Chord Blimey ; Midland Guitarists Are Being Invited to Take Part in a Spectacular Show. GRAHAM YOUNG Meets Its Mastermind

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), May 30, 2014 | Go to article overview

Chord Blimey ; Midland Guitarists Are Being Invited to Take Part in a Spectacular Show. GRAHAM YOUNG Meets Its Mastermind


COMPOSER Rhys Chatham is set to mastermind a live performance featuring 100 guitarists at Birmingham Town Hall next weekend.

The multi-instrumentalist is appealing for musicians to come forward to take part in the show.

"Having 100 guitarists enables you to get a special sound you can't get any other way," he says.

"There's nothing like 100 people playing quietly and, visually, it's fantastic.

"We'll have a general rehearsal for about six hours. Then we'll split the guitarists into groups of 33/34 each.

"Each will have a section leader, a sub-conductor and the three groups will be subdivided into six.

"There will be three hours of rehearsals in the morning and three in the afternoon both days.

"Then we'll have the show - five movements and 70 minutes of music."

Rhys says he wrote A Secret Rose to give guitarists the opportunity of sharing something which other musicians can experience on a much more regular basis.

"As a guitarist, you generally don't get to work in an orchestra," he says.

"I first started to play in the 70s and then thought in the 80s 'It's too bad guitarists don't get that experience.' .' But it is really nice working with a large group of other musicians and our guitarists tend to come from many backgrounds, from jazz to rock.

"The main problem is putting the parts together and making sure everyone is then together."

Rhys is left handed but uses his right hand to strum while playing guitar.

"I wanted to be able to play other people's guitars," he smiles.

"I began with clarinet, then my father's harpsichord and the French horn, before realising that all of the girls were in the flute section so I thought 'I'm going to play flute.' .

"But when you are 18, you can't play flute in a rock band, Jethro Tull aside.

"So I switched to sax and free jazz in the 70s.

"After a few years of playing guitar I began to worry about losing my hearing. …

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