Classiclectic Connection: Minneapolis Guitar Quartet at Northern Michigan University

Sep 5, 2019

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet in concert at Northern Michigan University, Sept. 25 2019
Credit Leslie Shank

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet will perform as a part of the NMU Music Department's Siril Artist Residency on September 25, 2019.

With profoundly moving performances expressing heart-felt intimacy to dazzling bravado, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has captivated audiences throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. From Bach to Piazzolla to Prince, MGQ’s eclectic programs are propelled by virtuosity and synchronization that come from decades of classical training and ensemble experience.

We had an opportunity to hear from the quartet as they began a busy day of events on Northern's campus:

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet joining us in Studio A to talk about their Siril Residency and Concert at Northern Michigan University
Credit Kurt Hauswirth / Public Radio 90

The foursome—Joseph Hagedorn, Maja Radovanlija, Ben Kunkel and Wade Oden—build an intimate and comfortable rapport with their audiences through their engaging stage presence and good humor. “More than a guitar quartet, more than superb musicians, and more than a great chamber group,” says composer/performer Daniel Bernard Roumain. “They are ambassadors of sound, style, and substance.”

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet’s highly varied repertoire includes their own acclaimed arrangements of music by Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi, Finnish folk musician Maria Kalaniemi, and classical composers Joaquin Rodrigo, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Their numerous commissions include Ian Krouse’s StarWaves, an exhilarating fusion of rock and classical music based on a song by British pop/rock musician Nick Drake. MGQ’s diverse and innovative collaborations include their new program for guitar quartet with choir, programs with flamenco dancer Sachiko “La Chayí”, and a program with Chinese pipa master Gao Hong. MGQ has been heard on the nationally syndicated radio program Saint Paul Sunday, and on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and been featured on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Minnesota Original”. They have also garnered unanimous international critical acclaim from its five CDs on the Albany, GSP, and innova labels.

The cultural accessibility of the guitar makes it a natural for MGQ's various educational and community engagement programs like its popular "Guitar Talk" for all ages. MGQ's newest educational offering is its “Guitar Ensemble Crash Course”, a 90-minute class introducing participants to the "hands-on" experience of guitar ensemble playing, culminating in a live performance. All members of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet are collegiate faculty members and frequently conduct master classes and workshops at festivals and universities throughout the United States.

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
Credit Leslie Shank

For more information, please follow on Facebook and Twitter @MplsGuitarQt and Instagram @mplsguitarquartet