News Column

Strumming to Bach: Classical guitarist to perform in parlor concert

July 29, 2014

By Marivel Resendiz, Kerrville Daily Times, Texas

July 29--From the depth of Hayden Richter's guitar, Heitor Villa-Lobos "Valsa-choro" echoed through the intimate studio with each strum.

When Richter began studying guitar nearly 10 years ago, he didn't navigate to mainstream country or rock 'n' roll, but studied Johann Sebastian Bach, Isaac Albeniz, Fernando Sor and other classical composers as influences.

Richter will perform a classical guitar concert at 3 p.m.Aug. 10 at Union Church before he attends the University of North Texas College of Music in the fall to major in music performance with a concentration in classical guitar.

Richter's introduction to the instrument was at 8 years old when his mother heard of a friend's daughter learning.

"I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I said, 'Yes (to lessons),'" Richter said. "It got to the point in practice where I enjoyed it."

Richter's natural affinity for music brought him to Kevin McCormick's Mirabilis Studio for Guitar. McCormick said he saw a unique talent in Richter, who has won an outstanding soloist award from the University Interscholastic League 2012 Texas State Solo-Ensemble Guitar Solo Contest, which included about 95,000 participants.

"The focus of the studio is to start with classical, partly because it's a good foundation for music," McCormick said. "Some students work on song writing, rock or other things depending on their preference. But classical ... appealed to Hayden's interest. He was really connected well in lesson, and he really picked up the music."

Richter dedicates a portion of his lessons perfecting classical pieces, memorizing them and studying the composers.

McCormick said Richter's passion for music helps Richter excel in music.

"When you have a gift and nurture that gift, there's a lot of encouragement to see it in such a way," McCormick said. "He has a strong understanding of music. ... Kudos to him for all his work, and I just try to guide in a way I know best."

Richter said he considered majoring in engineering, but when he considered level of enjoyment, he chose music last minute.

"I started thinking about the life I would have with both, and I thought I would like music more," Richter said.

McCormick said when he moved to the area nearly 15 years ago, classical music on a guitar was baffling. However, as time progressed and through the help of the Austin Classical Guitar Society, classical guitar has gotten more attention.

"There's something about classical guitar that appeals to peoples' heart in a certain way," McCormick said. "People usually associate a guitar with country or pop, but to hear it in a different context opens up a new place.

Richter's performance will include some of the classic favorites along with music from Agustin Barrios, Issac Albeniz and "Koyunbaba" by Carlo Domeniconi, a multi-movement piece which draws on the music of Persia and challenges the performer with a very unusual tuning of the guitar.

To learn more about McCormick's studio and lessons, visit


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Source: Kerrville Daily Times (TX)

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