Happy 60th birthday (June 2021) to the incomparable Czech-born guitarist Pavel Steidl, who is certainly among the most unique and expressive players I’ve had the pleasure to see perform. Sometimes I can’t tell whether he’s playing the guitar or the guitar is playing him! Anyway, to celebrate this milestone birthday, here’s a September 2018 performance at the Church of Santa Maria del Camino in Carrion de los Condes, Spain, from a concert paying tribute to the great and much-loved luthier Robert Ruck (who died at age 72 in August 2018). He performs three parts of the Suite in G major by lutenist and Bach predecessor and contemporary Jan Antonín Losy (1650–1721).
Maestro Stedl has been a fixture on the classical guitar scene since the early ’80s, when he won the Radio France International Competition in Paris. Since then, he’s played all over the world and recorded many fine albums (including ones devoted entirely to Legnani, Mertz, Coste, and Paganini). As that list indicates, he specializes in Romantic-era music, but let’s not pigeonhole him. As this video shows, and the programs of many of his solo concerts and sporadic ones with the wonderful European Guitar Quartet also attest, he is master of music from every era! Truly, one of the best! —Blair Jackson