Tidewater Classical Guitar - Artist Bios
November 9 & 10
Xavier Jara [Guitar Federation of America Winner]
American classical guitarist, Xavier Jara (1993), is the 1st prize winner of the 2016 GFA International Concert Artist Competition. A native of Minnesota, Jara was a student of Alan Johnston at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis until 2011 when he moved to Paris, France to study with Judicael Perroy.
Jara studied in Paris for six years with Perroy. During this time he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris where he also studied with French guitarist, Olivier Chassain, and lute master, Eric Bellocq. He received 1st place in a number of international competitions including the Viseu International Competition (2014), the Boston Guitarfest (2014), the Gargnano, Italy Competition (2015), the Ciudad de Coria Competition (2015), and the Tokyo International Competition (2016). In 2016 Jara returned home to the United States to win the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America’s Rose Augustine Grand Prize.
Jara's 2017-2018 concert tour begins in September 2017. He will perform more than 50 concerts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala & Panama, including a concert at Carnegie Hall (April 5, 2018.)
January 25 & 26
Matt Palmer has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. A recent recipient of the “Up and Coming Guitarist of the Year” award by Guitar International Magazine, Matt has been described by critics as “a young artist about to make a real dent in the world of classical guitar” (Premier Guitar Magazine), “highly expressive and technically virtuosic” (Modern Guitars Magazine), “a truly accomplished and refined musician” (Cleveland Classical), and “one of the world’s best guitar players” (The Royal Gazette). An active performer, winner of numerous guitar competitions, and author of The Virtuoso Guitarist method, Matt Palmer has gained worldwide recognition as a virtuosic and soulful concert artist.
His numerous CD and DVD recordings have been applauded by Guitar International Magazine as “of the highest quality…with flawless technique, deep levels of personal expression, and an artistic integrity that seems far too rare these days.” Classical Voice of North Carolina proclaims Matt’s “positively nuclear” recordings display “stunning precision and unwavering accuracy enclosed in a huge dynamic envelope.” In addition, Matt’s pioneering guitar method, The Virtuoso Guitarist, has been recognized as a valuable addition to guitar pedagogy, and “indispensable for any advanced guitarist or teacher to include in their library” (Classical Guitar Review).
Matt Palmer has collaborated with many important composers to write new music for the guitar, and has premiered and recorded over three hours of new works by Tanya Anisimova, Rafael Scarfullery, Sergei Rudnev, Giuseppe Torrisi, Roger Hudson, Olga Amelkina-Vera, Lane Harder, Konstantin Vassiliev, and Fedor Kondenko.
Matt Palmer holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Arizona, where he studied with Thomas Patterson and Artists-in-Residence David Russell, Sergio Assad, and Odair Assad. In demand as a performer, his recent concert engagements have taken him to venues such as Carnegie Hall, Shakespeare Theatre, Benaroya Hall, The Guitar Foundation of America International Convention, numerous universities, guitar societies, and dozens of international guitar festivals throughout the world. Matt is the Director of Guitar Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, and Coordinator of the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival and Workshop. Matt Palmer is a Strings By Mail sponsored artist and plays D’Addario strings. Matt plays a handmade guitar by luthier Michael Thames.
February 22 & 23
Todd Holcomb with Wayla Chambo, flutist
A rising force in the current classical guitar landscape, Todd Holcomb’s performances have been described as virtuoso and a force of nature. As a soloist and chamber musician he has been awarded top prizes in multiple international competitions. He regularly performs as a soloist and with the Tidewater Guitar Quartet and Tidewater Guitar Orchestra. Todd is a board member for the Tidewater Classical Guitar Society and a faculty member of Thomas Nelson Community College and the Governor’s School for the Arts. He holds degrees from Shenandoah Conservatory (BM), Peabody Conservatory (MM), and Columbus State University (AD). He is currently completing doctoral work at Shenandoah Conservatory where he studies with Julian Gray.
