The website of classical guitarist David Tanenbaum


Another New Lou Harrison Guitar Piece

Some months after he died a guitar trio was found in Lou Harrison’s papers called Elegy for Harpo Marx, composed in 1964. The history of the piece is unclear but the version found was certainly written for guitar. Tanenbaum performed (premiered?) the work at the San Francisco Conservatory November 7, 2004 with Brian Dowdy and Rodrigo Placencia, and they recorded the work Nov. 25 for Mode Records.

Naive And Sentimental Music


The long awaited recording of John AdamsNaive and Sentimental Music, featuring David Tanenbaum as guitar soloist with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was released July 30, 2002 by Nonesuch. Mark Swed, in the Los Angeles Times, writes of

‘The gorgeous solo guitar melody (elegantly played by David Tanenbaum) that haunts the central slow movement.’

The cd was nominated for a Grammy in 2003.

Tanenbaum performed the Vivaldi D Major concerto with John Adams conducting on May 11 at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, California. Tanenbaum performed Naive and Sentimental Music with the San Francisco Symphony October 20-24, 2004

Lou Harrison Guitar CD

Serenado CD cover
New Albion Records has released Serenado-Lou Harrison (NA 123), containing the complete solo guitar music plus arrangements from harp and piano, performed by David Tanenbaum. The CD features the first recording of the final guitar piece, Scenes from Nek Chand, which was dedicated to Charles and Carol Amirkhanian and to David Tanenbaum. The work, premiered by Tanenbaum March 7, 2002, is for National Steel Guitar, in DADGAD tuning.

Some reviews:

So far, this is my cd of the year.’ T. Hashimoto, San Francisco Examiner

‘superlative…a delectable collection of Harrison’s gutar pieces performed with vigor and sensitivity by David Tanenbaum.’Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

‘It is no surprise that following the death of Lou Harrison, one of the great champions of modern music on the guitar should provide a retrospective recording of Harrison’s idiosyncratic contributions to the repertoire. Housed in New Albion’s earth-toned, stylish packaging which, like the composer, entices the consumer with casual wildness, the new recording also surprises, as the composer did, with an intellectual rigor and honesty often obscured by outside appearances.

‘Over the last thirty years, no one has done more for new music on the guitar than David Tanenbaum. Henze, Riley (Elder, younger), Harrison, and Kernis have all found champion, friend and interpreter in Tanenbaum. Thus, it with heavy heart that Tanenbaum offers up Serenado, a collection of original works and transcriptions, which span Harrison’s fifty-year relationship with the guitar…Tanenbaums excellent program notes provide the background for his remarkable performance.’Andrew Hull, Guitarra Magazine

Tanenbaum performed the New York Premiere of Scenes from Nek Chand June 26 during the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes College of Music.

An article on Lou Harrison and the Guitar by David Tanenbaum appeared in Guitart International Issue 4. Acoustic Guitar published an article by Tanenbaum on Harrison’s Serenado in the February 2004 issue. Articles also appeared recently on Harrison by Tanenbaum in Soundboard and Guitar Review Magazines.

Review in San Francisco Classical Voice

Have you ever been startled by a performance into the love of a piece? Last Friday a concert practically startled me into loving a whole genre. The San Francisco Conservatory Guitar Ensemble and David Tanenbaum spent a heady two hours at Old First Church performing music for (with a few exceptions) multiple guitars, and it was mesmerizing stuff. Who knew? (Well, the couple hundred people in the audience, evidently; it was about as good a crowd as I’ve ever seen at an Old First concert.)

..the Conservatory has obviously got a hell of a guitar program. The caliber of the individual contributions was high; the caliber of the ensemble playing was something more than that..The evening was an education in never underestimating guitarists..There was some ensemble playing Friday that seriously belongs in a class with the top young string quartets.
Michelle Dulak , sfcv.org, March 2, 2004

Review in the Portland Oregonian

“To call him a master of the instrument seems like faint praise… he’s among the finest musicians on any instrument you’ll ever hear, one of those rare players whose technical and interpretive skills are both of the highest order. And as a demonstration of both his head and his hands, the program was brilliantly chosen. Spanning more than three centuries, it was like a trek along the frontiers of the repertoire.’James McGuillen, The Portland Oregonian, March 10, 2004