Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
Nicholas Raths, Jeff Lambert, Joseph Hagedorn, Jeffrey Thygeson
Jeronimo Gimenez: El Baile de Luis Alonso
J.S. Bach: Toccata in D, BWV 912**
Jeff Lambert: Chicago Summer*
David Kechley: Voices from the Garden*
Dance and Reflection
(played without pause)
Ileana Perez Velazquez
Beguiling breezes* (world premiere)
Maria Kalaniemi; Two Finnish Pieces** Tahdet Taivahalla
Peter Maxwell Davies: Farewell to Stromness
Alberto Ginastera: Danzas Argentinas**
Danza del viejo boyero
Danza de la moza donosa
Danza del gaucho matrero
* Written for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
**Arranged by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
With the passion, style, and musical sophistication borrowing from the best chamber music and string quartet traditions, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has successfully made its case as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles since its founding in 1986. “Flawless, musical and witty” (Classical Guitar Magazine, England), the MGQ has performed throughout the United States both in recital and concerto appearances, balancing a dizzying array of first-rate repertoire ranging from Renaissance and Baroque to Spanish, Latin American, and Romantic, to highly imaginative existing and commissioned contemporary works. Cutting-edge composer/performer Daniel Bernard Roumain, one of more than 20 composers commissioned by the MGQ, calls the group “more than a guitar quartet, more than superb musicians, and more than a great chamber group. They are ambassadors of sound, style, and substance.”
The MGQ has been heard on the nationally syndicated Saint Paul Sunday, and on National Public Radio’s Performance Today. The group’s first two CDs on the Albany label — New Works for Guitar Quartet and Over Land and Sea — garnered unanimous international critical acclaim. “With (Over Land and Sea),” said Soundboard Magazine, “the MGQ demonstrates that it is one of the major guitar ensembles in the world.” Concerto appearances include Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, Britt Festival in Oregon, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Northwood Orchestra, Iowa Arts Festival Orchestra, and the UCLA Orchestra, where the MGQ premiered the Cantiga Variations, written for them by American composer Ian Krouse. In recital, the MGQ has toured extensively throughout the United States, regularly appearing throughout the Midwest, and selling-out halls in such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. The ensemble also has captivated audiences in Boston, La Jolla, San Francisco, New Orleans, Portland, and Buffalo. Other highlights include Princeton University, the Il Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra at the National Arts Center in Mexico City, the Omni Foundation Dynamite Guitar series in San Francisco, the Stetson International Guitar Workshop in Florida, and the Guitar Foundation of America Festival.
April of 2004 launched the quartet’s newest CD, Pictures at an Exhibition, on GSP Records. During the 2003-04 concert season, the MGQ appeared as concerto soloists with the Owensboro (Kentucky) Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, performing David Hahn’s new Concerto alla Barocco and Vivaldi’s Concerto in C. During the 2004-2006 seasons, MGQ presents concerts, masterclasses and educational programs in eighteen states.
Committed educators as well as performers, members of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (Joseph Hagedorn, Jeff Lambert, O. Nicholas Raths, and Jeffrey Thygeson) often appear to teach and present workshops at festivals and universities throughout the United States. The cultural accessibility of the guitar makes it a natural for the MGQ’s educational and outreach programs like its popular “Guitar Talk” for elementary through high school students.
O. Nicholas Raths
A founding member of the MGQ, Nicholas is a versatile guitarist equally at home in the classical and pop realms. As a studio musician, he can be heard on many of the country’s major record labels, including on three of Janet Jackson’s albums. Nicholas attended the University of Southern California and received his DMA from the University of Minnesota. He was a student of such classical and jazz masters as Pepe Romero, Howard Roberts, and Jeffrey Van. Nicholas is assistant professor at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he teaches guitar and lectures in popular music history and music theory.
A native of Wisconsin, Jeff joined the MGQ in December 2001, after five years of study with founder Joseph Hagedorn at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Jeff subsequently received his master of music degree from Northwestern University, studying with Anne Waller and Denis Azabagic. Jeff has performed in master classes with Oscar Ghiglia, Stephen Robinson, Dusan Bogdonavic, and Ricardo Iznaola. A top prize-winner in several Midwestern guitar competitions, Jeff has also been a soloist with the Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble and has been featured on the Minnesota Guitar Society’s Guitarathon for four years. An active commissioner of new works for solo guitar, Jeff released his first solo guitar CD in 2003.
Since his career was launched by winning the 1990 Guitar Foundation of America solo competition, Joseph has maintained an active performing career as a soloist and chamber musician. Praised for his passionate performances and flawless technique as well as his varied programs — on guitar and Renaissance lute — Joseph’s solo and concerto appearances have taken him to more than 25 American cities and to Canada. He has been heard twice on the nationally broadcast radio program Saint Paul Sunday, once with the MGQ and again with assistant concertmaster of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Leslie Shank. A gifted arranger for the MGQ, in 1995 he also was awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship. This native Iowan and founding member of the MGQ received his bachelor of music degree from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and his master of music degree from the University of Minnesota. He was a student of Richard Stratton, Christopher Carrington, Nelson Amos, and Jeffrey Van. Joseph has been on the music faculty of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls since 1988.
A member of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet since 2002, Jeffrey has been an active soloist and chamber musician, with appearances in New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and throughout the Midwest, as well as concerto appearances with orchestras in Minnesota and North Dakota. Jeffrey has performed in master classes with Eliot Fisk, Christopher Parkening, Sharon Isbin, Paul Galbraith, Ben Verdery, Roberto Aussel, and Denis Azabagic. Jeffrey received his bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and his master of music degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he studied with William Kanengiser and received the Pi Kappa Lambda Guitar Scholarship Award. Additional teachers have included Pepe Romero, James Smith, Christopher Kachian, and Brian Head. A native Minnesotan, Jeffrey is on the music faculty of the University of St. Thomas.