Happy Bastille Day! In celebration, I thought I would catch up with two fine French classical guitarists – Gaëlle Solal and Gabriel Bianco – and their lockdown activities, and also revisit the spectacular Bastille Day concert under the Eiffel Tower, with Xuefei Yang performing the second movement of the Concerto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo.
Gabriel Bianco has been very busy during the lockdown and continues to give concerts and collaborate with other musicians, including being part of the guitar quartet, Quatuor Éclisses with Arkaïtz Chambonnet, Pierre Lelièvre and Benjamin Valette. Since September 2018, Gabriel Bianco has been a Guest Teacher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and is very proud of his students there. He writes: ‘I just want to share with you my arrangement of Vivaldi that we played with my class in Amsterdam’:
Gaëlle Solal is often performing in a guitar duo with guitarist Boris Gaquere under the name Crazy Nails but during the lockdown, her duo collaborations have taken her much further afield; she has been working on one of her most exciting projects:
her collaboration with the dancer and choreographer, Julien Carlier, premièring Trajectoires with him at the Unlocked festival at La Rafinerie-Charleroi Danse, Brussels in July.
They also we did an online version of the duet for the Spring Forward Festival organised by the European platform Aerowave
During the lockdown Gaëlle Solal recorded this concert live, at the Palazzo in Brussels, until the title of Tuhu – around Heitor Villa-Lobos performing music by J.S. Bach, Villa-Lobos, Guinga, Gismonti, Nazareth, Garoto and traditional Turkish music.
Gaëlle Solal has launched online classes: more details
On Bastille Day 2019, the guitarist Xuefei Yang was invited to perform in the Open Air Concert at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Here is the clip of
Xuefei Yang as soloist in the second movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo with the Orchestre nacional de France, conducted by Jaap Van Zweden before a live audience of 500,000.
For those who might be feeling extra nostalgic, here is the full concert in Paris from 14 July 2019:
© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2020