David Russell’s Thoughts on Recital Programming

David Russell Performance Tips Guitar Recital Classical Guitar magazine

“There are many valid points of view in the elaboration of a program. The most obvious are a monographic program of one composer or one style, or a [program with] a variety of styles and composers.

“There must be a natural progression from one piece to the next, both for the listener and for the performer. Sometimes I find that an intellectually logical program ends up being uncomfortable in its execution. For this reason, I always try out the complete program to test it before I play it in public.

“The progression between pieces can be by contrast, by similarity, by relative tonality, by historical progression, or for many other reasons, all of them valid depending on the situation in which one is going to play. It is interesting to look for a scale of emotion so that the energy goes in crescendo during the whole concert.


“The most important thing for me is that the combination of pieces and composers must be comfortable for the listener and for the player. It would be wonderful to be able to have a specific program for every occasion, because each public is different. However, being realistic, I think that it is possible to choose a program that can offer enough variety and innovation to satisfy a wide diversity of audiences.”

—David Russell

And because we always like to leave you with some music, here’s Russell playing Agustin Barrios’ “Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios.