The Bristol Classical Guitar Society was delighted to be able to announce recently the acceptance by Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas of the title of Patron of the Society. Rightly so – Rojas is fast becoming one of the most sought-after guitarists in the world, and the series of events that have led to such an honour is one of those delightfully improbable but thoroughly fitting chains of coincidence that are the spice of any walk of life.
Berta Rojas is, of course, a name, and a performer, familiar in the guitar world. Those of us who heard her in England in the autumn of 2009, and at the West Dean festival this year, are fully aware of our good fortune. Her undisputed command of the work of her compatriot Agustín Barrios, and the adventurous and enchanting new repertoire she has brought to the platform through albums such as Terruño are becoming legendary.
So it was a rare chance that on a visit to Paraguay a BCGS member should unexpectedly find himself chatting to Rojas’ ex-press officer, and that back home, an afternoon of phone calls to UK guitar societies should lead to none other than Chris Gilbert. Chris, well known for his 40 years’ experience in the thick of the UK guitar scene, and Tony Lewis at the head of a Bristol Guitar Society he had only recently reformed after four wilderness years, together jumped at the opportunity to host one of the world’s most talented guitarists. A solid friendship has ensued, and as the new Bristol Classical Guitar Society continues to gain momentum, she seemed the obvious figure to approach as its first Patron.
Berta Rojas http://www.bertarojas.com
Adam studied guitar at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff under John Mills. In 2012 he won the annual RWC Guitar Prize and later graduated with 1st Class Honours. He is currently Head of Guitar at The Hereford music school. It has always been a pleasure to welcome Adam as a member, and its first sponsored student.
A full-time luthier since 1994, Rik has his workshop in the midlands, near Coventry. Rik has been a speaker, visitor and supplier of instruments to the BCGS since 2010. Through his innovative instrument design and his book The Guitar Maker’s Workshop, he has gained national and international renown. It is a great pleasure to count him as a Friend.
Having studied under the Hungarian masters, Zoltan moved to Bristol in 2009 and has continued to rais the level of the classical guitar in the area through his teaching, by sharing his wonderful skills as a musician with the BCGS as member and MD from 2010-2012, and by being instrumental in bringing both Sandor Papp and the Katona Twins to perform memorable concerts in Bristol. https://mgrmusic.com/teacher/zoltan-farkas/
Originally from Argyll, in Scotland, Pete studied luthiery in London, and has been making contemporary classical guitars for twelve years in his studio in Somerset, and now back in Blairmore, Argyll [http://www.petebeerguitars.com/]. He has supplied instruments to players in the BCGS and further afield including to Roland Chadwick. He was featured in the December 2011 edition of Classical Guitar magazine, and also in 2015 – http://classicalguitarmagazine.com/british-luthier-pete-beer-is-building-sustainable-instruments/
Helen James arranges for and leads the BCGS Ensemble group. She is widely known in the region as a teacher of classical and folk guitar and for her involvement in such innovative musical projects as Brejeiro and Duo Recado. Helen also leads a singing group and performs as a classical guitar soloist and in a folk singing duo. www.helenjames.net
The success of the BCGS Concert Series is due in no small part to Jane Debney. Jane is a professional graphic artist and web designer, whose love of the classical guitar prompted her to contribute to the life of the guitar community with her work. Jane has for several years designed and produced, free of charge, all of the BCGS’ concert publicity, programmes and tickets.
Alan is an experienced teacher of classical guitar, and has on occasions stepped in to lead the BCGS ensemble group in Helen James’ absence.