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NESCGS First Concert Saturday June 29th 2013

A view from the co-pilots seat.

Today I had the delightful honour of conducting the guitar orchestra in their first public performance. It was a very pleasant surprise to be asked at short notice to do this but tinged with a little sadness as the captain of the proceedings should have been Conall McKay. Conall had been rehearsing the group for many a month and it would of course have been the natural outcome for him to hear the fruits of his labours - unfortunately his wife had taken ill and Conall had no choice but to hand over the baton on the day of the concert.

Before the orchestra performed we were treated to the members of the society in performance, and if I may, I'd like to write a few words describing the performance.

Peter Stock (society chairman) opened proceedings with a short and amusing welcome to a good sized audience for a summer's afternoon! He then joined Les Stewart, John Harle and Jim Campbell to make up the society's quartet Capo Demented who performed Four Dances by the late Renaissance composer, organist, and music theorist Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). The ensemble created a full and warm sound filing the hall with music that masks its complexity by its lightness of sound. The four eased their way to the final movement displaying their enjoyment and familiarity in playing together; an impressive opening to the afternoon.

John Harle remained on the platform to introduce the first of the solo works to be heard today. La Lola a sad and traditional Spanish song arranged by Eythor Thorlaksson was graceful and lyrically delivered with a sensitive use of rubato and phrasing; John sharing with us the colourful tones of his beloved Christopher Dean guitar.

Peter Stock returned to perform a duo with Jackie Lawrie. Their choice was one of Ferdinando Carulli's Neapolitan chamber pieces; this Allegretto had both performers securing the classical restraint of this work whilst being aware not to be too restrictive - pleasing tonality, graceful rhythm and a hint at the romantic era yet to dawn.

Jackie remained in place and enchanted us with a beautiful delivery of Irina Kircher's Twilight - rich tone and ease of phasing in abundance.

Gary Campbell was next to take to the stage with a number of works ranging in style from Spanish to Elizabethan, all played with confidence, musicality and a notable degree of style. The highlight of his performance was Waltzing Matilda. Here Gary took time to let the well know melody hang in the air but all the while adding his personality to the piece - never over stated but always engaging.

The well established duo Cantilena by Andrew Shiels was performed by Alison Hamel and Bob Taylor. The couple successfully gave the work its song like character with pleasing phrases displaying throughout a well judged balance between melody and accompaniment.

The Capo Demented quartet performed again with the baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann's Concerto in D major. This challenging work originally for four violins was presented with the same flare as their opening Praetorius dances.

Final to close the solo and small ensemble part of the programme Gary Campbell and I performed six works by the German guitarist/composer Michael Langer. These short pieces were all in contemporary in style, blues, pop, ragtime and west coast American. Gary played these duos with complete assurance whilst still having the time to send me commands to behave myself and stop getting carried away. Great fun!

The chamber group, under my baton, but brimming with Conall's rehearsal directions, got off to a pleasing start with a fine arrangement of Let it Be follow by another Lennon and McCartney classic - Lady Madonna. The group played with a controlled unity and balance of voicing before surging into a uptempo drive deftly aided by Jim Campbell's strident bass - played with a special five pence piece (you had to be there!). Three Chorales by Johann Sebastian Bach provided the baroque section of the programme and the ensemble performed these demanding musical challenges with great style.

Excellent programming on Conall's part as the mood for the audience was now set for most effective work of the day, Eileans a Cheo (Island of Mist) written by our absent conductor. Conall's work shifts through several episodes describing the island whilst a strong Celtic flavour in the harmonies acts as the core of the piece. The opening clarsach effect between the different guitar sections supports a simple but enchanting theme which builds into a strong melody - full of yearning and longing. As the work expands the sudden break in tempo leading us into five beats per bar drives the work on - suggestive of bleak surroundings and rough terrain. This momentum gives way to that can only be described as melancholic - a beautiful theme gently and moodily taken along by effective use of ostinato; the harmony crafted to create tension that is not resolved until the final chord. A most rewarding work for any ensemble to undertake.

When I enquired if there would be another concert in the future I was told - 'that will be a collective decision' - with a group as like minded, passionate and as together as this, it would be a great shame not to do so!

