma to win over an audience, sometimes even an audience of guitar enthusiasts.I think that situation is inevitable. However, they are still professionally competent, even if it seems like they are playing in a safe and rather contrived manner. Compare that with the 1960s, where probably fewer than 20 people worldwide were professionally competent to give a classical guitar recital that could stand comparison with a professional recital on long-established instruments like the violin or the piano.
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