Wayla Chambo is a versatile, committed performer of both new music for flute and the traditional repertoire. She has appeared recently with the Norfolk Chamber Consort, Virginia Symphony, Virginia Children’s Chorus, and Christopher Newport University Opera, among other solo and ensemble performances, and maintains an active presence at national and regional conventions. Wayla is also a classical radio host on 90.3 WHRO-FM and a faculty member at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, VA. She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BM), CalArts (MFA), and the University of North Texas (Doctor of Musical Arts).
Duo Thalassa is a partnership between flutist Wayla Chambo and guitarist Todd Holcomb. Named for the Greek goddess who personifies the sea, the duo is based in Southeast Virginia, a region permeated by water in its many forms and moods. Duo Thalassa offers creative, engaging performances of a variety of repertoire in classical and folk-influenced styles, and is available for concerts, master classes, and private events.
Jiji [co-sponsored by the Virginia Arts Festival]
Applauded by the Calgary Herald as “…talented, sensitive…brilliant,” Jiji is an adventurous artist on both acoustic and electric guitar, playing an extensive range of music from traditional and contemporary classical music to free improvisation. Her impeccable musicianship combined with compelling stage presence and fascinating repertoire earned the Korean guitarist First Prize at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.
Following recent performances at the 92 nd Street ‘Y’ Guitar Fest and at Festival Napa Valley, Jiji has a busy 2017-18 season, featuring her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall on the CAG series, along with recitals for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Illinois, Lincoln Center in New York, Purdue Convocations in Indiana, and the Virginia Arts Festival (co-presented by the Tidewater Classical Guitar Society).
The Kansas City Star described Jiji as “A graceful and nuanced player,” adding that “…she presented an intimate, captivating performance” in its review of her recent appearance as guest soloist with Kansas City Symphony and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. Upcoming concerto appearances include the Great Falls Symphony (MT), Roswell Symphony (NM), and the Southwest Michigan Symphony.
Currently sponsored by D'Addario Strings. Jiji’s performances have been featured on PBS (On Stage at Curtis series), NPR’s From the Top, WHYY-TV, FOX 4-TV, Munchies (the Vice Channel), The Not So Late Show (Channel 6, Kansas), and Hong Kong broadcast station RTHK’s The Works.
A passionate advocate of new music, Jiji has premiered a duo piece Talking Guitars by renowned composer, Paul Lansky, and her subsequent studio recording of that work (with young Chinese guitarist Hao Yang) will be released on Bridge Records in the 2017-18 season. As a recipient of the 2017 BMI commissioning award resulting from the CAG Competition. Jiji has commissioned Nina C. Youngto write a new guitar piece scheduled for premiere in early 2018. She has premiered works by numerous emerging composers, including Gabriella Smith, Riho Maimets, Krists Auznieks, Gulli Björnsson, Andrew McIntosh, and Farnood HaghaniPour. She also performs her own compositions, incorporating electronic media and acoustic music, and she currently works as a composer with the Yale Repertory Theater, Yale Cabaret, and Yale school of Art. Her music is influenced by her regular activities as a DJ, where she highlights the electronic dance styles of happy hardcore and Berlin experimental electronica.
Recent performance highlights include a wide array of venues, including: Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, Miller theater, Mass MOCA, Subculture NYC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton Sound Kitchen, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her recent tour in Hong Kong consisted of performances collaborating with a performance Artist, a traditional Chinese instrument ensemble, and an Erhu player in art galleries, clubs, and even on a moving trolley.
As a chamber musician, she performed with members of Eighth Blackbird, members of one beat project, members of Bang on a Can All-Stars, Tanglewood Chamber orchestra, Wild Up, The Industry, cellist Tessa Seymour, and the Aizuri Quartet.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jiji (Jiyeon Kim) began playing classical guitar at the age of nine, and was accepted to the Korea National University of Arts at age fourteen. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Music for two years, where she studied with Jason Vieaux, and was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 as one of the first two guitarists in Curtis’ distinguished history. She graduated Curtis in 2015, as a student of Mr. Vieaux and David Starobin, and she recently earned her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with Benjamin Verdery. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, she enjoys cooking in her spare time and creating weird sounds on Ableton.