Monday, 6 July 2015

Stephanie Jones

It's been a star-studded journey for guitarist Stephanie Jones and she's barely in her twenties. The Australian National University graduate is currently traveling through Germany and America checking out festivals, competitions and masterclasses. Just before she left she released her second album Colours of Spain which has landed on my desk (her debut album Bach, the Fly and the Microphone was released in 2009).


Stephanie as an MLC student

I remember Stephanie from my days as a clarinet teacher at Methodist Ladies College. She was a precocious music student who appeared at concerts playing with incredible virtuosity on flute, saxophone and guitar. I would often spot Stephanie in practice rooms preparing for her AMEB AmusA or Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music exam. She won a grant to study guitar at the Australian National University and has been a prize winner at multiple national and international competitions. In 2014 she won the National Young virtuoso of the Year (National Fine Music Network).


Colours of Spain traces the development of Spanish music from the 16th century to the Romantic and Nationalistic classics of the 19th century. The oldest compositions on the album date back 500 years to when plucked instruments reigned supreme in Western music. Pieces by Luis de Narvaez and Alonso Mudurra were originally written for the 16th century Spanish vihuela. A suite by Gaspar Sanz showcases the music written in the 17th century for the guitar in its 5-string Baroque incarnation. Isaac Albeniz Tarrega and Turina represent the high point of Spanish nationalism with their Spanish rhythms and evocative melodic lines. And the album tracks are listed in reverse chronological order so it opens vibrantly with the lush sounds of the 19th century and concludes with the tonal simplicity of the Renaissance like a great calm sigh. The music is laced with Spanish folk flavours and played by Stephanie with exciting rhythmic inflection and a vivid array of colours. There is a sense listening to her play that here is a woman with so much to say, and the flamboyance of Spanish music is providing her with just the right vehicle.

Setphanie tells me she plans to pursue post-graduate studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. But first some more travel and time to soak up culture. She is, after all, only just 21!

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Stephanie Jones at a guitar festival in Heinsberg

P.S.  For those who have enquired about where to purchase Colours of Spain there is a link on Stephanie's website: http://stephaniejonesguitar.com/discography


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