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Mario Kurtjak (guitar) plays Barrios-Mangoré, JS Bach and Walton

Friday March 8, 2019 at 13:10
St James's Church, Piccadilly, London
Free admission – no ticket required

  1. Un sueño en la floresta - Agustín Barrios Mangoré
  2. Sonata for solo violin in G minor (arranged for guitar) BWV 1001 - Johann Sebastian Bach
  3. Fantasia - Roberto Gerhard
  4. 5 Bagatelles, for guitar - Sir William Walton
  5. Rossiniane No 1, for guitar Op 119 No 1 - Mauro Giuliani

Mario Kurtjak is a Slovenian guitarist, professor of guitar, composer and scientist with a master’s degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies. This year he received a Master of Arts degree with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied with prof. Michael Lewin, David Russell and Fabio Zanon. He obtained his previous musical education in Slovenia with prof. Eva Hren, prof. Igor Saje and prof. Andrej Grafenauer. He was accepted to the Academy of Music in Ljubljana as an exceptional talent already at the age of 16 and graduated in 2010 with the highest mark and summa cum laude. He received many prizes and awards in national and youth international competitions, as well as additional music awards, such as the Škerjanc prize (2007), the Prešeren award (2008) and the Blyth Watson award (2017). He has additionally attended masterclasses of the renowned guitarists like Marcin Dylla, Leo Brouwer, Hubert Käppel, Zoran Dukic, Aniello Desiderio … He was teaching guitar at the Conservatory of Music and the Arsem Music School in Ljubljana. Since 2015, he has also been one of the teachers and the conductor of the guitar orchestra at the Guitar Summer school in Crnomelj.

His concert repertoire embraces all musical eras and styles, including his own compositions and arrangements of Slovenian music. Last year he composed his first sonata for guitar, which was premiered by Erazem Grafenauer in Berlin in October 2017. Mario is fond of the baroque, classicism, romanticism and Spanish modernism, but he’s receptive also to the music of today and supportive for the living composers. He has premiered over 15 new works so far as a soloist or in chamber groups, 3 only last year, by composers Robert Laidlow, Austin Leung, Rafael Marino Arcaro and Peter Šavli. In June 2018 he gave the first performance of the 'Guitar Rhapsody' for solo guitar, written for him by the Brazilian composer Bernardo Simões.

He has always been a very active chamber musician as well, most notably in Trio IreNeMa (with flautist Irena Rovtar and violinist Neža Piry), the Slovenian Guitar Quartet (with Erazem Grafenauer, Simon Krajncan and Aljoša Vršcaj) and the Solent Duo with Colombian soprano Meliza Metzger. The Trio IreNeMa was recorded for the archive of the Radio Slovenia and German radio SWR2, whereas the Slovenian Guitar Quartet has recorded the piece »Fantasy Journey« for the album »A fantastic journey« (published by D'Oz) of the Croatian/American composer Miroslav Loncar. These two groups have successfully promoted music by Slovenian composers at important concert venues and festivals in Slovenia and other European countries, including Mario's composition 'Slovenian Pot-pourri' for guitar quartet. The Slovenian Guitar Quartet also gave Slovenian premiere of Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz with the Cantabile Symphony Orchestra to the 1500 listeners in the sold-out Cankarjev Dom (the largest concert venue in Slovenia) in 2014.
The Solent Duo was established at the Royal Academy of Music in 2016 and they are particularly interested in performing unexplored repertoire for the high soprano voice and guitar, either by reviving the forgotten originals or creating new transcriptions. They had a tour of three concerts in three days in London and Kent in September with a topic of love in the variety of its emotions. In October they had another tour of three concerts in a week in London, which consisted of arrangements of opera arias and art songs. Find more about Mario Kurtjak and his upcoming concerts at http://mario.sk4.si

“An excellent interpreter of guitar music with a prominent musical sense and great technical skills.” (Logaške novice)

“Mario Kurtjak showed great technical skills and intensified attitude for the quality of sound. It is particularly worth pointing out his sense for sound nuances, especially in the low dynamics.” (Borut Smrekar, Glasna)

Free recital (retiring collection)

St James's Church, Piccadilly
197 Piccadilly
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