Classical guitar hero

Local musician aims to expose audiences to a variety of music with upcoming performance

Kurt Tittlemier will perform Saturday, Jan. 24 at the Planetarium as part of the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society’s ongoing concert series. Lisa Waldner

A Winnipeg-based classical guitarist is hoping his next performance will expose the audience not only to masterpieces of the guitar repertoire but to some lesser known works as well.

Kurt Tittlemier, a member of the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society (WCGS), will perform this Saturday, Jan. 24 at the Manitoba Museum Planetarium Auditorium as part of the WCGS’s Banner Artists series.

Tittlemier’s concert will be divided into two halves, reflecting the two styles and repertoires he wishes to showcase, he wrote in an e-mail. The first half is dedicated to music from the Baroque period. Featuring works by well known composers Vivaldi and J.S. Bach, as well as the lesser known Mondonville, the program is organized so the listener can compare the Baroque styles of Italy, Germany and France.

“The short phrases, intimate sound ideal and love of counterpoint in the baroque suit the classical guitar perfectly,” Tittlemier said.

Accompanying Tittlemier in this first half will be harpsichord player Eric Lussier in the world premiere of Jean Cassanca Mondonville’s Sonata no. 5, and, in the J.S. Bach trio Sonata, two Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra musicians – violinist Chris Anstey and violist Laszlo Baroczi. Lussier will also accompany Tittlemier, along with a cellist and two violinists in the final piece of the first half – Antonio Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto, with the guitar being substituted for the lute.

“I’ve worked with guitarists before. There’s a wonderful balance between the two instruments - the guitar and the harpsichord – as they are both plucked instruments,” said Lussier, who is the founder and artistic director of Winnipeg’s Musik Barock. “When a good composer interweaves the two instruments, it’s almost as if [you wonder] who is playing what.”

In the second half of the performance, Tittlemier will feature different styles of Latin music, including Five Venezuelan Waltzes by Jose Cisneros and Villa-Lobos’ Prelude #1 in e minor.

“Each work is from a different part of Latin America and makes use of folk rhythms and tonalities,” Tittlemier said. The final work on the program was chosen to showcase Leo Brouwer, whom Tittlemier calls “one of the most important living composers for the guitar.”

Along with a string quartet, Tittlemier will perform Brouwer’s Quintetto.

The WCGS is celebrating its 25th year of operation promoting the classical guitar in Winnipeg. Tittlemier’s performance is one of five concerts in the WCGS’s Banner Artists series.

“I am very enthusiastic to perform this recital,” Tittlemier said. “I think ‘excited’ would best describe my anticipation of this performance.”

See Kurt Tittlemier Saturday, Jan. 24 at The Manitoba Museum Planetarium Auditorium (190 Rupert Ave.) Tickets cost $20, $15 and $10, and are available at McNally Robinson bookstores, by calling 667-5250, or by e-mailing wcgs [at]

Published in Volume 63, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 22, 2009)

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