Originally created 09/22/00

Guitarists pick classical harmony



"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two."

Chopin was right when he praised the sound of the common stringed instrument and the beauty it could produce, says Alan Knight of the Harris/Knight Duo.

"The guitar is intimate, and it's got an immediacy to it," Mr. Knight said. "I think people can connect to a guitar. If you compare a guitar to a piano - both can play more than one line at the same time ... but a guitar has a so much more direct, immediate connection. Your hands are caressing it. There's no mechanism between you and the strings."

Mr. Knight and Jeff Harris have been performing classical music on their guitars together since 1993. They will present a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at Augusta State University's Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, 2500 Walton Way.

"There are two things I'd like people to take away: the love of music in general and the love of the guitar in particular," said Mr. Knight, who teaches guitar and ensemble at Augusta State and at Columbia College in Columbia. "Not a lot of people get to hear what we do. I'd like to be able to give them a better understanding of what classical guitarists can do."

Mr. Harris is an instructor at the Carolina Music Academy in Columbia and the Orangeburg (S.C.) Fine Arts Center.

The concert will include music by Debussy, Vivaldi and South Carolina composer Rob Howiler, music from Brazil and Africa and music in styles ranging from baroque to modern.

`Being guitarists, we have kind of a new road to carve," Mr. Knight said. "There's not a lot of classical guitarists around."

The two met in graduate school. They've been selected for the South Carolina Arts Commission Community Tour for the past four years and have a CD, The Sound of Two, scheduled for release in October.

"The repertoire that exists for classical guitar is mostly for solo artists," Mr. Knight said. "I think there's a kind of mystique about it: The Lone Guitarist. But both of us enjoy playing more than solo, and we enjoy the possibilities of interaction. It sounds larger. It looks good on stage to have more than one person up there.

"I'm not saying we don't have our moments, but we can be totally candid with each other and still be around for the next practice to play again. That doesn't always happen with musicians. Our personalities are very compatible, and we complement each other's artistic strengths."

On stage

What: Harris/Knight Duo

When and where: 3 p.m. Sunday, Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, Augusta State University

Admission: Free

Reach Alisa DeMao at (706) 823-3223 or ademao@augustachronicle.com.