Scott Cmiel is Chair of the guitar and musicianship departments at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division and Director of the guitar program at San Francisco School of the Arts.
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A well-known guitar legend quotes Chopin as saying, “Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.” Mark Eden and Christopher Stell, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, gave evidence on Saturday at the Veterans Building Green Room with their magnificent sound, vivid interpretations, and telepathic ensemble. They jokingly asked the Omni Foundation presenters to lock the exit doors so no one could leave during their performance of Leo Brouwer’s astringently modern Per Suonare a Due, but the audience responded with wild cheering and insisted on encores after the concert.
The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the largest and most enthusiastic audiences in the country for the classical guitar. Internationally acclaimed artists are regularly featured by San Francisco Performances and the Omni Foundation, while young talent is often presented by smaller organizations. The South Bay Guitar Society, undoubtedly the best organized and ambitious of these smaller presenters, gave its audience a special treat Saturday: Scott Tennant, a founding member of the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, in a rare solo recital.
When Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang was 15, John Williams heard her play in Beijing and was so impressed that he gave her his own guitar. Yang has gone on to win numerous prizes in music competitions.
Her program for San Francisco Performances includes Bach and Albeniz, and also showcases Stephen Goss' beautiful, four-movement work The Chinese Garden, part of an admirable series of pieces commissioned by Yang that highlight elements of Chinese culture.
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