The Troubadour Series
The Troubadour Series at Wofford is named after Carl Sandburg, who was called "the Old Troubadour" by Frank Lloyd Wright. Sandburg's home is located in Flat Rock, N.C., and he visited the Wofford campus on more than one occasion. He was an avid guitarist who wrote several poems inspired by the guitar and guitarists. On his deathbed in 1967, he requested to hear one of the Segovia recordings he had listened to since the 1930s.
All Troubadour Series concerts are free and open to the public.
For more information about Sandburg, click here. For more information about The Troubadour Series, please contact Dr. Jhon Akers.
Spring 2014 Performances
Classical Guitarist, Stanley Alexandrowicz
Monday, February 17
Classical Guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz is becoming one of the most highly praised and sought-after musical artists of his generation. A native of New Jersey, he began his musical studies at the age of eight, and was soon receiving both awards and accolades–among these, the New Jersey Classical Guitar Society’s “Award for Excellence,” and the Princeton Classical Guitar Society’s “Achievement Award for Musical Interpretation.” After beginning his early training with Michael Newman, he entered the Manhattan School of Music at the age of sixteen, wherein the influence of his major teacher and mentor Manuel Barrueco profoundly influenced his musical outlook.
Guitarist, Francois Fowler
Monday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.
Guitarist Francois Fowler has given recitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including concerts in Albany, Cleveland, Dayton, Denver, Grand Rapids, Hagerstown, Hartford, Jekyll Island, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Montréal, Monterrey, Rochester, San Jose, Seattle, Spartanburg, Springfield, Syracuse, Tallahassee, Tampa, Tifton, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Fowler is the recipient of national and international prizes including finalist in the 2001 Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) International Guitar Competition. A faculty member at the Dana School of Music (Youngstown State University, Ohio), he maintains an active guitar studio and coaches guitar ensembles. Fowler obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Ottawa, Canada, where he studied with Ed Honeywell, and his Doctorate from Florida State University where he was a teaching assistant to the renowned pedagogue, Professor Bruce Holzman. Francois performs on a Thomas Humphrey guitar with D’Addario Strings, his compositions and arrangements are published by Clear Note Publications, and his recordings are released by CBC records, Canadian Music Center, Clear Note, Novalis, and independently. His latest CD Sonata (ClearNote, 2010) features music by C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, Agustin Barrios, Gregorio Huet, and Domenico Scarlatti. Fowler is also a founding member of the flute and guitar duo, Duo Allant, with Kathryn Thomas Umble.
Recitalist, Chamber Musician, and Orchestral Soloist, Stephen Robinson
Thursday, March 6, 7:00 p.m.
Heralded by The New York Times for his “effortless virtuosity with intelligence and good taste,” by The Tallahassee Democrat for his “sweet, pure sound, technique to burn and strong sense of musical and poetic phrasing,” and by (Puerto Rico’s) El Nuevo Dia as a “magnificent North American guitarist, full of virtuosity, magnificent technical precision, and a masterfully delivered diverse range of sound,” Stephen Robinson tours extensively as a recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral soloist. He has appeared as guest soloist with orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, and conducts master classes at leading musical institutions and festivals worldwide.
Robinson’s recordings for Clear Note Records, Centaur Records and Lakeside Records have received unanimous critical acclaim. Of his disc, “Stephen Robinson,” Munich’s Fonoforum states, “A guitarist of the first order . . . Robinson fills the melodic lines with a great individual emotion. Technically, the New York guitarist is at the top level: his scales are light and clean, his chords are clear as glass.” His solo CD, “An American Record,” features the debut recording of works by Samuel Adler, Harold Blanchard and Harold Schiffman, which Soundboard calls “masterful and poetic.” Lakeside Records’ release of “Under the Influence” is the recording of Robinson with flutist Angeleita Floyd. Classical Guitar (UK) notes “the sound created by this brilliant duo is almost orchestra. One of the most delightful to come my way . . . I cannot recommend highly enough.” “Grand Solos” (Lakeside Records) contains works by Albeniz, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Barrios, Rudnev, Sor, Ponce and Willis. Classical Guitar says “Robinson reveals himself as a quality purveyor, neat and nimble fingers capturing all the necessary brilliance and flourish.” “A Christmas Feeling,” features Christmas works commissioned by or dedicated to Robinson by some of today’s most renowned guitarist composers, including Roland Dyens and Andrew York. Robinson’s release on Clear Note Records, “Felicidade,” is an eclectic mix of music. Soundboard’s Richard Long writes, “Stephen is a guitarist who invariably reminds me of why I fell in love with the guitar many years ago; to put it simply, he plays beautiful music, and he plays it beautifully.” And Steve Marsh of Classical Guitar said “Occasionally a CD comes along in the review stack in which the featured performer immediately stands out from amongst the others for their sheer musicality, technical virtuosity and ‘listenability’ factor – and this new release from North American guitarist Stephen Robinson is such a CD. Everything about this disc smacks of quality. The more astute amongst you will have gathered by now that I liked this new disc enormously, and with a recording quality second to none, Felicidade is indeed a jewel in the crown of the Clear Note Publications CD catalogue and is to be highly recommended.” Clear Note Records has just released Robinson’s newest CD, “Découpage,” a collection of works spanning nearly 3 centuries, combining recent jewels with timeless standards. Steve Marsh of Classical Guitar notes, “This CD has to be one of the most attractive ones I’ve listened to in quite a while. Robinson’s musicianship is of the highest calibre, his effortless technique allowing him the freedom to do with this music just about anything he wants and what he does do is exceptionally good from every angle. This is music making of high order.”
