Grisha: Pinnacle of Classical Guitar, by Austin Davenport
Grisha Goryachev represents a pinnacle of classical guitar. The man is a perfect example of what the instrument, and the player, are capable of. When I heard that my ensemble is going to perform with him, I was not only excited for another great performance with a professional, but I was also given the chance of writing about what it’s like. Honestly, I can’t believe the luck and privilege I have to be able to do this!
If I was to guess who Grisha studied with, I’d say Eliot Fisk. When he performs he gives the same level of separation as Mr. Fisk. They both make it seem as if they are non-existent and only the guitar is performing. Along with that, Grisha just has amazing speed. Turns out I was right, Grisha studied with Mr. Fisk at New England Conservatory of Music.
Grisha is the type of guitarist I wish to be when I get older. The music he plays is strange and abstract, but when you hear it and take it in it fills you with emotion and awe.
My favorite thing, and something he and I actually have in common, is that we don’t look at the guitar so much when we perform (though he does a way better job of it)! He and I like to move and feel the music. He does it in such a way that it seems as if he is a lone member of his own audience, free to move to the music as it moves him (emotionally). He even closes his eyes giving himself a heightened sense of hearing and with it a deeper connection to his music.
I remember the first time I saw a professional guitarist. His name was Alejandro Cote and he was a Caribbean guitarist that played some flamenco pieces. The speed and emotion he was able to project amazed me. My eyes had a hard time just watching and trying to keep up with and it all made me very curious about that style of guitar.
I’ve practiced a lot since then, and the more I practice the more anxious I get. In my mind I’m always asking myself if I’m there yet, at that level of skill – slowly but surely my skill is increasing. However, I know I can push myself more still. I myself can count the number of years I’ve been playing on one hand, and if I’m going to get to the same level as these titans of guitar, I’m going to need years more of intense practice.
I actually had the pleasure and honor of not only attending, but opening up for, an Eliot Fisk show. He completely blew us out of the water, though he probably didn’t do it on purpose. That night I was studying his technique and his hand movements. He really showed me that I have a long journey ahead of me with the instrument. I can’t say that I will make it to the point where I can play that same Paganini Caprice, but I will say that it is a goal of mine to reach that level of skill someday.
Austin Davenport is a senior at Akins High School. A third-year guitar student, currently in the advanced ensemble, Austin was a member of a select group of students that performed in KMFA’s “Kids Recording Kids” this past summer.