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Kurt Rodarmer (Guitar, Arranger)

Born: Michigan, USA

The American guitarist, Kurt Rodarmer, wanted to plasy the guitar from the age of 6. Although not from a musical family, his abilities did not go unrecognized. He exhausted the musical resources of his native SW Michigan by the time he was 8, and it became evident that a master instructor was needed. His parents sought out Maestro Jack Cecchini, who accepted Kurt as his youngest student. For the next several years Kurt's father took one day off work each week to drive him to his lessons in Chicago, a 6-hour round trip plus several hours at the studio. Kurt's first performance at the famous St. James Cathedral in Evanston, Illinois was at the age of 11, and his early youth is studded with recitals and performances at universities and auditoriums between Michigan and Illinois. His repertoire at that time consisted mainly of the standard Segovia set with a few additional modern works. At 16, Kurt was awarded a full honors scholarship to the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and later went on to study under the private tutelage of Maestro Andrés Segovia.

In Mexico, Kurt Rodarmer was introduced to Carlos Vázquez, that country's greatest pianist, maestro at the Conservatorio y Universidad Nacional, Angel recording artist and informally adopted "son" to Manuel María Ponce. Ponce had a tremendous impact upon the history of the guitar, having written much of Andrés Segovia's repertoire in addition to piano, vocal, ensemble and orchestral pieces. He was widely known for the popular romantic song from 1925, Estrellita. Through Maestro Vázquez Kurt was able to see and hear Ponce's music through the composer's eyes and ears, and studied from original manuscripts. One of these pieces, simply entitled Valse, is recorded in its original form on Kurt's first album, "Volume One" (1985). This album received wide air play and critical acclaim from the music world. While in Mexico, Kurt made a series of television and radio appearances, and played numerous concerts, including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, one of Latin America's most prestigious halls. For the inauguration of the "Centro Cultural San Angel", Kurt followed President Miguel de la Madrid as the hall's inaugural performer in a nationally televised concert. Throughout his career, Kurt has been frequently featured in the media, receiving television, radio and press coverage.

On the tail of this international success, Kurt Rodarmer began to consider his next project, one which would ultimately draw together the many threads of his experience and talents, and consume him for ten years: J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) for guitar.

Tangential to his performance career, Kurt Rodarmer has been actively involved in the advancement of modern guitar design. This has led him to be seen as a cross-functional link between the artistic and scientific communities, and has resulted in performances and lectures for such associations as the Acoustical Society of America, the Biology of Music Making, and the National Science Board in Washington, D.C. He was invited to perform at an international science symposium hosted by the island of Martinique.

Reflecting on his early experiences with Andrés Segovia, Kurt Rodarmer commented, "Perhaps the greatest impact he and his life have had on me is that one has to make the music one's own. Whenever Segovia's hands would touch the guitar - any guitar - the sound was 'inconfundible', unmistakable. This has been a goal of mine as well." Judging by the critical acclaim for the newly-completed Goldberg Variations - the transcription, the sound quality, the recording and the interpretation - Kurt is unerringly on target.

Source: Pangaea Productions Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2009)

Kurt Rodarmer: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Kurt Rodarmer (Official Website)
Kurt Rodarmer (Pangaea)

Kurt Rodarmer - An Introduction (Pangaea)

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