Daniel Bolshoy - Classical Guitarist - Teacher
A new generation of classical musician February 2011
The whole passionate package 2007
Links to more information about Daniel's teaching, CDs and Concerts
UPDATE 2019: Daniel Bolshoy has now taken up residence in downtown Vancouver. In addition to performing, Daniel has been appointed to the position of head of the classical guitar division at the University of British Columbia School of Music. He is also the head of the guitar department at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music where he gladly welcomes everyone, "anyone who wants to take lessons." He is committed to bringing the passion and excitement of playing guitar to anyone who wishes to learn, both amateur and professional, and any age. While his students have won awards in competitions, and scholarships to leading Universities and Conservatories, he is committed to bringing the guitar to the attention of audiences everywhere, from prestigious international concert stages to remote villages and house-concerts.
A new generation of classical musician
An interview article by Rosemary Phillips,
This interview article was written in preparation for Daniel Bolshoy’s performance in February 2011 with the Vancouver Island Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Pierre Simard. Besides being a magnificent guitarist Daniel is an engaging performer who communicates with his audience – and – he has matinee idol good looks. Eric Friesen of CBC Radio has said, “He's the whole passionate package.”
Dreams coming true
Dreams do come true, particularly for guitarist Daniel Bolshoy. “I am moving to Vancouver this summer to take a position as head of the guitar department in a brand new school of music,” explains Daniel who has been teaching at Concordia University in Montreal. “My dream was to start my own department, and this is an answer to that!”
This brilliant musician with matinee idol good looks, is described as “the whole passionate package”. He has played worldwide with orchestras, at music festivals and outreach and education concerts, and has developed a reputation as an engaging performer who communicates with his audience.
“British Columbia has become my favourite place to be,” adds Daniel who was born in Moscow but raised in Israel. He has toured extensively throughout this province with ArtStarts and Jeunesse Musicales Canada. “I get a good sense of the population that way. Of course the big hope is that the young people I see will go to classical concerts. No one says you have to be old to like classical music. I come from a school (in Jerusalem) where young people were really passionate about it. The school combined visual arts and science with the idea being to create multi-disciplinary students – well informed scientists, mathematicians and musicians. It brought kids from all over the country to study – Muslim, Jew and Christian.”
While Daniel himself started out with electrical rock and roll, he soon found his true passion and life-calling with the classical Spanish guitar. That passion extends to encouraging the young and even giving advice through his web site. “I tell kids that if you really want to do this, it is possible. Go for it! It’s amazing how many doors will open.”
And Daniel is living proof – as his own dreams unfold - but not without extensive training (at Toronto, Denver and Indiana universities) and plenty of experience in practice and performance.
Says Daniel of Joaquin Rodrigo’s popular Fantasia para un Gentilhombre. “The story of this piece begins with Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez . It was written for a Spanish guitarist, and Segovia, the high priest of guitar, never played it because it wasn’t dedicated to him. Fourteen years later Rodrigo wrote this work for Segovia in hopes that he would be forgiven. The tunes are by 17th century composer Gaspar Sanz. Rodrigo orchestrated them for modern guitar and orchestra. When playing it you can’t help but have a smile on your face the whole time. It’s happy music. It feels like you are in a museum in Madrid where you see the great works of the Spanish masters, very colourful, refined, like in the golden age of Spain.”
But wait, there’s more! “I got married six months ago,” adds Daniel. “My wife Perry is a surgeon who loves music. She comes to as many concerts as she can. The position with the new Vancouver Symphony School of Music is coming at the perfect time for us to settle in one place and start a family!”
In his new role as husband, Bolshoy has expanded on another interest. “I have been cooking quite a bit, and this is something I enjoy. It has become a hobby now that I have someone to share it with.” So Daniel has some recommendations for those coming to his Spanish guitar concerts, to help embrace the warm and sunny air of Spain; “Have a Spanish style meal with Queso Manchego cheese (from the La Mancha region), a dish of paella, and drink some good red wine (such as Rioja or a good Okanagan wine, but be sure to take a taxi); and after the concert, some tapas.”
The whole passionate package
An interview article by Rosemary Phillips,
This article was written for Daniel's performanc at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
From rock to classical guitar
Daniel has been a resident of Canada since he was 17. He was born in Moscow and at the age of three he moved with his family to Israel. It was there he first picked up a guitar. “I started my studies on piano, then when I was old enough and noticed that girls liked guys with guitars I made the switch. In middle school I was really into electric guitar and the 80's rock stars, like Jimi Hendrix. I found someone to teach me; he was a classical guitarist and really great.”
Then he attended a very unique high school. “It's a boarding school in Jerusalem that combines visual arts and science with the idea being to create multi-disciplinary students – well informed scientists, mathematicians, musicians. It brought kids from all over the country to study - Palestinian, Muslim, Jew and Christian. I had friends who were really amazing musicians. They would give me inspiration and advice. Some already had incredible careers at the age of 14.”
Guitar becomes his life
But it wasn't until Daniel arrived with his family in Canada that he realised classical music and the guitar were to be his life. “I went to the University of Toronto, then to the University of Denver where I got my Masters in Music. I worked for a year in Arizona then taught while I was working on my doctorate at Indiana University, the biggest music school in the world. Now I teach at Concordia University in Montreal.”
Today Daniel performs solo and chamber music recitals in some of Canada's most prestigious halls, appears as a guest artist with orchestras across North America, and has performed around the world for music festivals and for outreach and educational concerts for the young. “The farthest place I have been to date is Macao, the Portuguese Island now part of China. The far north of Canada also sticks in my mind, with outreach concerts in the North West Territories. I haven't been to Africa or Australia - yet.”
Communicates with audiences
It's not hard to tell that Daniel loves to share his talent and knowledge. “I love to talk with the audience. I think it's part of the concert – a way to introduce the instrument. My goal is to introduce the guitar to people who have not heard it before. Myself I have three guitars. Sometimes they are friends, when things go well. Sometimes we are not on good terms. One guitar is built by a maker from Tatlayoko BC. It may only be one year old but it has small parts on it made from 10-million-year-old mammoth tusk – older than any ancient instrument!”
Besides introducing the guitar he likes to tell stories and jokes about the pieces and the composers, to make them less foreign. “It breaks the formal recital into an informal chat.”
Through ArtStarts in British Columbia, Daniel was able to tour schools throughout the province, and this year he is touring the country with Jeunesse Musicales Canada out of Montreal. “I get a good sense of the population that way. Of course, the big hope is that the young people I see now will go to classical concerts later. No one says you have to be old to like classical music. I come from a school where young people were really passionate about it. They were still kids – there was nothing different about them – they just liked classical music.”
Daniel's passion for reaching the young even extends to giving advice through his web site. “I tell kids that if you really want to do this, it is possible. Go for it! It's amazing how many doors will open.”
When he's not performing or teaching Daniel is getting to know his new home, Montreal. “I try to be with people because so much of what I do is solitary. And Montreal is so into food.” His favourite food? “When I come to Vancouver I try to fill up on Sushi; there's something very artistic about it. But I also like to eat a good steak!”
And his future? “I would love to do a lot more of what I am doing now – and to start a guitar program at a university, with a department focused just on guitar.”
Links to information on Daniel Bolshoy
For more information about concerts, biography, videos, CDs, visit Daniel Bolshoy's web site and Richard
Paul Concert Artists.
For information about Daniel's teaching at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music visit his VSO School of Music web page.
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