By Carrie Beth Wallace
This weekend, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra will perform with some special guests. The orchestra will be joined by the Texas Guitar Quartet out of Austin, Texas. The ensemble, founded in 2009, has been called “impeccable in every respect” by Classical Guitar Magazine.
The quartet is compromised of four classical guitarists: Issac Bustos, Jay Kacherski, Alejandro Montiel, and Joseph Palmer. Of the four, Palmer has the closest ties with Columbus. He attended the Schwob School of Music and graduated in 2009.
Since graduating from Schwob School of Music, Palmer has gone on to win seventeen top prizes in international guitar competitions including the World Guitar Competition and Guitare Montreal. He is known as one of the most highly engaging and dynamic young performers on the American guitar scene.
We corresponded with Palmer to learn more about his return to Columbus, his time with the Texas Guitar Quartet, and why he thinks CSO's Las Guitarras is set to be an unforgettable concert.
Q: Are you looking forward to returning to Columbus to perform? Why?
A: Absolutely! Columbus is such a nostalgic place for me. In my four years there I underwent tremendous personal and musical growth. I'm sure many of my fellow alumni could say the same for themselves. Every time I return all of those experiences hit me in a wave of nostalgia. My last performance/visit in Columbus was in 2015 for the Guitar Studio's Alumni Concert, and now to return with the quartet and perform with the CSO will be such a tremendous delight. Q: How did you find yourself as a member of the Texas Guitar Quartet? Where do you all tour and perform?
A: This month marks just one year since I joined TxGQ. I have known Isaac, Jay, and Al for years, as we all had our graduate studies at UT Austin with some overlap. However, I was certainly surprised when I received a call from Isaac saying they needed a new member and wanted me to join. Of course, I couldn't refuse. In this past season we've had a couple of performances in Canada, North Carolina, Louisiana, and several throughout Texas. We're particularly excited about our upcoming tour this July where we will perform in 13 different cities throughout China.
Q: Have you performed under Del Gobbo before?
A: I have not, but I certainly remember seeing him conduct the CSO many times while I was a student at the Scwhob between 2005-2009. What an honor to be on the other side of the baton a decade later!
Q: What is the greatest challenge for our ensemble when performing with an orchestra? How is the experience different from one of your normal concerts featuring just the Texas Guitar Quartet?
A: The greatest challenge in performing with an orchestra or large ensemble is having to be so intimately familiar with your own part that you can put the majority of your focus on watching the conductor and listening carefully to all the musicians around you to create a cohesive whole with only 1-2 short rehearsals. In addition, this will be TxGQ's first performance to be played entirely from memory. All of this makes for a whirlwind of an experience that is both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
If You Go
What: CSO's Las Guitarras
When: January 26, 7:30 p.m. with a pre-show Trivia & Tapas Party at Circa Craft Cocktails prior to the concert! (Admittance is free with your concert ticket.)
Where: Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
More to Know: Tune into to Facebook and Instagram on Saturday night (January 26) for live coverage of the pre-show event and a post-concert review after the concert!
Lear more about the concert's repertoire: Vaughan Williams | Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis