Performer Spotlight: Mesut Ozgen

Welcome to the Performer Spotlight section of the blog. This is a new addition where members (and non members) get the opportunity to share articles and comments about their particular favorite Classical guitarists.

I will start the ball rolling with one of my favourite guitarists: Mesut Ozgen.

Mesut Ozgen and I both share something in common. We both developed an interest in learning Classical Guitar while pursuing our respective university studies in the early 1980's (in Mesut's case it was medicine in Turkey while in mine it was teaching in Australia) and that we are both self taught. However that's where the similarity ceases. A high octane mix of talent and genius made sure that his career as a professional guitarist roared away while mine remained firmly at the starter's block .

Since then he has performed and taught master classes throughout the US, Spain and Turkey and has been on the guitar faculty at the University of California,Santa Cruz since 1998. He is the first Guitarist to be awarded the prestigious ' Deans Prize' from the Yale School of Music. He has performed at the International Paco Pena Guitar Festival in 1989 and 1900 and has studied with composer Benjamin Verdery at Yale University, School of Music.

While I wisely completed my teaching studies, I cannot say for sure whether Mesut completed his medical studies but he has completed his Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma at Yale. He has also been very busy working on a doctoral program at Arizona State University as well as performing in master classes for notable guitarists such as John Williams, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco and Leo Brouwer. His repertoire also includes early music for the guitar, baroque guitar and lute. He has also been very busy promoting classical guitar music based on a wide variety of American, Spanish, Turkish, Greek and Argentinean folk cultures.

One of my favourite pieces is his performance of Carlo Domeniconi's Variation on an Anatolian Folk Song (based on a folk song composed by Asik Veysel. It is a particularly beautiful piece and in Mesut Ozgen's hands it becomes sublime.

Another piece he delivers at top speed is the Paraguayan inspired piece Misionera by Bustamente which has been captured in this You Tube Clip. (Its a bit out of focus but stick with gets better).

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Mesut Ozgen is also keen to promote new compositions for Classical Guitar which is why I have enclosed a video of the performance of Ben Verdery's Pick and Roll by the USMC Guitar Consort which he conducts.

Further information about Mesut Ozgen can be accessed at his web site (along with further examples of his recordings. I would recommend his Troubadour CD as a must purchase!

If you have a guitarist that you would like to nominate (or better still, provide some background reading and links) please don't hesitate to respond using the comments link.

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