Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra Performs in Northampton, Massachusetts

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The Center for the Arts is pleased to present composer, performer and guitar innovator Peter Blanchette directing his critically acclaimed Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra (“HVGO”) at the First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton, on Friday, April 26 at 7:30 pm.

Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra's annual spring concert highlights the work of composer Frank Wallace, featuring the premiere of his Nuevas Cantigas with selections arranged by Blanchette. Wallace himself will offer a special demonstration/performance of the pieces in their original form. In addition, HVGO has enhanced its unique repertoire to include music of Russian piano masters Mussorgsky and Shostakovich as well as 15th century French courtly dance music.

Blanchette on HVGO’s new music, “The orchestra is sounding better than ever now that we have expanded our section of classical players. We have tackled some really nuanced meter changes in Renaissance dances, making them swing, adding colors, dynamics, and even special effects to give it an otherworldly sound.”

HVGO is an avant-garde music ensemble, founded by Peter Blanchette in 2009, comprised of more than 20 talented acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. HVGO is a resident performing group of the Northampton Center for the Arts, and is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Frank Lucchesi Trust, and New Music USA’s Creative Connections Program.

Though known as a Bach specialist, Blanchette (http://www.archguitar.com) has a repertoire of unusual and celebrated musical arrangements that run from medieval to contemporary to ethnic styles. Blanchette is the recipient of WFCR Foundation’s 2011 Arts & Humanities Award for Outstanding Individual, and is a veteran performer of such venues as NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Town Hall, New York City, Dingle International Film Festival, and WGBH Boston’s live radio broadcasts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and children. They are available in advance at http://www.hvgo.org, and at the door from 6 pm on the evening of the performance. Details and a link to ticket sales are at http://www.nohoarts.org.

Calendar note: In addition to the concert, HVGO will host a free workshop on arranging and composing for the guitar with guest composer Frank Wallace on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 pm at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton. Preregistration is recommended but not required. Please email interest to bookhvgo(at)gmail(dot)com. The collaboration between Wallace and HVGO is funded in part through New Music Creative Connections Program.

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Madeline Weaver Blanchette
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