A top prize winner in five major international competitions, including the XXIII Concours International de Guitare in Paris and the VI Concurso Internacional de Guitarra in Venezuela, Robinson is an alumnus of the distinguished Affiliate Artists Touring roster and a member of the State of Florida Touring Program. He has received numerous awards, fellowships and grants, including two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalists Awards, an NEA Recording Award, a Fulbright Fellowship for Performance and Research in Music to Canada, two Hand Enrichment Awards, a MTNA Foundation Prize, nine Stetson University Professional Development Awards, a Koger Foundation Award, a Root Foundation Grant, and two ofStetson University’s Hand Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity for his performances and recordings as well as for hisoutstanding work with children and seniors.
A native of New York, Stephen Robinson began his guitar studies with Bruce Holzman at Florida State University, and worked closely with Andres Segovia, who called him “a magnificent guitarist, one of the most brilliant guitarists of our times.” After pursuing graduate work at the Yale School of Music, Florida State University awarded Robinson the first Doctor of Music Degree in Guitar Performance.
Stephen Robinson is Professor of Music at Stetson University in Florida, where he is the founding director of the Guitar Program (since 1983). His graduates have excelled in the finest graduate programs of Yale University, The Eastman School of Music, The Peabody Conservatory, Florida State University, and The University of Southern California, among others, and many now hold prominent positions in the professional music world. Of his multi-faceted career, Guitarra Magazine says “Robinson’s career as a teacher is well known. He founded and runs the guitar program at Stetson University. At the same time, he has won a bunch of competitions, recorded a score of CDs, and continues touring regularly. What you have with Robinson is a player who has married the two opposite ends of the guitar experience (teaching and performing) by finding a way to express the impetus for both simultaneously. It’s a remarkable feat and one to aspire to.” Stephen Robinson resides in DeLand, Florida with his wife, Patrece, and together they have raised four sons—one of whom, Nick, graduated from Wofford College.
Classical Guitarist, Lynn McGrath
Thursday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.
Classical guitarist Lynn McGrath is being heralded as a phenom. Blending her passion for theatre, Spanish language and literature and guitar, she has shared the poetry and music of “Platero y yo” with audiences on 4 continents as both guitarist and theatrical narrator, an unprecedented feat. Bringing the writings of Nobel laureate Juan Ramón Jiménez to life for audiences across the globe, from children in a Peruvian orphanage to guitar connoisseurs at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival, one critic wrote the following “…wonderful timing, poise, wit, and grace, while getting a full rich sound from her guitar. Anyone who loves either music or poetry would have been charmed, but those who appreciate both, not to mention stage presence and acting skills, were electrified by this tour-de-force of artistic multi-tasking. —Richard M. Long, Editor, Soundboard.
In the United States, she has played at such prominent venues as the Troy Savings Hall (Troy, NY), the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque), and the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles) in addition to performing in major cities across the US. Abroad she has been featured in festivals in Italy, Montenegro, Mexico, Peru, and Poland and has presented at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Oberlin Conservatory with lectures at the University of Veracruz and Mannes College. She has been a soloist with the Orchestra of Northern New York and has performed with the Albuquerque based professional choir Quintessence. After receiving degrees in Spanish Language and Literature as well as Education, she completed a music degree with Douglas Rubio at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (where she later taught as a full-time instructor for 4 years) and went on to earn a MM and DMA from the University of Southern California, studying with such luminaries as William Kanengiser, Pepe Romero, and James Smith.
Presently an artist in residence in New Mexico, Lynn is performing extensively as a soloist and is a member of two ensembles: Presti and the Tantalus Guitar Quartet. She is a guitar instructor for Sandia Prep and the University of New Mexico’s Music Prep Program, teaches for Central New Mexico Community College and after 7 years as the Tour Director for the Guitar Foundation of America has transitioned into the role of Director of Regional Symposia. A highly sought after private teacher, her students have received full scholarships to prominent universities, have won national competitions, and have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top”.