Happy birthday (July 22) to the great William Kanengiser, who is both one of my favorite guitarists and one of the most interesting, articulate, and downright cool people I’ve encountered in the classical guitar world! Best known as the co-founder and driving force behind the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, he’s also a highly regarded teacher and a fantastic solo player who can work in any style, from the early classical repertoire to modern pieces. He has been a tireless advocate for many young players and so many contemporary composers, and it seems like he always finds time to lend a hand to important events and causes. He’s always been there for the larger classical guitar community.
My Video Pick to celebrate Bill’s birthday is a marvelous performance from 2009 of one of the most famous pieces in the instrument’s repertoire: Grand Solo by Fernando Sor (1778–1839; it was written around 1805). It’s a glorious work, full of life and energy and so wonderful passages. Here, it is in the hands of a modern master. Enjoy! —Blair Jackson