Etheridge / Williams / Ryan

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John Etheridge, John Williams & Gary Ryan

6 Hands

After many years of playing together John Williams and John Etheridge are excited to announce that the classical guitarist and composer Gary Ryan is joining them in a colourful and varied programme of solos, duos and trios. Williams and Etheridge will play some of their most popular pieces together; Williams will also play Vivaldi's Concerto Opus 3 No. 9; and Gary Ryan will be playing his own "Benga Beat" which so excited the audience at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Globe Theatre) in June 2015. Duos will include Phillip Houghton’s "The Mantis and the Moon" played by Ryan and Williams, "Extra Time" played by Etheridge and Williams and "Malinke Guitars" by the trio. All pieces will be introduced by the players.

John Williams 

Born in Melbourne, Australia, John Williams can be regarded as a foremost ambassador of the guitar. He was taught by his father, afterwards attending summer courses with Segovia at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and studying music at the Royal College of Music in London. By the early 1960s he had performed in London, Paris, Madrid, Japan, Russia and the US: he has since toured the world playing both solo and with orchestra and regularly on radio and TV. Amongst his collaborations with other musicians, those with Julian Bream, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Previn, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Daniel Barenboim are particularly important. His other musical activities have included the groups SKY, John Williams and Friends, Attacca, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra with Paul Hart, Paco Pena, the Chilean group Inti-Illimani, and various collaborations with Richard Harvey. John Williams maintains a wide-ranging interest in contemporary music.  Examples have included his recording of music by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu with the London Sinfonietta, an album featuring the music of Peter Sculthorpe and Nigel Westlake called "From Australia" and his CD of music by the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, called "The Black Decameron", which includes Brouwer's Fourth Concerto. His many other recordings include several of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez", concertos by Richard Harvey and Steve Gray, “Vivaldi Concertos", "The Great Paraguayan", "John Williams plays the Movies", "The Guitarist" (which includes his own “Aeolian Suite” with string orchestra) the "Arpeggione" sonata by Schubert and "Concerto, Op.30" by Giuliani with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, in which he plays an 1814 Guadagnini guitar.  The highly successful "Profile" and "The Seville Concert", both directed by David Thomas for London Weekend Television's South Bank Show, are particular examples of John Williams’ enthusiasm for communicating music on television. In 2001 Sony Classical released his CD entitled “The Magic Box” in which his group “John Williams and Friends” presented adaptations of African music. This includes music from Senegal, Cameroon, Zaire, South Africa, Madagascar and Cape Verde. The group toured the U.K., United States, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia Germany, Spain and Italy.  Other recent releases by Sony Classical include his solo CD entitled “El Diablo Suelto”, a collection of Venezuelan music by composers including Figueredo, Sojo, Lauro, Fernandez and Gutierrez, “The Ultimate Guitar Collection” and duo CD “Places Between” with jazz guitarist John Etheridge, recorded live in Dublin. John’s most recent release is a solo CD ‘From a Bird’, a collection of his own pieces and some traditional Irish tunes, available online and Amazon. John Williams’ duo with Richard Harvey has seen them travel throughout the UK, Europe and the Far East with their “World Tour” programme. His “Together & Solo” programme with John Etheridge includes solo sets from each of them and together includes original compositions from both artists, music from Africa and the US, and a new commission by composer Paul Hart.  From 2016 John Williams plays recitals with the “6 Hands” trio alongside John Etheridge & Gary Ryan. In 2007 John Williams was presented with an Edison Lifetime Achievement award.  He plays often for films, such as "The Deerhunter" (Cavatina) and "A Fish Called Wanda", and also plays tennis (badly), badminton (average), chess (quite good), table tennis (better) and likes talking (about anything). He lives in London.

