Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra CD Release Celebration Concert at the Shea Theater

May 7 2016

The Center for the Arts is thrilled to present composer, performer, and guitar innovator Peter Blanchette directing the critically acclaimed Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra (HVGO) in a debut at the Shea and in celebration of its long-awaited follow up CD. “Unknown Album” features recent repertoire from Beethoven’s iconic 7th Symphony Allegretto movement, popular mid-west rockers Wilco, minimalist composer Philip Glass, South American composer Gustavo Santoalalla, and a new piece from Leo Kottke.

Blanchette on HVGO’s new CD: “I named it Unknown Album because this is music that’s never been heard before. Beethoven’s 7th certainly wasn’t conceived for electric guitars. 16th century French dances didn’t have back-beats, and Wilco’s One Wing wasn’t originally arranged with as counterpoint as a Beethoven Symphony. HVGO’s process — where I arrange music for all these guitars and the musicians lend their particular guitar sound to the piece — is always an exploration of great music. It’s a search for sounds unknown to the music as it was, and repertoire previously unknown to the guitar. And, what unifies our style, our sound, is the joy we have experience translating these masterpieces to the language of the guitar.”

HVGO is an avant-garde music ensemble, founded by Peter Blanchette in 2009 and comprised of more than a 15-20 acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. HVGO is a resident company of the Northampton Center for the Arts, and is supported by the D’Addario Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Frank Lucchesi Trust.

Though known as a Bach specialist, Blanchette has a repertoire of unusual and celebrated musical arrangements that run from medieval to contemporary to ethnic styles. Blanchette is the recipient of WFCR Foundation’s 2011 Arts & Humanities Award for Outstanding Individual, and is a veteran performer of such venues as Spain’s Cordoba Festival of the Guitar, Boston’s Symphony Hall, NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Town Hall, New York City, and WGBH Boston’s live radio broadcasts.

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