This week’s “Pick” comes from Down Under—specifically from noted Australian guitarist Matt Withers, who is one-fourth of the superb guitar quartet known as Guitar Trek (who are featured in the Summer 2106 issue of Classical Guitar) and also plays solo and with orchestras, as he does here on the beautiful second movement of Australian composer Nigel Westlake’s Antarctica: Suite for Guitar and Orchestra. The movement is called “Wooden Ships” (no relation to the rock classic) and it features some beautifully lyrical playing from both Withers and the National Capital Orchestra, as well as a slightly mysterious-sounding solo passage. The concerto was derived from Westlake’s score for the 1991 IMAX film Antarctica, and was originally written for John Williams. (Westlake’s other film scores include both Babe films and Miss Potter.)
Withers is also a guitar teacher and founder of the Matt Withers Australian Music Composition Competition. He was recently honored by being nominated for a prestigious Freedman Fellowship, which he hopes will help him with his third Composition Competition, to be held in 2018. For Withers, it’s all about finding exciting new repertoire for the solo classical guitar, and fostering composers in his native land. Good luck, Matt!