John Etheridge 

John Etheridge has been at the centre of the UK jazz and progressive music scene for some 45 years, and is very well known for his eclecticism and wide range of musical associations across musical boundaries. In fact, this Catholic aproach is really the hallmark of his work, although he retains throughout a personal vision which he brings to all projects. His associations have ranged from duos with John Williams to touring with Space Rock legends Hawkwind. From great jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli to jazz fusion pioneers Soft Machine. From Nigel Kennedy to duo with Police guitarist Andy Summers. These have been long term associations but he has also appeared with Jazz legends Pat Metheny, Billy Cobham, John Surman, Tony Williams, Gordon Beck, Birelli Lagrene, Dizzy Gillespie, Barney Kessel and many others. Born in London in 1948, Etheridge was sent to boarding schools where he took to music, particularly jazz and ‘60s rock as a way of establishing an identity in rebellion against authority. Typical of many teenagers of the period. The musical flame never died out however, and although completely self -taught, he managed to establish himself in the musical worlds that he aspired to. Initially playing in Progressive Rock groups in the early 70’s (most notably Darryl Way’s Wolf), he got a big break in 1975 being asked to play in the legendary group Soft Machine, replacing cult guitar legend Allan Holdsworth. Within 2 years of this he was touring concurrently with the great Stephane Grappelli, playing Hot Club style swing Jazz. These strands, superficially almost musically exclusive, continued for many years, and subsequent output has reflected the diversity of these two situations. After playing through the ‘80s with nearly every well-known figure on the UK Jazz scene, he started another long term association with a violinist; This time Nigel Kennedy, touring throughout the nineties on Jazz and Jimi Hendrix projects. During this period, Etheridge started forming his own groups, most notably Sweet Chorus (a tribute to Stephane Grappelli), Zappatistas (the music of Frank Zappa), Duos with Chris Garrick (violin), Andy Summers (guitar), a four guitar group with Gordon Giltrap, Clive Carroll and Ray Burley, as well as a reformed Soft Machine. He also discovered a taste for solo performance.  In 2000 he started what has turned out to be a 16-year association with John Williams, first in the group ‘Magic Box’. Then in 2006 they launched their duo with which they have toured the world many times over and in 2015 they asked Gary Ryan to join them. Etheridge has also written many compositions and countless ‘library’ tunes for television and radio and remains as busy as ever touring and recording, his latest recorded project being a duo with sensational new vocal artist Vimala Rowe.

Gary Ryan 

The British guitarist Gary Ryan has performed to international critical acclaim for over twenty years, recently becoming the first guitarist since John Williams in 1983 to be awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music in 2013 in recognition of his contribution to the instrument. Ryan studied from the age of 8 at the Guildhall School of Music Junior Department, where he won the Director’s Prize, and was later awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in 1987, where he studied with Timothy Walker. In 1991 he graduated with first class honours and many awards, including the Julian Bream Prize for guitar, the John Mundy String Prize and the Dorothy Grinstead Prize for an outstanding all-round musician. He then pursued post-graduate studies at the RAM with an award from the Fleming Trust and was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1997. Ryan made his London recital debut for the Park Lane Group Young Artists Series at the Purcell Room in 1994 (declared one of the highlights of the series by the Telegraph, Independent, Observer, Times and Sunday Times) and was subsequently invited to perform a series of recitals for the Kirckman Concert Society at London’s South Bank Centre. In 1996, at the age of 27, Ryan was then appointed as a Professor of Guitar at the Royal College of Music in London and currently combines a busy performing and composing career with his role there as Assistant Head of Strings.  His celebrated guitar compositions, which are regularly broadcast on Classic FM, have broadened the instrument’s appeal by combining traditional classical guitar technique with more contemporary guitar styles and a rich variety of musical influences from around the world. His solo work, Benga Beat, was premièred to great acclaim in 2011 and can be viewed on YouTube alongside other performances of his own compositions and works by Dowland, Bach, and Piazzolla.  Gary Ryan’s other compositions include: Scenes from The Wild West, Scenes from Brazil, City Scenes, Songs from Erin, Easy and Intermediate Scenes for solo guitar; Generator, Dreams Rest and Motion and Bazaar for guitar duo and Latin Cabaret for guitar trio. He has also composed three guitar ensemble works; Flower of the Field (National Youth Guitar Ensemble), The Tree on the Moor (City of Derry Guitar Festival) and Kerry Tales (Berkshire Maestros).  Recent other works include Shamal, Hot Club Français (both for solo guitar) and Nairobi Rhythms (for guitar and marimba / vibraphone) which was premièred at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in 2013 by Craig Ogden and Paul Tanner. He has also written a book of Piazzolla arrangements for solo guitar, Easy Piazzolla, (Boosey & Hawkes) and had many of his student pieces included on the guitar examination syllabuses for Trinity in the UK and for the AMEB in Australia. Gary Ryan’s guitars are cedar-top lattice-braced instruments made by the English luthier Stephen Hill (based in La Herradura, Spain).

