June 20, 2019

Centennial Independence Anniversary of the Czech Republic Guitar Concert

By Roy Lie Atjam.

The Embassies of the Czech and Slovak Republic, along with Guitar@work hosted a Guitar Concert in The Hague, dedicated to the Centennial of the Founding and Independence of the two countries on 22nd May 2018.

The venue of the concert was the monumental Residence of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic H.E. Mrs Jana Reinišová. The room was full to its capacity.

Czech guitar player and composer David Wurczel.

“The didactic projects, Guitar@Work wish to promote creativity, composition skills, and performance skills on the instrument.

A previous cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, The ŠtěpánRak Guitar Competition (2017), succeded in promoting a contemporary classical Czech guitar soundscape, the guitar as a multifacted instrument, the compositions and innovative guitar technique of such a prolific Czech guitar composer as Mr. Rak, and the encounter of a variety of identities in the context of the welcoming Czech one, creating through music a bridge among them.

For the celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Czech and Slovak Republics the event opened with some welcome words from Mrs. Jana Reinišová to her residence. The concert opened afterwards with the Guitar@Work Orchestra performing a Czeck soundscape of guitar solos by ŠtěpánRak, some folk Slovak and Hungarian songs compiled by Béla Bartok and arranged specially for this occasion by Mariel Peñaloza Phd for the Orchestra, and an air of Spanish rhythms entered the baroque decorated room through the interpretation of a Rumba alla Rak.

The Guitar@Work Orchestra is a unique ensemble of different nationalities gathered by their love for the guitar, created by PhD. Mariel Peñaloza in 2011 with the idea of making an orchestra of the small orchestras that guitars already are.

Among the public, the Ambassador of Israel Aviv Shir-On. .

It works as an ongoing project to promote ensemble work and to enjoy playing together. Its members have all different ages and nationalities, and come from different schools in the region, namely the International School of The Hague, The Haagse Montessori Lyceum, or the Bonaventura College in Leiden.

An example of how different identities can come together in the joyful space offered by music to celebrate such an important occasion as the Centennial Anniversary of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The main part of the concert was the performance of the talented Czech guitar player and composer David Wurczel performing some of his compositions, one of them, Opus 8, a premier that evening. David Wurczel started with a classic theme for guitar, the Romance Anónimo, but after the first section he moved to a more personal interpretation, making use of the unique technique for the right hand he has developed and which he has named rotando.

This technique has already been recognized and admired by music professionals and international audiences alike.

Mr. David Wurczel.

It is a special combination of rotating rasgueado, tremolo and an orchestral approach to guitar performance. Often it sounds as if there were more guitarists playing at the same time.

This polyphonic approach is the main aspect of Wurczel’s style, which is also why he is not just a guitar composer but an orchestral music composer as well. In his own words, this would not have been possible if he had not met prof. ŠtěpánRak, who inspired him with his very unique and virtuoso style of guitar performance and composing. David and prof. Rak released a Christmas CD in 2011 together, and that year marked David’s first concerts as a guest of prof. ŠtěpánRak.

After several years of playing common concerts, David, a guitarist trained by the performances with prof. Rak& other renowned concert musicians, went on to perform as a solo player. With his other interpretations of that evening, Universe Suite and a Tormenta, literally an impressive storm of sounds, we could participate in his passionate way of performing and his contemporary and fresh approach to composing for the instrument.

He finished with Rak’sDance around the linden tree, as a respectful homage to the composer, and the audience was granted an encore to close such a great guitar performance with some more of Wurczel’s magic.” End quote.

After the guitar concert Ambassador Jana Reinišová thanked the performers, all received a certificate of participation. She further offered Czech chocolates to all the young performers and also thanked Mr. David Wurczel and madam Mariel Peñaloza, they received Czech wine.

The evening ended with a reception, the many guests including Ambassador Jana Reinišová colleagues, Indonesia, Korea, Estonia and others, had the opportunity to mingle with the composer and performers. It has been a pleasurable guitar concert.


Photography copyright: © Wurczel.

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