Local Guitarists In Love with Music – Strings Attached

February 20, 2012 5:00 AM

(credit: Jesse Thompson)

By Joanne Greco Rochman

In a word association test, the names “Les Paul”  and “Jimi Hendrix”  would undoubtedly be followed with  the response, “guitarist.” However, there are many incredibly gifted guitarists.  In CT there are so many great guitarists in so many different genres that just listing them could fill a book. That said, here are three top guitarists who have caught the ear of many devoted fans. What is so fascinating is seeing how they came into their special field of music.
michael coppola credit jesse thompson Local Guitarists In Love with Music – Strings Attached

(credit: Jesse Thompson)

Michael Coppola

(203) 913-8803

Here’s a guitarist who knows no boundaries, including the strings of his guitar. That’s why he came up with the idea of the 9 string “Hydra.”  Playing guitar since he was 11 years old, Michael Coppola’s music developed through the combination of classical finger-style studies and lessons with  jazz artist Sal Salvador. He pursued his education at the Boston Conservatory of Music; in Austria, at Die Hochschule Fuer Music, where he studied serial and atonal composition with Guenther Kahowitz, and later in Manhattan with jazz master Walter Bishop Jr.

“I have always loved jazz piano and I couldn’t get that sound on my guitar,” explained Coppola adding that with the 9 strings he does get the sound he wants.  The combination of the extra strings with the traditional strings has made it possible for Coppola to achieve a unique dissonant sound that is not available to other guitar players. His album “Return of the Hydra” was chosen as a top ten pick for the year 2002 in Coda Magazine. In July of 2004, Coppola attended the CAAS festival in Nashville, TN, and began incorporating the music styles of Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Albert Lee and others into his own unique style (Monster Guitar).  The master guitarist performs at national guitar shows, Namm, festivals and concerts as well as smaller venues in New England. He is also on the New England Commission for the Arts Touring Roster.

Recently, he performed at the Blue Note in New York City, a premiere jazz club. “It was definitely a personal  high point in my career,” he said adding that the stage was still hot from legendary jazz pianist and composer, Chick Corea.

Daniel Corrcord@hcc.commnet.edu
(203) 500-0517“A guitar is not usually the instrument your parents choose for you,” said classical guitarist Daniel Corr, who is making his mark as a classical guitarist. He didn’t start out that way. Corr started playing guitar on his mother’s nylon string guitar at 10 years old. He moved into his teen years playing an electric guitar in a lot of different Rock bands.  It was one of his teachers who introduced him to classical guitar and by the time he started looking at colleges and majoring in performance, classical guitar served him well. He was accepted at the Yale School of Music.  “It’s not an uncommon story,” he said adding that he still loves Rock, but gets great satisfaction from classical guitar and hopes to write some of his own music.  His biography lists several impressive competitions including winning the 1st prize at the 12th Northwest Guitar Competition held at the University of Idaho, a top prize at the SUNY-Potsdam Crane New Music Solo Performer Competition adjudicated by composer George Crumb, and he has been cited as the recipient of Yale’s prestigious Eliot Fisk Prize as the “outstanding graduate in guitar” in 2001. In 2006, Daniel was awarded the Certificate of Excellence from the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“I enjoy playing with orchestras, although orchestras do not include guitars, so when I’m invited it is as a guest to perform with orchestras for solo pieces,” explained Corr. The accomplished musician, who also teaches, stressed that the guitar is not lacking in any way, but it is quite a bit softer than the other orchestral instruments. Daniel holds the Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale School of Music where his principal guitar teacher was Benjamin Verdery. He has also performed in master classes for maestros David Russell, Paul O’Dette, Pepe Romero, Oscar Ghiglia, and the great Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza, which was broadcast on RTVV Spanish television.

Arildo De Souzaarildochagas@hotmail.com
(203) 275-6279Arildo De Souza, who grew up in Vitoria, Brazil, knows a lot about Jimmi Hendrix. According to his website, De Souza shared a room with his older brother who was a diehard Hendrix fan even though the brothers lived in Brazil. “My brother was my first musical influence. He lived like an American even when we were in Brazil. “I got my first guitar when I was 10 years old,” explained the popular guitarist who plays regularly at various CT clubs and restaurants and is always in demand.  His bio tells it all –  “While studying at the Sao Paulo School Of Music I gathered my love of instrumental, bossa nova, jazz, tropical, American folk and classic rock. Now through my words and my music I am happy to share this with you. I pride myself of giving you all of me. All of my complex and simple ways of telling a story, and sometimes MY story, is through music.”

One only needs to hear him play to understand how true a statement he has made. Check out his website for where he’ll be playing next. I caught him playing at La Zingara in Bethel, CT, but he’s also a regular at Bossa Nova in Stratford and pretty much has a gig somewhere all over the state.

Joanne Rochman is the arts editor of “The Fairfield County Review,” a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Republican-American” and Hersam-Acorn Publications. She can be reached at jgrochman@gmail.com

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