John Williams - John Etheridge

"The two Johns delivered a dazzling display that travelled from Bach, through Vivaldi and Django Reinhardt". New Zealand Herald

Williams - Etheridge bookings - contact

John Etheridge/John Williams at Pizza Express **** (4 stars) August 09  Clive Davis 

Fusing world music, jazz and folk with a soupcon of Bach, this was an enchanting conversation between two masters Even when he is not playing John Etheridge makes delightful company. Whether mimicking a Radio 3 presenter or musing over the legacy of the late Les Paul, the guitarist turns his Soho residencies into the most intimate of gatherings.  Not surprisingly, the room was jammed full for his latest encounter with the classical virtuoso John Williams. For some reason Places Between, the live album released by Sony Classical a few years ago, did not receive the attention it deserved. Fusing world music, jazz and folk with a soupcon of Bach, it was an enchanting conversation between two masters from two very different traditions.  Some of the material cropped up in their opening night — part of a seven-night run by Etheridge that also featured his limpid Django-Grappelli band, Sweet Chorus. The centrepiece of the first set, though, was Ludwig’s Horse, an extended new work by Paul Hart which took polite liberties with a Beethoven theme. If the demure contours favoured Williams’s classical rigour, Etheridge made the most of the openings that came his way.  There was more of a rhythmic edge to Malinke Guitars, the phrasing evoking the spartan qualities of the kora. Throughout the evening Williams supplied delicate asides while Etheridge gently probed for improvisational possibilities. He opened up the throttle at the beginning of the second set as he switched to solid-body guitar for a solo sequence that included his exceptionally spacious treatment of Mingus’s Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat.  Electronic effects broadened his palette, and by the time he had moved on to the funky riffs of Green Onions he had conjured up his own miniature rhythm section. After Williams delivered his own unaccompanied performance on a collection of tunes, which included a homage to the Cameroonian musician Francis Bebey, the two men signed off with Extra Time, their ingenious reworking of a prelude from Well-Tempered Clavier.

The Association of Etheridge - Williams

John Etheridge and legendary classical guitarist John Williams goes back some 10 years to the formation of the "Magic Box" group which also featured Paul Clarvis, Chris Laurence and multi-instrumentalist Richard Harvey. This group toured for 3 years and made a cd for Sony records, a highlight was an appearance at the Proms. The next association was a short-lived trio WEB - Williams, Etheridge, Bebey. Bebey is the African Percussionist, pianist and singer son of renowned Cameroonian composer Francis Bebey.  Finally Etheridge and Williams decided to go out as a duo-making their concert debut at the National Theatre in Dublin,where they were recorded for Sony Records cd "Live in Dublin". Since then they have made 2 tours of USA-appearing at Carnegie Hall Recital Room, Chicago Symphony Hall, Seattle's Bene Royal Hall and other top venues. 2008 saw them in Australia and New Zealand, appearing at Sydney Opera House and Hamer Hall Melbourne, Auckland Town Hall and the other big centres. In Europe they have played Amsterdam's legendary Concertgebouw, the Cologne Philharmonic, the Montpelier Festival and many wonderful venues in Europe and England. The two John's play an eclectic mix that illuminates their highly different skills -complementing each other and bringing to the table a vast wealth of musical experience across the genres.


Live in Dublin - Place Between

Release Date: 2007

Available now on:

Recorded in July at the Dublin International Guitar Festival, this new live album from guitarists Williams and Etheridge is an effervescent jewel box of colour. It embraces everything from the West African makossa 'Sangara' by Cameroonian-born composer, singer and multi instrumentalist Francis Babey to the baroque stylings of 'Slow Dub', by way of a meditative reading of the delightful 'La Ultima Cancion by the great Paraguayan guitarist-composer Augustin Barrios Mangore. Other highlights include the high octane 'Extra Time' which segues seamlessly from a Bach-inspired opening to the intricate rhythms of it's minimalist conclusion, the dazzling interplay of Malinke Guitars in which the duo sound at their most Kora like, the three movement 'Peace, Love and Guitars' by Ben Verdery and the haunting simplicity of Mitopia by the Madagascan composer Rossy. 
Etheridge contributes a brace of tunes, the evocative and harmonically dexterous ballad 'Strange Comforts' plus the Gallic flavoured waltz 'Places Between'.
Peter Quinn 

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