New York City
“The sounds he drew from the guitar were splendidly colorful and varied, the rhythms at once supple, steady and compelling.” – The New York Times
The first half of the program will trace the development of the flamenco guitar in the 20th century, with pieces by Ramón Montoya, Niño Ricardo, Sabicas, Mario Escudero, and Paco de Lucía. The second half will include Francisco Tárrega’s “Fantasia on Themes from La Traviata”, Robert Schumann’s “Arabesque” (in Mr. Koster’s transcription), three pieces written for Mr. Koster by Samuel Zyman, and his own flamenco compositions.
Dennis Koster first made his mark among New York flamenco aficionados while still in his teens, both as an accompanist for dance companies and as a featured soloist. He is one of the few guitarists to have learned the idiom directly from the great masters Mario Escudero and Sabicas, who distinguished Mr. Koster as “an exceptional interpreter of my compositions.” His 1975 debut as a classical guitarist was characterized as “a brilliant, aptly fantastic performance” by the New York Times, in a review which highlighted his strikingly effective transcription of Kodaly’s Sonata for solo cello. Mr. Koster’s concerts have long been known for their provocative and engaging mix of masterful classical transcriptions and flamenco selections. His most recent CD, on the Musical Heritage Society label, features his transcriptions of keyboard works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms; his previous release was Flamenco Clásico: Concert Solos for Flamenco Guitar, on the MusicMasters label. Mr. Koster has collaborated closely with the Juilliard-based composer Samuel Zyman on several works, and for many years he performed with the late George Mgrdichian, a renowned oud virtuoso, in a powerful fusion of Spanish and Middle Eastern musical traditions. He has been featured on the performing artist rosters of Affiliate Artists and the Lincoln Center Institute, and his teaching affiliations include Long Island University, the National Guitar Workshop, and the Stetson International Guitar Festival. Mr. Koster has lectured at institutions including The Juilliard School, Yale University, and the Hartt College of Music, and his acclaimed method, The Keys to Flamenco Guitar, is published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
Performances begin: December 15, 2023