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PREVIEW | Five Guitars: The Ottawa Guitar Trio With Simon Farintosh & Adam Batstone

By Anya Wassenberg on July 10, 2024

L-R: Simon Farintosh & Adam Batstone; Ottawa Guitar Trio (Nathan Bredeson, Alex Bougie and François Lacelle) (Photos courtesy of the artists)
L-R: Simon Farintosh & Adam Batstone; Ottawa Guitar Trio (Nathan Bredeson, Alex Bougie and François Lacelle) (Photos courtesy of the artists)

Despite some notable exceptions, the guitar doesn’t make it to the classical music stage very often. Outside the genre, instrumental music as a whole is a hard sell in the world of mainstream culture.

That’s a status quo that the Ottawa Guitar Trio, and their colleagues in music Simon Farintosh and Adam Batstone, would like to change. Add to that the notion of blurring the genres, and mixing up jazz, video game music and other styles as the muse strikes, and you’ll get an idea of the music mix on offer.

The Ottawa Guitar Trio — Nathan Bredeson, Alex Bougie and François Lacelle — with Simon Farintosh and Adam Batstone, will be performing an eclectic program on July 27 at Annette Studio in Toronto.

The Music

The program is varied, and includes Western classical music along with video game music and other genres as arranged for guitar(s), with work by Takashi Yoshimatsu, Jun Senoue, and Aphex Twin, among others.

Takashi Yoshimatsu is a Japanese contemporary classical music composer. A native of Yoyogi, Tokyo, he studied other subjects through high school, in the hopes of making it to medical school. It wasn’t until he was a teenager that he discovered Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and eventually became an apprentice to poet and composer Teizo Matsumura — at the same time he was studying at the Faculty of Engineering at Keio University.

While his early work was atonal, he’s largely known for his later compositions in a neo-romantic style, with influences from jazz, rock, and Japanese classical music. He has composed a significant body of classical music, along with film scores, including the well known score for Astro Boy (2003).

A native of Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, Jun Senoue began his musical career as a rock guitarist, and became perhaps even better known as a video game composer, notably for the Sega Sonic Adventure game.

Aphex Twin, aka Richard David James, is a British composer, musician and DJ, known for his innovative and influential work in contemporary electronic music.

‘Petiatl cx htdui’ from Richard D. James’ 2001 album Drukqs performed live by Simon Farintosh & Adam Batstone at the Metropolitan United Church, Toronto (May 2024):

The Performers

The Ottawa Guitar Trio

The trio was formed in 2018, and has performed at the Ottawa Chamberfest’s Chamber Pints series, the Ottawa Guitar Society, the Guitar Alla Grande festival, Rideau Hall, the Ontario Art Gallery, and Dominion Chalmers United, among others.

Arrangers as well as performers, the Trio has adapted a broad range of pieces for guitar, from film and video game scores to pieces from the Western classical canon that weren’t written for the instrument. They also focus on showcasing the work of local and emerging composers for the guitar.

  • Based in the Ottawa region, Alexandre Bougie is a performer and teacher. He earned a Bachelor’s (magna cum laude) and Master’s degree in classical guitar performance studying under Patrick Roux at the University of Ottawa.
  • Award-winning guitarist and composer Nathan Bredeson studied at the University of Ottawa with members of the Canadian Guitar Quartet at the University of Ottawa, and went on to complete a Master’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
  • Classical guitarist, teacher and arranger François Lacelle is based in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. Originally self taught, he began pursuing formal studies at Cambrian College, later earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in classical guitar performance at the University of Ottawa.

Guitarist, composer and educator Simon Farintosh is a native of Victoria, BC. He’s become known as a performer who makes innovative programming choices, including blending classical guitar with electronica and jazz. His EP Aphex Twin for Guitar (2021) has garnered more than 2 million streams on Spotify.

Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Adam Batstone earned his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree from the University of Toronto. The award-winning guitarist has performed across North America as both a soloist and a member of the Altius Guitar Duo.

  • More information about the July 27 concert at Annette Studios [HERE]

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