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New York Guitar Festival Announces 2012 Concert Series

The festival boasts over 35 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock, traditional, and avant-garde styles.

New York, NY (December 17, 2011) — Following its many successes since 1999 (with rave reviews in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Jazz Times as well as sister festivals in Urbana, Illinois and Adelaide Australia), the New York Guitar Festival announces its 2012 season of concert performances, January 6 though January 29.

The festival boasts over 35 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock, traditional, and avant-garde styles. Participating venues include The World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, Merkin Concert Hall, The 92nd Street Y, and Rockwood Music Hall. Concerts range from an all-day Guitar Marathon interpreting classical guitar music of Italian composers (featuring, among other internationally-famous musicians, Eliot Fisk, Bill Kanengiser, Jason Vieaux, Nigel North, and Hopkinson Smith) to tributes to the legendary jazz guitarist/composer Jim Hall and the influential musician/producer/visual artist Brian Eno.

A new addition to the festival includes an Alternative Guitar Summit, curated by the guitarist/bandleader/composer Joel Harrison, and taking place at Rockwood Music Hall. Featured artists include Nels Cline (Wilco), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Mark Stewart, Liberty Elman, Dave Tronzo, and Ben Monder. Joel Harrison’s curatorial goals are “to present master improvisers, free-thinkers, those who reject category and style and are radically imaginative. Ideally they are under-appreciated and have not won any polls. I wish to present these players in unusual contexts, outside of their normal trio or quartet settings, mixing generations and approaches.”

The festival also has a history of commissioning remarkable original works, and the 2012 season breaks yet more new ground by presenting 11 classic silent films by Buster Keaton accompanied by original scores performed live by a spectacularly rich and varied coterie of guitarists including Kaki King, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Keller Williams and Gyan Riley.

Concert Schedule

World Financial Center’s Winter Garden
Battery Park City, bordered by West Street, the Hudson River, Vesey and Liberty Streets.
Tickets and information: (212) 945-0505 -

Friday, January 6, 8:00pm

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Brian Eno's tribute to the NASA moon landings, Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, the New York Guitar Festival presents a rare live performance of this masterpiece featuring the Brooklyn, ambient ensemble Itsnotyouitsme, legendary guitar master Larry Campbell, and special guests Noveller, Tortoise’s Jeff Parker, Phish’s Mike Gordon and others to be announced. The performance will also feature scenes from Craig Teper’s documentary, Man In The Right Seat, about Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell.

Merkin Concert Hall
Goodman House, 129 West 67th Street
Tickets and information: 212-501-3330 -

Tuesday, January 10, 7:30 p.m.

Silent Films/Live Guitars:
• Dan Zanes & Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
• Gyan Riley & Buster Keaton's The Goat (1921)

Grammy winner Dan Zanes, a member of the 80s band the Del Fuegos and current front man for Dan Zanes and Friends, is equally at home with rock, Broadway tunes, Latin American music and the gospel tradition among other genres and has collaborated with artists ranging from Lou Reed and Roseanne Cash to Carol Channing and the Pilobolus Dance Company. His wildly popular family concerts regularly sell out venues like Carnegie Hall. For the NYGF, Zanes premieres his original score for Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent film Steamboat Bill, Jr., in which a young Mississippi steamboat captain falls in love with the daughter of his father’s business rival. “Buster Keaton’s movies always look to me like the most graceful sculpture I’ve ever seen but which upon close examination is only a pile of driftwood and bent nails. I hope to reflect that in my music” commented Dan Zanes.

Gyan Riley, whose diverse work focuses on his own compositions, improvisation and contemporary classical repertoire, performs as a soloist and in various ensembles, including performances with Zakir Hussain, Dawn Upshaw, the San Francisco Symphony, the Falla Guitar Trio, the World Guitar Ensemble and his dad, the composer/pianist/vocalist Terry Riley. At Merkin he will premiere a score for Buster Keatons' The Goat (1921), in which Keaton's character gets mistaken for a murderer with a price on his head.

Thursday, January 12, 7:30 p.m.

Silent Films/Live Guitars:
• Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth & Buster Keaton's Cops (1922)
• Kaki King & Buster Keaton's The Scarecrow (1920)
• Buke & Gase (Buster Keaton film TBA)

Co-founder of the alternative rock band Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo is #33 on Rolling Stone's list of “Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” He will perform the New York premiere of an original score (commissioned by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts) to Buster Keaton’s 1922 silent film Cops, a short comedy about a young man who gets on the bad side of the Los Angeles Police Department during a parade and is chased all over town. Keaton’s response to the 1921 Fatty Arbuckle scandal - the actor/director was accused of assaulting and accidentally killing a woman, a charge that ended his career even though he was eventually acquitted by a jury - Cops portrays a well-intentioned man who just can’t win, no matter hard he tries. Lee Ranaldo commented "normally I couple my abstract guitar explorations with equally abstract films, but in this case I'm really looking forward to applying the sounds I make to the magical world of Buster Keaton films and his distinctive brand of physical comedy. It should be an interesting and unexpected combination..."

The sole woman and the youngest artist in Rolling Stone's 2006 list of "The New Guitar Gods" list, Kaki King collaborated with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack for Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. She will perform an original score to Buster Keaton’s 1920 short comedy Scarecrow, in which Keaton plays a young man whose pursuit of a farmer’s daughter takes an unexpected turn when he falls into a hay thresher and ruins his clothes.

For more information:
New York Guitar Festival