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Letters 07-25-2016

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Home · Articles · News · Music · Interlochen Guitar Festival
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Interlochen Guitar Festival

Ross Boissoneau - August 18th, 2008
Expect the unexpected at this year’s three-day Guitar Festival at Interlochen Center for the
Arts. Artists as varied as Lionel Loueke from Benin in Africa, Pierre Bensusan from France, and Daryl Stuermer of the U.S. will be sharing the bill with regional and local favorites like Jabo Bihlman, Dan Kelchak, and festival organizer John Wunsch.
Stylistically, the music will vary from acoustic folk to gentle jazz to hard-rocking blues. Don’t forget fusion, world music and classical strains as well.
So in short, it will be exactly like years past: A potpourri of styles, all showcasing fluid fretwork. Wunsch says that has been the goal from the start.
“The first year, we started out with fingerstyle, classical, acoustic, jazz and flamenco. Last year we added pick style, with blues and rock, with slide and electric guitar,” he said.
This year features those same styles with the addition of jazz fusion, courtesy of Stuermer. Stuermer is probably most familiar as the touring guitarist with Genesis and Phil Collins. He also has an extensive background in jazz fusion, both through his association with electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and his own solo efforts, including “Go!,” from 2006.
Also new to the festival is the unique combination of world and jazz music of Loueke, whose solo album on Blue Note includes guest spots by jazz
titans Wayne Shorter and Herbie
Hancock. He’s also a member of
Hancock’s band. Not only does Loueke play guitar, he sings in an altogether unique manner that is completely integrated into his music.
In addition to the concert settings, the classes that are an integral part of the festival include a focus on the musician as a whole person. That means classes like Tai Chi for guitarists and classes dealing with performance anxiety, as well as more beginner and intermediate classes.
“It’s holistic, on the health of the musician and what we do for the community,” said Wunsch. “It’s more than just what we do as a musician. It relates to wellness and the joy of music and musicianship.”
The festival runs Aug. 21-23, with a program on Thursday including classical virtuoso Ana Vidovic, Andy McKee on harp guitar, and acoustic master Pierre Bensusan. Friday’s show features such guitarists as Bihlman, Wunsch, and headliner Loueke. Saturday’s show finds Stuermer headlining with guests Claudia Schmidt and Luke Winslow King.
Wunsch says the format features different performers and groupings in short “setlets” of about six minutes each. “It’s music, music, music, intermission, then more music” he said. “We don’t want to have large breaks between the tunes, so the stage will be preset with the performers ready to go.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. shows in Corson Auditorium are $25. For information, log onto Interlochen’s website at interlochen.org or call the box office at 800-681-5920.
 
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