Source: From the Top at Carnegie Hall: "Singing, Strumming, Skating"
You can see the full episode and a more complete lesson plan at the From the Top at Carnegie Hall Web site.
Exclusive corporate funding provided by Liberty Mutual. Additional funding provided by the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Helen and Peter Bing, and the E.H.A. Foundation.
In this performance video segment from From the Top at Carnegie Hall, 17-year-old guitarist Kimani Griffin of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, plays a lovely movement from “Aquarelle” by Sérgio Assad. Listen for the pensive and calm qualities of the music, and imagine the concentration that is required to play with such expression.
Seventeen-year-old Kimani Griffin from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has a passion for classical guitar and speed skating. He has devoted equal time and energy to both activities over the past ten years and it has really paid off! In addition to being an exceptionally talented classical guitarist, Kimani is also a champion speed skater who competes on the national level. He recently received an endowment from the U.S. Olympic Committee to continue his training in Utah for the 2010 Winter Games under two-time Olympian Derek Parra.
Kimani sees an overlap between his seemingly different interests, specifically in their rhythm. When he skates long distances, Kimani sets a rhythm, which he compares to a metronome, that he needs to follow for the entire race. If he sprints too fast, then he won't do as well in the race. He compares this to the rhythm of playing a guitar; if he starts off too fast, the song won't sound right. Kimani feels he could never do one of these activities without the other. Although playing the guitar doesn't give him the same rush as winning a race, Kimani feels that, "knowing that you nailed a piece is the same basic feeling."
Sérgio Assad, born in Brazil in 1952, is a guitarist, composer and arranger who frequently works with his brother Odair Assad, also a guitarist. He is well known for composing original music, as well as adapting works by others, such as Astor Piazzolla, for the guitar. His comfort with many different genres has made him popular with fans of classical, jazz, folk, and "world" music. In 2008, he was appointed a professor of guitar at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The piece Kimani performs is called "Aquarelle." Aquarelle is a French word that refers to a technique of painting with watercolors in a transparent, rather than opaque, way.
To learn more about Kimani's musical life and to hear him play on From the Top's radio program, check out Teenagers Ring Out the Classics in Rochester.
To hear a story on National Public Radio about the Assad brothers and listen to a recent recording, check out Sergio Assad and Odair Assad.
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