Guitarist Matt Withers, musician with a mission, fosters talent at home and abroad
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Guitarist Matt Withers, musician with a mission, fosters talent at home and abroad

Guitarist Matt Withers in recital at the National Arboretum

Sunday, November 23 at 1.00pm

Matt Withers

Matt Withers

Margaret Whitlam Pavilion

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Tickets: $35 and concessions

Matt Withers

Matt Withers

NO TICKETS AT THE DOOR

Bookings: www.trybooking.com/75241

Matt Withers is a man on the move. Barely back from a trip to Sweden and France he was off again with Guitar Trek to Dubbo to complete the group's national tour which included concerts in Adelaide and at Sydney Opera House. This weekend, November 7-8, Guitar Trek will play at the Glebe Music Festival in Sydney and last weekend there was another Sydney event: a dance competition with wife, Emma.

Canberra lovers of fine guitar music will be able to enjoy a special event when Withers plays a recital at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at the National Arboretum on Sunday, November 23. Against a backdrop of the panorama that stretches eastwards beyond Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Ainslie Withers will play a selection of classical guitar favourites including Asturias by Isaac Albeniz and La Catedral by the Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios. He will transport his audience to the gardens and fountains of the Alhambra Palace in Granada with perhaps the most famous tremolo piece written for guitar: Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega.

The concert, appropriately titled Music with a view, will also feature the winning works from the inaugural Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition.

As Head of Guitar at the University of Canberra Withers is very aware of the need to provide young Australian composers and performers with repertoire. "I really want to support the next generation of composers," he says. "Musicians can't survive without composers." There were more than 20 entries from around Australia for the competition. Jack Frerer from Sydney was the winner with Chloe Hobbs from Canberra taking second place and Clare Johnston from Melbourne third. At least two of the winners will be at the concert. "Their compositions are all classical and all three are quite different," Withers says. He will play some other pieces as well as these winning entries – quite a change of mood from these newly created works to oldies such as Somewhere over the Rainbow and Blue Moon.

Withers' trip to Europe was a busy three weeks. He was supported by the University of Canberra music department to take part, as an invited guest artist, in the Uppsala International Guitar Festival where he gave a seminar presentation on his PhD topic, 'The Entrepreneurial Guitarist'. He also gave a masterclass for students from around Scandinavia and adjudicated on the Festival's panel. It was an exciting musical environment where he met the noted Swedish guitarist Goran Sollscher who, for thirty years, has made recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the famous company begun in1898; the Paraguayan classical guitarist, Berta Rojas, and Jennifer Batten, who was Michael Jackson's guitarist.

In Stockholm Withers undertook staff development training at the Stockholm Pedagogiska which has just reached an understanding with the University of Canberra for music education, an initiative that will bring together music and musicians from north to south.

His visit to France, supported by the Canberra Versailles Association, included a solo recital at a church in Versailles and a performance at the Australian Embassy in Paris to welcome the in-coming Australian ambassador, Stephen Brady.

Next year Withers will be on the move again, this time to New Zealand, touring there in March.

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