Annual ‘WELCOME HOME’ guest artist Eli Schille-Hudson has “deep roots” in Bellingham, down to the instrument he plays on

Authored by AUDREY KELLEY

The origin of 2013 Dake Traphagen guitar played by classical guitarist Eli Schille-Hudson, this year’s ‘Welcome Home’ guest artist, perfectly symbolizes the journey and upbringing of this emerging young artist. Like the hands that play it, this guitar was made in Bellingham, Washington.

Bellingham roots

Born and raised in Bellingham, Eli is a veteran of the Bellingham Youth Jazz Band, Bellingham High School choirs, and Washington State Solo and Ensemble competitions. Eli developed a serious interest in classical music at 15. “I heard one recording of the Australian guitarist John Williams playing Augustin Barrios’ La Catedral around that time and was totally entranced by it,” he said in an interview via email. He studied privately with Jordan Batterman, participated in masterclasses at Western Washington University, and is currently in his final year of undergraduate studies in classical guitar at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Eli Schille-Hudson practicing at home in Bloomington, Indiana
Eli Schille-Hudson practicing at home in Bloomington, Indiana

He recently placed 2nd in the Undergraduate Instrumental category at the 2016 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale competition, and 4th at the 2015 University of Louisville Guitar Competition. On January 7, we welcome this award-winning musician home to Bellingham for a special performance highlighting the gems and lesser known works in guitar repertoire.

The ‘Welcome Home’ performance

The first two pieces Eli will perform are much-loved standards of the classical guitar repertoire. The recital opener Sonata in C Major (1812), was written by Italian composer and guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani. Humor and wit are elements listeners may not consider when hearing classical music, but they are elements which composers of the era often sought to express musically. Eli plans to “[explore] the sense of humor that sometimes underlies classical era sonata forms. . .Giuliani hams it up a little bit, so I’ll try to as well.”

Unfortunately you can’t ask Mauro Giuliani what exactly is so funny in his Sonata in C Major, because he is dead.  However, Eli had the opportunity to ask living composer Tilman Hoppstock about his recent work Twelve Studies for Guitar.  This is a rare opportunity for a performer and an equally rare opportunity for listeners, as Eli is one of the only Americans currently showcasing this work.

Listeners have an opportunity to hear two lesser-known pieces in the canon made famous by Andrés Segovia. These Spanish works, the Turina Sonata (on the first half of the program) and Piezas Characteristics by Federico Moreno Torroba (on the second half) were both composed in 1931 and will melt the heart of any Spanish classical guitar fan. The first movement of the Torroba, titled Preámbulo, can be heard on Segovia’s 1958 GRAMMY® Award-winning album Segovia Golden Jubilee.


RECOMMENDED RECORDING: Segovia Golden Jubilee (1958)
This album won the 1958 GRAMMY® Award for Best Classical Instrumental segovia-album-coverPerformance. Eli Schille-Hudson will perform one of the pieces featured on this famous Andrés Segovia album at our ‘Welcome Home’ Concert January 7.
Listen on Spotify | Listen on iTunes

The second half opens with the highly virtuosic Bach Partita in C Minor. (Eli says, “the audience can look forward to some bizarre stretches of my left hand in a couple of spots!”) Get a preview of what we have to look forward to by watching the video below of Eli performing this work at his Junior recital in September 2015. For more videos, subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

The evening culminates in fireworks with Leo Brouwer’s Sonata.  The sonata is demanding both technically and stylistically, making it a popular competition piece. The LA Phil’s music database Philpedia describes the menagerie of musical influences at work in Brouwer’s composition  in this article:

After a prelude, the main section of the first movement combines the Spanish fandango with the Cuban bolero in an edgy sonic puzzle. There is a quotation from Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony near the end of the movement, and Brouwer likens his form to that of the first movement of the “Pastoral.” The Sarabanda does conjure something of late Scriabin mystery, but it also suggests Satie in its floating reveries and ostinatos. In the finale, Brouwer quotes and remixes Bernardo Pasquini’s Baroque “Toccata con lo Scherzo del cucco” (Toccata with the Scherzo of the Cuckoo) in a dramatic and sardonic context of patterned arpeggios and violent snap pizzicatos.

After an evening like this, Bellingham audiences will not want to let this musician leave without promising to return to his hometown from time to time.

Guitarist Eli Schille-Hudson will perform on January 7, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham located at 2401 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham, Washington.

Tickets are available at the door for a $15 suggested donation for adults and free for students.

Program

Sonata in C Major, Op. 15 (c. 1812) ………………… Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)

Allegro con spirito

Adagio

Allegro vivace

Sonata (1931) …………………. Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)

Lento—Allegro

Andante

Allegro vivo

From Twelve Studies for Guitar (2011) …………..Tilman Hoppstock (Allan Willcocks) (b. 1961)

Le Gibet de Ravel

Weeping Willows

A Summer Breeze

Still Waters

Reflections

Children Playing

A Gale is Blowing

INTERMISSION

Partita in C Minor, BWV 997……………………Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Prelude

Fugue

Sarabande

Gigue—Double

Piezas Características (1931) ……………….Federico Moreno Torroba (1891-1982)

Preámbulo

Oliveras

Melodía

Los Mayos

Albada

Panorama

Sonata (1990) ……………………………Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)

Fandangos y boleros

Sarabanda de Scriabin

La toccata de Pasquini

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