The World of Guitar Quartets


When four guys who play classical guitar get together to form a quartet, they need music to play.
That is what faced the founding members of the Canadian Guitar Quartet in 1999.
While the world of classical music has produced a veritable trove of string quartets, Haydn and
Beethoven did not write music for the guitar. So what to do?

When the Canadian Guitar Quartet performs at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium on Friday,
March 11, at 7:30 p.m., they will provide a rich sampling of the two-fold answer to that
question—adapt or create.

The remarkably talented members of the ensemble have done both. Louis Trépanier has arranged
many works for their group from the wide range of musical forms. In this concert you will hear
his take on Mozart and Brazilian bossa nova.

To open the second half of the program, the quartet will perform Empty Houses, a four-
movement work composed by one of the performers Renaud Côté-Giguère. This piece is inspired
by memories of his childhood homes and his child’s notion that they remained forever empty
after he left.

Renaud’s compositions have been recorded by CBC and ATMA. He reached the finals of the
Portugal International Composition Competition with a work for solo guitar.

But the Canadian Guitar Quartet has not been left only to its own resources to produce music for
their configuration. An entire world of classical guitar quartets has grown around the world.
There are quartets across the US from Baltimore in the east to Los Angeles in the west and from
Minneapolis in the north to Georgia in the south. Guitar quartets can be found across Europe
from Ireland to Poland. England has quartets in London and Manchester.

On Friday you will hear an imaginative work entitled Pulsar composed by Olga Amelkina-Vera,
a guitarist and professor in Texas. She wrote it for a school in Florida. The St. Louis Guitar
Quartet has also commissioned a piece from this talented composer.

Don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy at taste of this vibrant musical form. Tickets are available
online at at $28 for adults and $15 for students. Doors will open
at 6:45 p.m. Provincial health orders require that proof of vaccination and ID be presented and
that masks be worn while inside.

I look forward to seeing you at the concert.

John Wiebe
The Valley Concert Society