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Guitar virtuoso John Williams returns to the Globe with Berta Rojas and Paco Peña.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe has announced the return of guitar virtuoso John Williams for a weekend of candlelit concerts in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22, 2018.

Following sell-out shows in 2014 and 2015 described as ‘pure magic’ (Evening Standard), John Williams will return to the Globe to play a pair of concerts alongside two fellow world-renowned musicians, Berta Rojas and Paco Peña.

The weekend will mark an international celebration of classical guitar, whilst furthering the centuries-old tradition of acoustic concerts in London’s indoor playhouses. Speaking of the concerts, Williams commented: “It’s great to be back in the best and most intimate of spaces for us to play in.”

On Saturday, July 21, Williams will explore music ranging from Vivaldi to Venezuelan pieces, sharing the stage with Paraguayan guitarist extraordinaire Berta Rojas, whose repertoire will pay homage to her compatriot and classical guitar pioneer, Agustín Barrios Mangoré.

The following evening, Williams and Paco Peña will perform a selection of their favourite works in celebration of their 49 year friendship. Multi-award-winning guitarist Paco Peña will continue to redefine our perceptions of flamenco, whilst Williams will explore Spanish pieces from the sixteenth century onwards.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941, John Williams was taught by his father, afterwards attending summer courses with Segovia at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy and studying music at the Royal College of Music in London.

By the early 1960s he had performed in London, Paris, Madrid, Japan, the Soviet Union and the USA. He recorded originally for CBS and then Sony Classical and now has his own label, JCW Recordings. He has played for films such as The Deer Hunter (Cavatina) and A Fish Called Wanda. In 2007, he was presented with an Edison Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013 he retired from travelling and solo recitals, but is continuing to record and to join friends and colleagues for special projects.

Berta Rojas ranks among today’s foremost classical guitarists. She has been nominated three times for Latin Grammy Awards; in the category of Best Instrumental Album for Día y Medio – A Day and a Half, a duet with Paquito D’Rivera (2012), in the category of Best Classical Album, for her album Salsa Roja (2014), and more recently in the category of Best Tango Album, for her album History of Tango (2015), recorded with the Camerata Bariloche.

Paco Peña embodies both authenticity and innovation in flamenco. As guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer and artistic mentor he has transformed perceptions of this archetypal Spanish art form. In 1995, The New York Times declared: “Mr Peña is a virtuoso, capable of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man. He combines rapid-fire flourishes with a colourist’s sense of shading; this listener cannot recall hearing any guitarist with a more assured mastery of his instrument.”

Tickets (for both evenings): £10 – £62.

Times: Saturday at 7:45pm and Sunday at 6:45pm.