TEDxBoston 2013

Eliot Fisk

Classical Guitar Innovator

How can classical music deviate from the expected?

Guitarist Eliot Fisk plays Bach, Sor and Tarrega and talks about his special relationship with guitar legend Andres Segovia.




Eliot Fisk is a living legend in the world of the classical guitar. Since playing his first solo concert at the age of 13, he has performed the world over in recital, as a soloist with orchestra, in numerous chamber music combinations and in numerous cross-over and inter-disciplinary events. He is renowned as well for bringing classical music into unusual venues including schools, senior centers, logging camps, and prisons. He is the last direct pupil of the legendary Spanish guitarist, Andres Segovia, with whom he studied privately and developed an unusual friendship in the final decade and a half of the Maestro’s life. Eliot Fisk is also the last direct pupil of the great American harpsichordist, Ralph Kirkpatrick, with whom he studied interpretation at Yale University from which he graduated summa cum laude in 1976.

Eliot Fisk’s concert appearances and recordings have revolutionized the repertoire of the guitar both through his groundbreaking transcriptions of works by J. S. Bach, D. Scartlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Paganini, Albeniz, Granados, Ravel, Corigliano, Bolcom, Halffter and many others and through the numerous virtuosic masterpieces composed for and dedicated to him by composers as varied as Robert Beaser, Luciano Berio, Nicholas Maw, George Rochberg, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Kurt Schwertsik. His many recordings have won numerous prizes and even entered the Billboard charts as bestsellers.

Eliot Fisk is Professor of Guitar at the Universit├Ąt Mozarteum in Salzburg (where he teaches in 5 languages) and at the New England Conservatory in Boston. In these twin roles he has mentored several generations of young guitarists from all corners of the earth. Many of his students are now professors at important universities and carry on significant international careers. In 2010 Eliot Fisk was named Teacher of the year at the New England Conservatory and in 2006 received the Cruz de Isabel la Catolica from King Juan Carlos of Spain, an honor he shares with Yehudi Menuhin and Andres Segovia. In 2006 he founded Boston Guitar Fest, an international interdisciplinary event co-sponsored by the New England Conservatory and Northeastern University which has become a mainstay on the Boston cultural calendar.

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