Peter Stewart


Note of Appreciation

I would like to congratulate the members of the NESCGS on the occasion of their
first public concert on Saturday 29th June 2013 at Queens Cross Church. Despite not
being able to attend the concert (for family reasons) I have been reliably informed
that it was a great success and a credit to all. I would like to especially thank the wellknow
and respected guitarist, composer and teacher Peter Stewart for his
remarkably generous gesture in stepping in to the role of conductor at such short
notice and at considerable inconvenience to himself. While I was extremely
disappointed to have missed our first performance (and the first public performance
of my piece, Eilean a Cheo) I was greatly relieved and reassured when Peter agreed
to conduct at this concert. He effectively saved the day for the orchestra.
I enjoyed the challenge of directing the guitar orchestra at rehearsals and I hope
members feel they benefited from the experience of ensemble playing. I do believe
that there has been an improvement in general musicianship all round.
As a member and musical director I am proud of my association with the society and
I particularly admire the enthusiasm and hard work of members leading up to the
concert. I hope our society & orchestra continue to grow and contribute to musical
life of the North East of Scotland. A big thank you too to the committee for arranging
the event, hire of the hall etc.
Conall McKay
Musical Director

Gary Ryan NESCGS concert and workshop

15th/16th June 2012

On Friday 15th June, the British classical guitarist
and composer, Gary Ryan performed at Holburn
West church. It was a breathtaking and diversegary Ryan
concert featuring some of Gary Ryan's original
compositions which explored the incredible variety
of sounds the Guitar can create. For me, the
highlight of his performance was when he played
his composition 'Junglescape' which set my mind
alive with the sounds of jungle animals.
The concert was followed the next day by a fun workshop at Kemnay
Village Hall where we learnt many warm-up exercises and then had
the opportunity to perform to Gary. Playing to him was such a
privilege. Gary helped me to play more expressively by getting me
to visualize images or create ideas as I played. It was inspirational
and an experience I will never forget.

Review by Sara Salloum (classical guitar student at ACMS)


Matt McAllister Fri 17th June 2011

matt sitting

Matt McAllister's visit was a great success. A superb concert, followed by a cleverly managed
workshop that left me with points to ponder concerning my playing; and a feeling of achievment
in the performance of our ensemble work.

Matt's concert took us from the Hebrides to South America, capturing the diverse atmospherics
of these regions through thoughtful, and always very musical playing.

Maxwell Davies' "Farewell to Stromness" was carefully, tenderly, and hauntingly atmospheric,
as was Neil Gow's "Lament", very movingly performed with a clarity and beauty of tone that was
quite captivating. Barrios Mangore's "Julia Florida" took us across the Atlantic evoking latin
emotions. From Bach to Brower, ancient Scottish lute pieces to Weiss, all performed with
superb control.

This was, for me, a very successful concert performed by a fine player who obviously
understands his music in considerable depth. By his standards, he might have been least
pleased with the Lauro, but he still left me very content.

Matt conducted the workshop with a patient, quiet competence and efficiency, that showed an intelligent combination of experience and careful preparation. We tackled tasks within our capabilities, and so produced, for me, a satisfyingly musical result in our work.

Thank you Matt. Haste ye back! John Harle (Nescgs member)

Matt McAllister performed for our Spring Concert and Workshop this year. Matt, the latest in an impressive line of performers including Neil Smith, Pavel Steidl, Aquarelle Guitar Quartet and Allan Neave, did not let us down, his concert was sublime and the acoustics of the room perfectly showed off the beautiful tone Matt produces from his guitar. The programme was very interesting and informative and reflected Matts Scottish roots but then was followed by and compared to Bach and other repertiore of the period we were more familiar with, giving the audience food for thought as well as melody and rhythm. The following day Matt gave us some insight into how he has got to such a level of musicality, dexterity and tone in his playing. Matt generously passed on some of this knowledge and musicality as he conducted us through some interesting guitar "warm up" and development exercises and a couple of ensemble pieces that engrossed and pleased everyone involved. Many thanks Matt. Rob Ward (NESCGS member)


Wednesday May 25th 2011 AGM concert by Sean Shibe.

"The mark of a really special performer, is his ability to draw in the audience right into his work.

