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28 Nov

Joseph Palmer Chamber Recital

November 28, 2012 |

My dear friend Joseph Palmer will be giving his Doctoral Chamber Recital this Friday. The program will include works by Manuel de Falla, Kaija Saariaho, Robert Beaser and my own Homage to Tom Waits.

Friday, November 30, 7:30pm
UT Austin, Jessen Auditorium
Free Admission

Jessen Auditorium is on the UT campus inside Homer Rainy Hall – which is a few yards north of the intersection of 21st street and Whitis Ave. (just east of Guadalupe).
Parking – The Dobie Center parking garage is on Whitis Ave. just across from the hall – this is the most convenient option – though you can sometimes find free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods just west of Guadalupe.

Joseph Palmer – Guitar
Joseph Williams – Guitar
Mari Stoner – Soprano
Elizabeth Ashley Lehr – Double Bass
Tim Hagen – Flute
Audrey Springer-Wilson – Flute

28 Nov

Concert for the Austin Guitar Salon Series

November 28, 2012 |

Presented by Heritage Society of Austin and Austin Classical Guitar Society, Ill be performing a special program in an intimate historical setting.
This beautiful home dates to before Texas’ statehood, and is graciously hosted by well-known UT architecture professor Simon Atkinson, who will provide some fascinating background about this extraordinary, historic space. From architecture to music, the incredible Antonelli’s cheese and seasonal goodies, we hope to share it with you!

Saturday, December 1st, 2012 at 7:00pm
Heritage House, North Central Austin
Tickets $50 ($40 ACGS/HSA Members) available here.

15 Nov

Classical Cactus Concert

November 15, 2012 |

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 8 pm
Cactus Café on UT Campus – Tickets $5
For info and tickets click here

Ill be playing at the Cactus Cafe at UT Austin as part of the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s Classical Cactus series. Ill be opening for the lovely guitar duo of Janet Grohovac and Chad Ibisen in one of the coolest settings to hear live classical music. Joseph Palmer(guitar) and Elizabeth Lehr (bass) will join me in the performance of my Homage to Tom Waits and I will be premiering two new pieces for solo guitar.

02 Oct

2nd Annual Texas A&M International Guitar Festival & Symposium

October 2, 2012 |

The Texas Guitar Quartet will open the 2nd Annual Texas A&M International Guitar Festival & Symposium with a concert on Oct. 24 at the Rudder Theater in College Station, TX. We are thrilled to be sharing Tracks a new work we commissioned from Peter Liewen. In addition, the TxGQ will be presenting masterclasses on Oct. 26.

More information is available here.

31 Aug

Texas Guitar Quartet CD Release in Austin, TX

August 31, 2012 |

Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 8:00pm
The Austin Classical Guitar Society presents:
The Texas Guitar Quartet Concert and CD Release of Red
Cactus Cafe, UT Campus
Tickets: $5
“The award-winning Texas Guitar Quartet returns to Classical Cactus for the Austin release of their critically acclaimed new CD: Red. Hailed by Guitar International as “a tremendous accomplishment for the classical guitar”, you do not want to miss an intimate live performance by the outstanding musicians responsible for this landmark recording. Get your tickets early. The TGQ will be the only act on the September Classical Cactus starting their first set just after 8 and their second set just after 9. See you there.”

Tickets available at

Read the full reviews of Red by Guitars international and

10 Aug

Chamber Music in the Pines

August 10, 2012 |

Tuesday August 14, 2012
7:30 p.m. Cole Concert Hall
Stephen F Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.

The 2012 Chamber Music in the Pines Festival will feature music from the four “corners” of the globe: Music of the North, South, East and West.

Music of the South will be chamber music from Argentina and Italy that features the guitar with Piazzolla’s sultry Histoire du Tango and Boccherini’s beloved Guitar Quintet #4: “Fandango.” Musicians are Gary Levinson and Jennifer Dalmas, violins; Nicholas Jeffery, viola; Evgeni Raychev, cello; Joe Williams, guitar; Baya Kakouberi, piano; and Scott Harris, percussion.

More info at Chamber Music in the Pines

10 Aug

DMA Chamber Recital Program Notes

August 10, 2012 |

May 2nd 2012 Jessen Auditorium, University of Texas at Austin
with Chia-Jung Lee- flute, Elizabeth Lher- bass, Joseph Palmer- guitar, Caleb Polashek- violin and the Texas Guitar Quartet.

The first half of this program is made up of compositions derived from popular music.

Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzolla, was introduced to jazz, tango and classical music at an early age and began his musical career as a child prodigy on the bandoneón (a button accordion). In the 1940’s he performed in Anibal Troilo’s band, one of the great tango ensembles of the century. Concurrently, he studied composition with the Alberto Ginastera in Buenos Aires, and later with Nadia Boulanger in France in the 1950’s. Despite his dedicated efforts in classical composition, Boulanger famously counseled him to pursue the tango as his principal art form. This urging was the impetus for him to fully embrace tango music and develop what he called Nuevo Tango, a modern style of tango infused with elements of jazz harmony and rhythm as well as techniques from classical composition.

L’histoire du Tango was written in 1986, during a period when he was financially independent and able to write freely. The piece catalogues the history of tango in 30 year intervals. The four movements are entitled Bordel 1900, Café 1930, Nightclub 1960 and Concert d’aujourd’hui. Bordel 1900 playfully recalls the tango in its original setting: the brothels of Buenos Aires. The duple meter (2/4) is characteristic of tangos until 1915 with dotted habanera and a syncopated milonga rhythm. The Café 1930 is the tango for the smoky cafes where it was it was created for listening rather than dancing. It is filled with melancholic harmonies and flexibility of tempo. The Nightclub 1960 is the tango performed in venues much like contemporaneous jazz. This piece exemplifies exemplifies many of Piazzolla’s mature tangos in its striking changes of tempo and aggressive rhythms and in its form (fast-fast-slow-coda).

