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Guitar 'wizard' comes to town

Guitar ‘wizard’ comes to town

For immediate release / 17 February 2006 / 380 words

2005 was a busy year for Australian guitarist Slava Grigoryan. He embarked on an international tour to Europe, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Serbia and Germany and made his solo debut in the US. In March, he will embark on his first New Zealand solo tour.

Slava will perform guitar music of Albéniz, Turina and Mudarra, and a collection of works from Spain, South America and Australia. “These programmes are a very eclectic range of pieces”, says Slava. “The instrument has a home in so many genres. I try different things and take these risks and enjoy changing musical ideas spontaneously.”

Slava migrated with his family from Kazakhstan to Australia in 1981 and has since become known as the "wizard" of the classical guitar. His mother was a viola player, his father a violinist and professional drummer. His father would perform classical concerts in the evening, and then go to smoky jazz clubs where he would play drums till the wee hours of the next morning.

Slava describes the atmosphere in the house as extremely busy, full of musicians rehearsing. “It was musical madness in our house”, he says. “My parents always had a hunger for listening and hearing new things and sounds … I couldn’t imagine not being influenced by that”.

Slava says a musical highlight of 2005 was travelling with brother Leonard (also a guitarist) to South Africa, where the pair visited an Aids Hospice and taught guitar at underprivileged schools. He says the talent and interest in music at the schools was high, but the resources were nil. “When you know it’s going to impact on people, you absorb so much by hearing what they do and it’s very rewarding.”

Slava will also be teaching New Zealand School of Music students when he gives a masterclass in Wellington on Friday 3 March. The masterclass will be held at the Concert Hall, New Zealand School of Music, Mt Cook Campus (Massey University), Wellington, at 6pm. This is open to the public; $10 at the door for adults and students free.

Slava’s New Zealand tour starts in March, with a fundraiser in Auckland on Thursday 2 March, and finishing in New Plymouth on Saturday 11 March. He says, “I can’t wait to visit; I really love your good food and wine!”

For more information, log onto, email or ph 0800 CONCERT (266 2378).

Chamber Music New Zealand gratefully acknowledges major funding from Creative New Zealand.


Slava in recital – NZ solo debut

Auckland – Thursday 2 March, Epsom Grammar Girls School, 7.30pm. Tickets $40 - $60, book at EGGS, ph (09) 623 4564 or email
Invercargill – Saturday 3 March, Centrestage, 8pm. Tickets $30, book at TicketDirect, ph (03) 211 1692 (transaction fee may apply).
Dunedin – Tuesday 7 March, Glenroy Auditorium, 8pm. Tickets $55, book at Ticketek ph (03) 477 8597 (service fees apply).
Nelson – Wednesday 8 March, Nelson School of Music, 8pm. Tickets $50, book at NSOM ph (03) 548 9477 (transaction fee may apply).
Napier – Thursday 9 March, Century Theatre, 8pm. Tickets $55, book at Century Theatre, ph (06) 835 7781 (transaction fee may apply).
Palmerston North – Friday 10 March, Regent on Broadway, 8pm. Tickets $50, book at TicketDirect ph (06) 357 9740, or 0800 4TICKET (484 253). A transaction fee may apply.
New Plymouth – Saturday 11 March, Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace, 8pm. Tickets $50, book at Ticketek ph (06) 759 0021 (service fees apply).

About Slava

Slava’s father loved the guitar but couldn’t play it. It is not surprising to learn that Slava’s 6th birthday present was a guitar. By 13, he knew it was his calling. He didn’t think it was possible to make a living from being a musician, but was determined nonetheless. “I had a taste for it”, says Slava. “There are so many challenges and tests for anyone, and lots of setbacks. It’s such a small world with such a limited audience. When I decided this would make me happier than anything else, and if I could survive, then I’d be happy.”

At 18, Slava left Australia to travel the world. Meanwhile, Slava’s younger brother Leonard was also feeling the benefit of the family’s musical lifestyle and took up the guitar. Slava returned to Australia four years later to Leonard had grown up to become an accomplished guitarist and the Grigoryan Duo was born.

As a major prizewinner at the Tokyo International Classical Guitar Competition, Slava was signed by Sony Music Entertainment in 1995. Slava's debut classical album for ABC Classics, Sonatas and Fantasies, was awarded Best Classical Album at the 2002 ARIA Awards. Subsequent releases include Play, recorded with his brother, and Saffire, recorded with The Australian Guitar Quartet, and winner of the 2003 ARIA Best Classical Album award.

Slava last visited New Zealand in 2001 with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This will be his first tour for Chamber Music New Zealand and a rare opportunity to hear the baritone guitar.

Slava programme

Progamme 1 (Dunedin, Nelson & Palmerston North)

MUDARRA: Fantasia No 1 & 10, Romanesca

SOR: Variations on a Theme by Mozart 'Das klinget so herrlich' (from The Magic Flute), Opus 9

MORENO TORROBA: Suite castellana


TURINA: Fandanguillo

SMITH BRINDLE: El Polifemo de Oro (Four Fragments for Guitar)

ALBÉNIZ: La Torre Bermeja, Sevilla

WILLIAM LOVELADY: The Sounds of Rain

Programme 2 (Auckland, Southland, Napier & New Plymouth)

J S BACH (arr S Grigoryan): Cello Suite No 1 in G major BWV 1007 performed on Baritone guitar

KAPSBERGER (arr G Koch): Toccata Arpeggiata performed on Baritone guitar

MORENO TORROBA: Suite castellana

VILLA-LOBOS: Five Preludes

ALBÉNIZ: La Torre Bermeja, Sevilla

WILLIAM LOVELADY: The Sounds of Rain

For more information on Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2006 artists, please contact Communications Co-ordinator Rachel Service on (04) 384 6133 or email

About Chamber Music New Zealand

Chamber Music New Zealand presents local and international chamber music ensembles throughout New Zealand. Chamber Music New Zealand’s Celebrity Season brings the world's finest chamber music ensembles to nine centres around the country. Feature artists vary in nationality and style. All share a high reputation for virtuosity and vitality. The Associate Societies programme presents the top local musicians to smaller centres throughout New Zealand.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2005, fosters the musical stars and composers of the future. The contest the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only national chamber music competition for young musicians and composers in the country. The National Final will also feature a performance of the winning Original Composition.


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