Sean achieved this for me, for the whole of his performance. I was often reminded of Pavel Steidl,
who I regard as the greatest guitarist I know. It is a first time this has happened for me.

The performance of the encore, Asturias, was the most musical I have ever heard, with wonderful shades of tone, dynamic and shaping. A very special musical instinct expressed through virtuosic technical skill.

Sean is a truly gifted musician, and we who love the guitar are lucky that he has chosen our
instrument. As Peter Stock said, some day we will look back on the night and remember it
as having been a privilege so early to witness a talent which must surely grow to world class stature."

a review by
John Harle "NESCGS" member, Photo Courtesy of Conall McKay

Gordon Ferries Early guitar - Concert 22nd April and Workshop 23rd April

Gordon performed a concert for Inverurie Music concert on Friday, 22nd April at the Kemnay Church Centre.
As part of our close cooperation with Inverurie Music,Gordon gave an all day Classical Guitar Workshop on Saturday April 23. The venue was also Kemnay Church Centre. Gordon gave a wonderful and informative workshop for us, many thanks for all the helpful advice and comprehensive knowledge imparted.

Ben Kearsley – NESCGS Autumn Concert – Nov 10, 2010

Venue: Queens Cross Church 7.30 for 8.00 start

It was a delight to welcome Ben Kearsley to play for the North East Scotland Classical Guitar Society.  Several members had seen and heard Ben over the last four years in various venues. There was a collective agreement that Ben has developed into a fine, musical guitarist with a lovely touch and sensitive ear to bring out the nuances in the music.

Ben's programme was a solid and generous outing of 19 th & 20 th Century guitar music.  The opening Asturias won many fans in the audience straight away.  By the time we got to the final Albeniz piece, Sevilla, we had been on a tour of European and Latin American music.

The second half was an equally varied and exciting excursion through a variety of waltzes, milongas, tangos, etc all played with flare.  The concert seemed to shoot by with every piece a crowd pleaser.  Not all of Ben's pieces were supra grade 8 (but most were).  This is an extra treat for the society as it is always good to hear pieces that the members have attempted being played well and musically.

Ben was very generous with his time after the concert mixing with the audience.  Ben has been a journeyman over the last few years and his hard work and dedication is paying off.  We look forward to welcoming Ben back to the society in the very near future.

Peter Stock ( NESCGS Chairman)



Classical Guitar Retreat... 8th - 13th July

The Cathedral of the Isles, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

This year the CGR presented performances from Grammy Award Winner David Russell , Frevo Quartet , Matthew McAllister ,James Akers, Allan Neave and Peter Stewart.

Myself and other members of the society were privileged enough to attend this fantastic event, the concerts were without exception sublime. The Cathederal in which the concerts were conducted is by far the most beautiful acoustic and visual setting for a Classical guitar concert I have ever had the good fortune to attend.

There were too many wonderful concerts and moments for me to list but the highlight for me personally, was the rare Scottish appearance by David Russell whom I had never seen perform before, his performance was just stunning and we were delighted with his unprogrammed encores which included some of my personal favourite pieces and some of the most beautiful guitar playing I think I have ever heard in a live concert.

The workshops and masterclasses were incredibly informative and entertaining and again of a standard that I have rarely seen matched. I would like on behalf of my companions and I to thank Matthew and all the teachers, performers and Cathederal staff for making it such a wonderful time for us all....I can't wait to do it all again next Year..

Rob Ward NESCGS Webmaster

for more information on CGR events please visit their website

ALLAN NEAVE Concert and workshop June 18th/19th 2010

Kemnay Church Centre was the venue for a superb concert and well attended workshop which followed the morning after. NESCGS would like to thank Allan for a wonderful programme and a instructive and most enjoyable workshop. Reviews and photos to follow.

NESCGS AGM.. Concert May 26th 2010


The RSAMD student Sasha Poya Savaloni performed for us at our AGM meeting, Sasha was the winner of a student competitition at the RSAMD earlier this year, part of the prize being a chance to play for our society AGM and as in the past, Sasha played a very fine set and impressed all the members with his beautiful tone and musical interpretations of some very demanding pieces.Well done Sasha we will be keeping an eye on your progress at Glasgow and hopefully will see you play again for us in the future.


Society Christmas Dinner 9th December 2009

members and invited guests were this year pleased to have two fine students from the RSAMD ....IAIN COLEMAN & ALASDAIR INGLIS who performed for us during the evening. Photos and comments to follow soon..

Ian Watt and Sean Shibe...

Saturday Nov 21 2009

NESCGS were proud to be able to present these two spectacularily good young guitarists in concert in the beautiful Queens Cross Church Santuary. Ian and Sean both played brilliantly to a very appreciative audience who despite the awful weather outside had turned out in force, Playing both solo and together they enthralled and moved the entire audience with a thrilling and mature programme. NESCGS will eagerly look forward to their return....that is if we can still lure them to return as they are both huge stars in the making... Rob Ward (NESCGS webmaster)

More in depth review to follow...

Aquarelle Guitar Quartet – Friday, June 26 th , 2009

It was a real treat to welcome the Aquarelle to play at the North East Scotland Classical Guitar Society (NESCGS) 4 th Annual Spring Concert & Workshop, (even if we had slightly drifted into summer). Selecting an artist for our major event of the year tries to balance the needs for a stimulating concert that appeals to the public and being talented and inspirational tutors for hands-on players. Aquarelle met the bill four fold.

Several society members had seen Aquarelle a few years ago at WoodEnd Barn in Banchory and the seeds were laid then that we would have them return to North East Scotland as soon as possible. Between the booking and the concert, we are pleased for the quartet to receive 5 stars from the BBC Music Magazine for their current CD, Spirit of Brazil. The art of quartet playing is a very unique talent, reflected in the fact that there are very few guitar quartets on the scene so this recognition is very welcome.

The music spanned from romantic through to present day composers and compositions. Indeed, most of the composers are still alive, which is a rare statement for an ostensibly ‘classical' concert. Many of the works were arrangements by members of the quartet which implicitly reflecting their individual characters and interests.

All pieces were played with poise, precision and musicality and it was a joy to listen. The real appeal of this quartet is the amazing sounds and rhythms that can be and are generated by the 4 players. The highlight for me was ‘A Furiosa' composed by the Brazilian Paulo Bellinati. As well as being based on the Brazilian maxixe dance style (I would have said a calypso feel), there were some wonderful percussive motifs. Second favourite would be Palha ç o (‘The Clown') by Egberto Gismonti which was arranged by James Jervis in the group and which had some quirky discordant notes reflecting the title.

The following day, a workshop of society members and friends of the society was treated to a very enjoyable overdose of Aquarelle with a range of technical, ensemble and solo coaching from the quartet members. They were able to relate skilfully and patiently to all levels of players.

All in all, 4 nicer guys you couldn't hope to meet and excellent ambassadors for our chosen instrument. They departed Aberdeen as firm friends and they will be brought back soon.

Peter Stock

Chairman, NESCGS


Duncan Gardiner

It was a pleasure to welcome Duncan Gardiner from Australia to the 1st concert of the Society's 2008/9 season. This was an intentionally informal event which took advantage of Duncan's visit to Scotland where he played some ½ dozen gigs in total.

Duncan played a delightful selection of modern pieces of either his own compositions or by is friends and fellow countrymen. His concert had a theme of Dreams and the pieces chosen fitted well into that, evoking modern harmonies and rhythms.

Duncan developed an excellent rapport with his audience and gave interesting insights into his pieces. He mingled easily with the audience after the concert and his natural (if not national) friendliness shone through. He played in a clear and crisp manner and produced a lovely tone from his Australian guitar, to the enjoyment of all. Duncan is an excellent ambassador for the classical guitar. We look forward to welcoming Duncan back to NESCGS on his next visit.

Sofia Pyrounaki


This year we were treated to two fine concerts by the fabulous Greek guitarist Sofia Pyrounaki firstly our 2008 Christmas dinner and then again as the winner of the NESCGS Competition at the RSAMD earlier in the year.

Sofia Pyrounaki was born in Athens and initially studied guitar at the Municipal Conservatory of Glyfada with Irene Konsta. Continued study at the RSAMD led to her graduation in 2008 where she also obtained the first prize medal for distinguished performance.

Her powerful playing and gentle charm had all in the society completely under her spell. We will be keeping an eye on young Sofia and hope she remembers us when she reaches the dizzy heights we expect of her. 

Sofia presently studies with Allan Neave at the RSAMD on the postgraduate course as a recipient of the Greek Government's, State Scholarship for International Studies. 

We all look forward to the next time we get to hear her play.





The Big Guitar Weekend.. 11th - 13th July at Dundee "Caird Hall Complex"

A whole weekend of Workshops and Concerts - Artistic director (and NESCGS Patron) Allan Neave, featuring the Katona Twins, Pavel Steidl, Peter Stewart, Andrzej Morky and Jazz legend Martin Taylor plus a young Artists platform....

Members who attended are still to follow....

Many thanks to Allan Neave and all the tutors and performers plus all the many volunteers for making it a wonderful experience for every attendee.

Pavel Steidl Concert June 6th and Masterclass/Workshop 7th June with Pavel Steidl and Allan Neave.

Pavel Steidl concert review:-

Genius. A funny word, often misused, often offered in the immediate excitement of a good performance or recording. It can also be subjective and encompassing of a whole manner of factors combining to create a complete and complex whole. I am a little apprehensive about using this word but I am sorely tempted.

Pavel Steidl captivated everyone in the Queen's Cross Church on Friday evening. His programme was varied, and the music was played with both a replica “Legnani Model” guitar and one with a modern design. Pavel's arrangement of a suite of music composed by various Bohemian Aristocrats served to illustrate the flawless technique of the performer. The period guitar got its chance to shine later in the first half during the more flamboyant performance of some of Paganini's Sonates and Ghiribizzi's. The clarity of the guitar was exceptional and if this early design guitar has a limited dynamic range then it was countered by the personality and projection of the performer. His face while performing is generally very expressive and during one of the sonates he played on this fact and animated himself to such a degree that a very respectful audience couldn't help but to laugh out loud. This had the effect of bringing the audience and performer together, in on the same joke if you like. This also served to further endear this extraordinary showman to an already impressed audience.

The second half was filled with modern music by Carlo Domeniconi, Jana Obrovska and Pavel himself, and this time the modern guitar got to shine. Domeniconi's Hendrix Hommage was remarkable in the sense that every reference to Hendrix's music and every technical reproduction of his sound was perfectly executed. I clearly heard distortion at one point. The other highlight for me was Pavel's own Hommage a Jana Obrovska. This outstanding composition was clearly respectful to the dedicatee whose piece we had just heard and was an absolute delight. A perfectly crafted balance of rich techniques and percussive devices combined with a solid structure and melodic balance. The haunting use of harmonic throat chanting over an arppeggiated accompaniment in one motif had me entranced. This was a masterclass in performance. Pavel seems to have it all. He is a masterful performer and is in possession of a technical ability and range that is second to none. As if that wasn't enough, his personality positively shines in both the music and the visual experience of his performance. It is very hard not to warm to such a charismatic performer and I think everyone left this lovely venue uplifted and inspired, I certainly did.

I can't help myself, I have to use that word… The man's a Genius.

reviewed by Andrew Bell nescgs member.

Photos coutesy of Les Stewart and Conall McKay

The Following day a wonderful workshop and masterclass took place and Pavel once again generously shared his brilliance, enthusiasm and expert knowledge with a lucky band of attendees, This was followed by a thoroughly enthralling ensemble session by our Patron Allan Neave who after a demonstration of various warm-up techniques, enlightened and conducted the group to play our own Conall McKays beautiful celtic ensemble piece 'Eilean a Cheo' much to the delight of the group.

Many thanks to all involved for making the day so special:- Pavel, Allan, Conall and especially Val Campbell who supplied us all with Tea, juice, coffee and gastronomic delights between the sessions.


Tuesday 27th May 7.00pm AGM Laura Husbands and Adele Neilson

As part of our society's development, we have forged links with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama (RSAMD) through our patron Allan Neave. We have introduced an opportunity for a student from the RSAMD to perform at our Annual General Meeting in the spring of every year. The AGM will occur in Aberdeen (Queens Cross Church), the award covers all travelling and accommodation expenses plus a monetary remuneration.

The successful students were selected in a competition held at the RSAMD on December 13th , 2007 and judged by the RSAMD's 'International chair', Pavel Steidl. This year, a joint prize was awarded to Laura Husbands and Adele Neilson. The society were delighted to have 'two' winners perform at the AGM.



Gordon Ferries
(baroque guitar & vihuela)

Friday 18 April 2008 8pm at the Kemnay Church Centre. The Concert and workshop was jointly organised by Inverurie music and NESCGS

The Concert and workshop by Aberdeen's own Gordon Ferries, was a resounding success. The concert was well attended and Gordons expertise in the music of Renaissance & Baroque fretted instruments really made the music and period come alive. Gordon played works by Gaspar Sanz , Francisco Guerau and Luis de Naveraez on Baroque guitar and Vihuela. 

The following day, a workshop of Early Fretted Music took place in the same venue.  The workshop was divided into two sections with the first part being lessons and exercises about early tablatures and styles and a session on continuo playing on the guitar, improvising on ground basses etc. The afternoon session was an ensemble version of a piece Gordon had played the night before "Mille regreta" by Luis de Narvaez which delighted and encaptured us all. We were fortunate to have amongst us a wonderful voice "John Harle" which added another dimension to the magic of the afternoons efforts by Gordon and the ensemble players.

Thank you Gordon for such an enlightening experience.

Rob Ward NESCGS webmaster

Workshop Event Photos courtesy of Conall McKay







Andrzej Morky – March 16 th , 2008

Sunday evening was a very special event for NESCGS for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was our first concert in our new home of Queens Cross Church. Secondly, securing Andrzej's attendance was due entirely to our patron, Allan Neave being vigilant for opportunities to support the society and the classical guitar scene in Scotland in general. Lastly, this concert did not have the financial support of any funding body; we were going it alone and it was a big success.

The Session Room had a delightful ambience and acoustic, ideally suited to our instrument and Andrzej filled the room with marvellous tones and textures. He presented a varied programme bookended by compositions from his native Poland. The opening suite comprised 6 gems from the Polish Baroque. He continued with two pieces by Fernando Sor; Fantasia op.21 No. 6 “ Farewell ” and Sonata C-Major op.15 - Allegro moderato. Next followed the sensual Torija-Elegia by Torroba and Asturias-Leyenda by Albeniz. Andrzej closed his concert with an extended work by the Polish A. Tansman entitled Cavatina (not the Deerhunter one before you ask). He encored with the hypnotic Sarabande by Bach from the Cello Suite No 5, BWV 1011.

All in all, a very pleasant evening in the company of a charming and sensitive musician. We will keep in touch with Andrzej as NESCGS broadens its circle of friends in the guitar world both in the UK and around the world.

Peter Stock NESCGS Chairman


Laura Husbands Recital at the NESCGS AGM

Laura Husbands played a short but sweet programme for us on Wednesday evening following the AGM. Given that a lot of times guitar recitals can seem long, this one left me wanting to hear more! Laura is blessed with a musical subtlety that belies her young age. She also has good, solid technique and a passion for the music that is clearly audible.

First was Lauro's Suite Venezolana. This was delicately handled throughout, Laura's smooth delivery being perfectly suited to the relatively light texture of the score.

Next up we had Ponces' Variations sur folia Espana et fuge. Again these were competently handled and Laura's honest approach was appreciated by us all I think when she told us she would be omitting three of the variations as she had yet to learn them! It turned out that quality beat quantity in the end as they were played with confidence and style, the changing nuances of each variation well contrasted. During the Fugue I felt myself drift away with melody, the music was projected so well.

Last on the programme was a waltz by Ukrainian Composer Valerj Petrenko. This was composed in the South American ‘Vals' style and performed superbly by Laura. Again I was impressed both by the competence of the performance and the projection, this unfamiliar piece brought to my attention with such grace that I found myself visiting Guitar Notes when I got home. (Again!).

Laura's encore sums up the performance as a whole, it being a great piece of music played very well indeed. The Preludio “Saudade” from Barrios' La Catedral was played with the height and gravitas that Barrios intended to convey. This piece was dedicated to his wife and was played with appropriate beauty and depth here. My appetite had been whetted though and my one complaint of the evening is that I was longing to hear the other two movements afterwards!

