Ever wonder why Andrew Zohn opens the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music season every fall? “I play all summer and I know the music,” was the explanation. This summer, Zohn performed and taught master classes in China, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Canada and the United States. That adds up to 11 music festivals and 20 concerts. “I’m glad to be home,” he said last Friday. He and his guitar partner, Jeffrey McFadden, who teaches at the University of Toronto, have a duo called Duo Spiritoso, and it’s Duo Spiritoso that will perform Tuesday in Legacy Hall.
The two guitarists met while they competed in the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) conventions. In 1992, Jason Vieaux won. McFadden placed second and Zohn was third.
“I knew right away that we would be friends,” McFadden said. “We met in a context when our skills were on display. We could see that the other person was skillful. I always respected Andrew as a player and a teacher and a composer. It was a natural thing to work together. It’s been productive.”
It’s a mutual admiration society. Besides the fact that the two are so well-matched, Zohn says McFadden is “possibly the most respected guitar teacher in Canada.”
They stayed in touch, and three years ago, Duo Spiritoso became a reality. The third member of the class of 1992, Vieaux performed and taught master classes when the GFA annual convention was at CSU two years ago.
One of the reasons Duo Spiritoso was formed was, “both of us now have the means to travel,” Zohn said. “We couldn’t do that when we were 22.”
Zohn and McFadden are currently working on a program of all-Rossini repertoire for guitar that they plan to have recorded next year. Among those pieces are the overtures to “The Thieving Magpie” and “La Cenerentola” (or “Cinderella”). Both pieces will be performed Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday’s program is a piece called “Cervo Sonatina” written by Zohn. He wrote it for his Italian friends, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, who are SoloDuo. They premiered the piece at the GFA convention in Columbus, and will record it later this year.
Will people who don’t know much about classical guitar enjoy this concert?
“Most people who aren’t so much into classical guitar will get to hear a lot of variety in this concert,” Zohn said. There are some Baroque pieces, along with modern Latin music and some jazz-influenced pieces as well.
“There will be something for everyone like at most good concerts,” Zohn said.
Zohn has begun his 10th year teaching at CSU, and his guitar symposium will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year.
He’ll also have 10 guitar majors this year, four of them new students.