Tom Waits (b. 1949) is an American songwriter, composer, actor and performance artist. He is frequently described as one of the last beatniks of contemporary music with a voice sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car” (Daniel Durchholz, critic). He is a self-described maker of “adventure songs and Halloween music” and his lyrics explore a fantastical underworld on seedy, sentimental, grotesque and sometimes maudlin subject matter. His first nine albums (recorded from 1973-1983) are mainly written in the style Tin Pan Alley over a jazz and blues framework and instrumentation. Beginning with Swordfishtrombones (1983), his music starkly departs from this style and he developed a new orchestration and evolving sound palette that continues to the present. He employs accordions, organs, bagpipes, rare instruments, instruments of his own design and some invented by composer Harry Partch. Furthermore, he has created concept albums developed and presented in theatrical productions (Franks Wild Years, Black Rider, Alice, and Blood Money) and explores forms that are rarely present in popular music (vaudeville, rumba, polka, tango, spoken word).

Homage to Tom Waits (2012) is dedicated to this second period of his music. The titles of each movement are taken from Tom Waits songs: Deal out jacks or better from Tango til they’re sore; The fields are soft and green from Innocent when you dream; and Step right up from the song of the same name. Each movement paraphrases musical motives from Tom Waits works. The first and second movement draw their material from their respective songs and the final movement’s material is a re-imagining of the main theme from Knife Chase. The first and second movements are in simple forms (ABA, three verse song) and the last movement is a carnival dance which organically develops its material in a through-composed form. The first version of Homage to Tom Waits was scored for bassoon, guitar, and double bass and has since been through many manifestations. The current version has been thoroughly reworked and was completed in 2012.

The second half of this program are compositions in abstract forms.

John Mayrose is an American composer as well as active performer of new music. He is is an Assistant Professor of Music at the Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend. He holds the Ph.D. in music composition from Duke University and a B.M. degree from the University of South Carolina Honors College. Mayrose’s musical compositions have been played throughout North America, Europe, and Australia and frequently employ electronic media within a minimalist framework. He is the recipient of the first place prize in the Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest (2009), the 2010 ASCAP Plus Award, the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Prize (2008), and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award (2004).

On Trigger (2005), the composer states:
“Trigger is my first work to incorporate elements of interactive electronic music in an acoustic composition. Instead of treating the duo as two independent musicians, I envisioned a single performer using one instrument to trigger events in another. This approach is extremely applicable to guitar and violin, both string instruments with similar left hand techniques, but with drastically different methods of producing sound: the pluck of the guitar is percussive, but lacks sustain, while the bowing of the violin provides sustain with a nuance of timbre. By writing essentially the same music for both instruments, my goal was to create what sounds like a violin/guitar hybrid, a combinatorial timbre of the two instruments. After a brief solo introduction, the violin leads the first half of Trigger. Any deviation in the guitar’s incessant, pulsing drones is triggered the violin’s disjunct melodic interjections. With a slightly more relaxed tone, the guitar begins the second half of the work directing the violin through a reworking of previous material. The melodic fragments begin to smooth out and extend, and Trigger ends with both performers working in conjunction.”

Red (2011) is a multi-movement work inspired by the string quartet genre. The individual movements evoke three very different, but interrelated, perspectives on life and death. Try not to die is the most complex and varied movement and abstractly depicts the myriad qualities of an individual’s life. At the core of our existence, beyond daily experience (such as work, having sex, reading books, wine, traffic, advertisements, success, failure, the internet, backflips…) we manage to live despite certain death. The second movement is dedicated to the birth of my niece, Juliana Williams. It explores the innocence of a newborn, the imposing task set before each parent, and the simultaneous bewildering and joyful uncertainty of a Birth day. The final movement is life from the perspective of microbiology. At the smallest level, cells continue to make cells without regard for our hopes, dreams or desires. Fortunately, life continues at a cellular level long after our triumphs and failures in a raucous and swirling torrent of cellular growth.

15 Mar

Red is Now Available

March 15, 2012 |

Red, the new album by the Texas Guitar Quartet, is now available online here. For a limited time you can stream the entire album for free. Enjoy, share, pick up a copy and please tell us what you think.

09 Feb

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Classical Cactus: Kithara Duo and Joseph Williams II

February 9, 2012 | No Comments

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 8 pm
Cactus Café on UT Campus – Tickets $5
For info and tickets click here

Next week, Ill be playing at the Cactus Cafe at UT Austin as part of the Austin Classical Guitar Society’s Classical Cactus series. Ill be opening for the elegant and amazing Kithara Duo in one of the coolest settings to hear live classical music.

Learn more about the Kithara Duo

09 Jan

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Austin Pictures Online

January 9, 2012 | No Comments

Austin Pictures by Joseph V Williams II is now online.
I. Hill Country
II. Floating on Lady Bird Lake
III. Dance of the Grackles
IV. Violet Crown with Cicadas
V. Capitol City Construction

Performed Live at the Austin City Limits Moodey Theater.
Peter Bay Conductor, Miro String Quartet and a classical guitar orchestra. The orchestra was coached by the following outstanding Guitar Directors: Michael Quantz, Jeremy Osborne, Travis Marcum, Andrew Clark, Matt Denman, Jeremy Mayne, Mick Jones, David Conger, and Eric Pearson.

Peter Bay Conducts the Classical Guitar Orchestra | Arts In Context from KLRU-TV on Vimeo.

Watch the full KLRU broadcast with Jorge Caballero here.