I am convinced that Laura has a great career ahead of her and I for one am looking forward to being able to enjoy a natural musician doing what she does best, performing great music. Let's hope that in the meantime we will see her up in Aberdeen a few more times, we really enjoyed it.

Andrew Bell (nescgs member)

Rob Johns concert and workshop May 25th - 26th

It was a classic Aberdeenshire spring evening that greeted the concert goers to the NESCGS 2nd Annual Spring Concert on Friday May 25th , 2007. The Kemnay Church Centre is the ideal venue on a night like that with the marvellous views over the village towards Bennachie and the setting sun. The sunlight streamed into the Fellowship Hall filling the room with soft light. The hall has the perfect acoustic for the classical guitar.

This year's performer and teacher was Rob Johns from Lincoln. This followed from the success of our inaugural concert and workshop in May 2006 given by Neil Smith.

Rob's concert was out of the ordinary in not having a programme, Instead Rob selected pieces from his repertoire that matched his mood and the ambience. This gave the concert an immediacy that was very special and well received by the audience. Rob played a selection of pieces selected from the 19 th & 20 th century, other than his opening pieces from the renaissance. He included several pieces by Leo Brouwer and Villa-Lobos. His introductions were informative without being dry and reflected his considerable academic knowledge of the guitar. The high point for many was his two final tangos by Piazzolla and Dyens. He and the audience seemed to enter another reality engendered by the hypnotic rhythm.

The following day, a workshop was held in the same venue. Guitarists travelled from Glasgow, Inverness, Fochabers and Arbroath to attend this very special event. Rob led the attendees through a number of left hand and right hand exercises. He directly related the problems players have to the benefits of the proposed exercises. Awareness of the basic of the guitar such as note identification and placing were also covered. The afternoon was much more a music lesson than a guitar lesson where Rob reminded us of some of the features we often lose in our efforts to ‘capture the notes'. He started the afternoon by demonstrating the almost primordial nature of rhythmic understanding. He then related this to a pre-selected piece and offered a learning process based strongly on visualisation for memorisation. Rob provided an informative and entertaining day that was accessible and of value to the beginners through to the teachers in attendance. His friendly, approachable manner, punctuated by many examples and caricatures of struggling guitarist, made the day very memorable and enjoyable.

NESCGS has made a firm friend in Rob Johns and we look forward to having him back with us in the near future. However, nearer to hand, the society is already planning the 2008 Spring Concert & Workshop.

Peter Stock NESCGS Chairman

Matt McAllister , NESCGS Classical Guitar Concert April 26 th , 2007 in Aberdeen

It was with considerable pleasure that the North East Scotland Classical Guitar Society welcomed Matt McAllister to Aberdeen. Matthew is a young player based in Glasgow and a graduate of RSAMD where he studies under our society's patron, Allen Neave. He was the subject of a young player's profile in the Classical Guitar Magazine in April 2007.

Matt's stage presence was immediately affable and relaxed which was welcomed by the audience. Matt's opening set was a blend of classical guitar favourites with a few what you might call cross-over prises from Ralph Towner. Always a sure hit with Asturias by Albeniz and Julia Florida by Barrios.The second half opened with the highlight for me, two works by John Dowland. Matt played these quite beautifully and evoked a special magic. He went on to bring new vitality to Farewell to Stromness and finished with some upbeat modern numbers, especially Andrew York's Sunburst. The audience of members and visitors were treated to a very accessible and enjoyable recital. His easy going approach was appreciated by the attendees. This was Matt's first concert for the society but it won't be his last.

Peter Stock NESCGS Chairman

Members' Night. Tuesday 20th February 2007 at 7:30pm.

Special Guest speaker Wallace Galbraith

plus a performance from three phenomenal young guitarists..... 

Wallace Galbraith, Scottish development Officer for Trinity Guildhall, spoke to us about the launch of the new Music Examination Syllabuses following the merger of Trinity College and Guildhall Examination Boards. The Trinity exams have long been the staple grade examinations for most instruments and his talk was of interest to teachers and players alike, especially those involved in the examinations at the moment.

If that wasn't enough, after Wallace's chat and a short break, we were entertained by three wonderful and extremely talented young guitarists from the Aberdeen City Music School based at Dyce Academy;

Alastair Inglis, Sean Shibe & Ian Watt.

