Mixed emotions for Thornton composer

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It’s a weekend of mixed emotions for Thornton-based classical composer and music teacher Andrew Keeling.

His latest work Riverborn, inspired by a poem of the same name by Peter Davison and commissioned by Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, receives its world premiere on Sunday as the highspot of the venue’s first dedicated Classical Guitar Weekend.

Originally written to be performed on mandolin by Alison Stephens and guitar by Australian virtuoso Craig Ogden, the music world was saddened by Alison’s untimely death last summer and her place has been taken by Travis Finch.

“I would like to think that the performance will at least be dedicated to Alison,” said Andrew, (right) who admits he hasn’t heard his work performed in its entirety before.

“When I’m composing I’m a strict pencil to paper man rather than putting everything on a computer so this will be a first,” he said. “It’s quite nerve wracking - it’s just as bad as actually performing it yourself.”

Peter Davidson will probably be feeling the same way, he says.

“He sent me the poem but apart from talking about it on a walk together he left it to me so it will be a first for the both of us,” said Andrew. Since the late 1960s, Andrew has been a keen advocate of the music of Robert Fripp and King Crimson - arranging new versions of the band’s music, as well as some of Fripp’s solo guitar Soundscapes. Some of the resulting pieces have been performed, broadcast and recorded by The Metropole Orchestra of Amsterdam and are set or release in May. He also has a second acoustic album of his own - Soror - released later in the year.

The Classical Guitar Weekend sees Craig Ogden welcome classical legends alongside the stars of tomorrow, and is inviting guitar lovers everywhere to join a mass playing session in his Big Guitar Jam at 4pm tomorrow. Craig opens the weekend on Saturday morning with a recital featuring music from his hit album of 2010 The Guitarist. Jacinto Sanchez will share the secrets of the Spanish guitar-tradition including flamenco techniques in a masterclass, while Xuefei Yang, the first Chinese guitarist to study in the West, will show her spell-binding brilliance in recital. Andrew will discuss Riverborn and composing for mandolin and guitar at 6pm on Sunday followed by its premiere at 7.30pm together with a recital by Duo Orpheo and the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet