ELIOT FISK (b 1954 )
A born risk-taker and a restless, imaginative virtuoso, Eliot Fisk has brought an entirely new dimension to classical guitar performance. His repertoire includes a large body of guitar music created by him through commissions as well as his own transcriptions of works by J.S. Bach, D. Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Granados, Albéniz and others. Voted Best Classical Guitarist in the 26th annual Guitar Player Magazine Readers’ Poll, Mr. Fisk has performed at private receptions for President Clinton and for the Spanish Royal Family in the legendary Andalusian city of Granada.
Eliot Fisk’s many repeat solo engagements in major halls throughout the United States, Europe and Asia are complemented by numerous concerto appearances with orchestra and performances in a wide variety of chamber music combinations. In addition to his regular partner, flutist Paula Robison, he frequently performs with flamenco guitarist Paco Peña, master of castanets Lucero Tena, Turkish music specialist Burhan Öçal and the Shanghai Quartet. He has also performed with Victoria de los Angeles, Gidon Kremer, Ruggiero Ricci, double bassist Gary Karr, the Chilingirian and Juilliard Quartets, and late jazz guitarist Joe Pass.
In addition to his appearances in Europe, Eliot Fisk’s schedule for 2001-02 includes performances with the Louisville Orchestra, the Arlington Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony, as well as several performances as soloist on the Barcelona Symphony’s tour of the United States. Recital performances will take him to Boston, Houston, New York and San Francisco, among other cities. Last summer he participated in the Spain Guitar Festival, the Highlands (N.C.) Music Festival and the Sermonetta Festival in Italy.
Among the works dedicated to Eliot Fisk are Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XI for solo guitar, premiered by Mr. Fisk in 1988, and Chemin V for guitar and orchestra, premiered in September 1992 by Mr. Fisk and the Orchester der Beethovenhalle in Bonn led by the composer.
Other works written for Mr. Fisk include George Rochberg’s Muse of Fire, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and performed by Mr. Fisk and Paula Robison during the hall’s centennial season in 1991; Robert Beaser’s Mountain Songs (also for the Fisk-Robison duo) available on a MusicMasters disc nominated for a 1987 Grammy Award; and solo guitar works by Mr. Beaser, Mr. Rochberg and Nicholas Maw. At the express recommendation of Andrés Segovia, Eliot Fisk worked with Ernesto Halffter to revive that eminent Spanish composer’s Concierto for Guitar and Orchestra for a performance with the Spanish National Orchestra under Victor Pablo in Madrid. He also recently collaborated with Christobal Halffter to transcribe his solo violin Sonata for solo guitar. In 1996 Emilia Segovia, widow of the great Andrés Segovia, granted Eliot Fisk exclusive first performance and recording rights to a number of recently discovered composition of the Maestro. Mr. Fisk’s recording of these and other works on MusicMasters, “SegoviaCanciones Populares” entered the Billboard chart of classical best sellers.
Mr. Fisk’s numerous other recordings have also received exceptional acclaim. His release of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, in his own transcription for guitar, climbed to 14th place on the Billboard classical charts and elicited exceptional critical accolades from around the world. His transcription and 1994 recording of George Rochberg’s Caprice Variations on MusicMasters (51 variations on the 24th Caprice of Paganini) have also generated rave reviews and the enthusiastic endorsement of the composer. Mr. Fisk has also recorded for EMI and Arabesque. For Naxos, Mr. Fisk has recorded Leonardo Balada’s Conceirto Magico with conductor José Serebrier and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his performing career, Eliot Fisk has a deep commitment to teaching. His class at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, includes students from a dozen different countries, many of them top prize winners in international competitions. In 1996 Mr. Fisk also joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he hopes to make his lifelong interest in musical outreach programs in schools, churches, prisons and senior citizens centers an integral part of NEC’s activities. During the 2001-02 season he will participate in the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series, a series of free outreach concerts throughout the neighborhoods of New York City.
Mr. Fisk’s numerous transcriptions are published by Ricordi (Milan), Guitar Solo Publications (San Francisco), Union Musical Ediciones (Madrid) and Max Eschig (Paris). A native of Philadelphia, Eliot Fisk earned his M.M.A. degree from Yale University, where he studied with harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick. Immediately after graduation he was asked to found the Guitar Department at the Yale School of Music. In 1974 he was introduced to his idol, Andrés Segovia, who coached him privately for several years. In 1981 Segovia wrote: “I consider Eliot Fisk as one of the most brilliant, intelligent and gifted young artists of our time, not only among guitarists but in all the general field of instrumentalists. His clear and flexible technique, his noble style of interpreting the beauty of classic compositions as well as the colorful music of today, put him at the top line of our artistic world.”