The set was mature, diverse and would be the envy of many a seasoned performer, and was greatly appreciated by the audience.


Allan Neave concert at the Northern Hotel, Sunday 4th February 2007 at 3pm

This was a very exciting opportunity for the public and society members to see Allan play again. The Guitar Society are very happy to have helped with the promotion of this event. Allan played brilliantly with introductions based on his about to be released CD 'Guitar International', followed by a meeting with the audience and signing CD's



Allan Neave Guitar Workshop Saturday 16th September 2006

Allan Neave Concert and Workshop Friday 15th September 2006

Allan Neave's Concert and Workshop featured a world premier of a new work by Peter Stewart. Allan is director of the Dundee Guitar Festival and senior lecturer of guitar at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Concert jointly with Inverurie Music at Kemnay Church Centre, Kemnay, Aberdeenshire.



Fernando Sor Variations on O cara armonia by W. A. Mozart, op.9
Leo Brouwer Elogio de la Danza
Don Paterson The Lavender Truck
Manuel Ponce Sonatina Meridional
Antonio Lauro Suite Venezolano
Peter Stewart Three songs of she
Toru Takemitsu Folios
Heitor Villa-Lobos Suite Populaire Brésilienne: Mazurka-Chôro; Schottish-Chôro
Augustin Barrios La Catedral

The DVD Night of Thursday 18th May 2006

This was a big success as a format for an evening's meeting.  Those in attendance found it surprising engrossing, much more so than if you watched it on your own at home. Someone suggested that it is similar to watching football in a pub.  We only had time to watch one DVD of the LA Guitar Quartet, what with beer breaks and the like.  The DVD was excellent and all enjoyed themselves.

Neil Smith Concert & Workshop – 12th and 13th May 2006

The Kemnay Church Centre, Aberdeenshire, was the venue for the inaugural concert and workshop by Neil Smith for the North East Scotland Classical Guitar Society (NESCGS). Neil Smith is a pillar of the classical guitar world in the UK and around the world and the NESCGS feels very fortunate to attract this highly respected and influential player for his first ever visit to Aberdeenshire.

Neil gave a stunning concert on Friday night to a packed Church Centre. Anyone who was anyone in the Aberdeenshire classical guitar scene was there for this unique event, including one guest who had travelled down from Inverness . It was especially good to see so many young people in attendance. Neil played a variety of music from around the world, both old and modern. His set included flamenco pieces, his own composition of Scottish tunes (Niel Gow's Shadow), much loved favourites by Albeniz and Tarrega, as well as pieces composed for him by Rak. He punctuated his concert with technique descriptions, insights, stories and personal experiences that brought the music to life. Two encores and a sell-out of CDs brought a very special concert to an end.

The following day nine guitarists met at the same venue for a day in Neil's company. Neil led the assembled players through a programme of exercises and techniques to develop their abilities. Again, his vast experience from around the world gave insight and depth to the discussion. A number of attendees played pieces for Neil and he was able to offer positive encouragement and advice without being critical. He was very generous with his coaching and comments and often brought out the underlying musical structure in pieces.

The workshop was viewed by all as a very enjoyable and memorable event on knowledge, experience and social fronts.

The Kemnay Church Centre provided an excellent venue for both the concert and workshop and the staff of the centre provided excellent assistance and catering to both events. NESCGS is also indebted to Gordon Forum for the Arts for their generous funding that has made these events possible.

NESCGS consider the weekend a big success and plan to make a Spring Concert & Workshop an annual event.

Peter Stock, Chairman (NESCGS)

Neil's Concert Programme (full programme)

Colin Morison Colin Morison has the inside storyone of Scotlands foremost guitar makers informed a well-attended Members' Night on Thursday 23rd February 2006. Review by Peter Stock

Ian Watt one of Scotland's foremost young classical guitarists, Ian Watt plays at the Aberdeen Northern Hotel - click for larger image was the highlight of our inaugural meeting at the Aberdeen Northern Hotel on Tuesday 15th November 2005. Thirty people enjoyed a scintillating performance. A good number also joined the Society there and then.

Review by Peter Stock

Press report