Mak Grgić, well-tempered guitar
Special guest: Meagan Martin, mezzosoprano
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140
Flute Partita in A minor, BWV 1013
Christ Lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4
Violin Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001
Sheep May Safely Graze, BWV 208
Cello Suite in D major, BWV 1012
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, BWV 147
Interested in how a guitarist famed for his virtuosity and freeform musical swing responds to canonized Bach? Last year, Mak Grgić launched an album consisting of some of the most beloved Bach works which earned him a prestigious Grammy award nomination. He plays the compositions on his special well-tempered guitar which reproduces the tuning style used by Bach himself. We are in for an evening of discoveries and an exhilarating fusion of formal rigidity and artistic reinterpretation, of spiritual depth and dancing joy, as the guitar virtuoso is joined by the rising star of American opera, the excellent mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin.
One of Slovenia’s most successful guitarists, Mak Grgić is renowned for artistic versatility and sparkling showmanship inspiration which turn each of his performances into musical evolution. Born in Ljubljana, Grgić has developed an international career dedicated to composed and improvised music with a performing opus ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque to classical Spanish repertoire and new contemporary music, all the while delving with gusto into the fields of mixed genre and pop music too. Starting his education with Professor Ante Čagalj at Elly Bašić Music Academy in Zagreb, he then continued his path at the Viennese University for Music and Performing Arts, graduating in the class of Professor Alvaro Pierri. He pursued advanced studies at the Thornton School of Music at the University of South California under the mentorship of William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant, ultimately becoming an assistant lecturer at USC. He collaborates with numerous distinguished musicians and groups. He founded the flamenco-oriented Duo Deloro with Adam Del Monte and FretX Duo with Daniel Lippel focusing on new music. Some of his most acclaimed engagements have been his tours in China, Japan and the Balkans, the debut in Russia in 2009 with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, concerts and residencies in prestigious halls and institutions in the USA, Spain and Portugal. Aside from his intense performing schedule, Grgić is also an active organizer and artistic director, heading EuroStrings (a collaborative of seventeen European guitar festivals), the Zagreb Guitar Festival, the student concert series Music @Rush Hour in LA and the educational youth program Elemental Guitar in Santa Monica.
Mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin is gaining notice as an enthralling, versatile artist in the world of classical singing. The first-place winner of the Hershey Felder Award for Classical Musicians, she is equally comfortable in Baroque and avant-garde repertoire and thrives in presentations that range from strictly traditional to wildly unconventional and cross-disciplinary in nature. Recognized by OPERA Magazine for her “fine coloratura technique,” Meagan has studied with bel canto legends Vladimir Chernov, Marilyn Horne, Teresa Berganza and Silvana Bazzoni Bartoli. She has appeared with organizations including LA Opera Connects, Music Academy of the West, Teatro Nuovo, Pacific Opera Project, Festival Internacional de Panticosa, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Astoria Music Festival, The Rally Cat, Gxrlschool, and Opera UCLA, where she completed her graduate studies under the guidance of Chernov and director Peter Kazaras. Role highlights include Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia; Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte; Asteria in Gluck’s La Corona; and the title roles in Handel’s Amadigi and Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s The Tragedy of Carmen. Enthusiastic about new music, Meagan sang the title role in the world premiere of Juana by composer Carla Lucero, for which she was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “great glory”. She has also commissioned and sung the world premieres of two song cycles inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in Los Angeles and New York City with the score by Aferdian Stephens. Other staged performances of contemporary repertoire include Sara in Cold Mountain by Jennifer Higdon, Fanny Price in the chamber opera Mansfield Park by Jonathan Dove and the title role in Lucrezia by William Bolcom.