Guitar Artists Williams and Etheridge Come to Center for the Arts

Posted: March 15, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The pairing of John Williams and John Etheridge has been called “a superbly poised mixture of influences, from West African dance rhythms to Django-esque swing [with] delicate elaborations on baroque themes,” by The Times of London, which also noted there was not “a dull crossover anthem in sight.”

John Williams
John Williams

Center for the Arts audiences will witness these two giants of the guitar in a collaborative concert featuring an eclectic musical mix ranging from classics like “God Bless the Child” and “La Ultima Cançion,” to selections from Mali and Senegal, on Sunday, April 15, at 7 p.m. An artistic discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin at 6:15 p.m. on the hall’s Grand Tier.

The broad selection of pieces on the program play to both men’s strengths: Etheridge provides a jazz undercurrent with soaring improvisations effortlessly swapping between acoustic and electric guitar, while an eclectic virtuosity producing intense, oboe-like notes emanates from Williams’s classical guitar. The program for this national tour includes a specially commissioned suite by Benjamin Verdery.

Etheridge enjoys a stellar reputation throughout the jazz world and beyond. His range is well illustrated by his years spent with the iconic Stephane Grappelli while simultaneously touring and recording with the legendary jazz-fusion group, The Soft Machine. In addition to this current partnering with John Williams, Etheridge has joined Yehudi Menuhin, Dizzy Gillespie, Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Nigel Kennedy, Pat Metheny and countless others.

John Etheridge
John Etheridge

Williams is widely acknowledged as the greatest living classical guitarist, having established his place in the genre’s top rank over the course of 30 years of recording and performing. Classic CD calls him “the world’s most accomplished all-around guitarist,” and The New York Times declares Williams is “arguably the finest guitarist before the public today.”

Williams has made more than 30 best-selling recordings of a broad range of music for classical guitar, either solo or in collaboration with artists such as Julian Bream, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Previn, Paco Pena, Inti Illimani and numerous others.

He has contributed to films, most notably the scores for “The Deer Hunter” and “A Fish Called Wanda.” Although known primarily as a classical player, Williams has explored many different musical traditions, from Latin American to African to jazz-fusion, even joining The Who’s Pete Townshend for an acoustic performance of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Tickets are $44, $36 and $22. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit tickets.com.

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