Classical Guitarist Eliot Fisk

Eliot Fisk

The classical guitar — and for that matter, the instrumental root of every head-banging Guitar Hero rocker — goes back to the lute and Spanish vihuela.

In the 18th century, the modern six-string guitar emerged for a heyday. It came back, classically, with Spanish great Andres Segovia in the 1920s. And half a century later, Segovia handed the tradition to a young Eliot Fisk.

Now virtuoso in his own right, Fisk carries the torch for a musical tradition — and a role for the guitar as exquisite cultural bridge.

This hour, On Point: A conversation with classical guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Eliot Fisk joins us in our studio. He is a world-renowned classical guitarist, one of the great Andres Segovia’s last students. Segovia called him “brilliant, intelligent, and gifted,” an artist “at the top line of our artistic world.” King Juan Carlos of Spain honored his contributions to Spanish music. He teaches at the Universitat Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He’s founder and artistic director of Boston Guitarfest, an international festival now in its fourth year.

Here’s a (very casual) video of Eliot doing his sound check  in our studio before the show. He’s practicing the “Phrygian Pick,” from the final movement of Robert Beaser’s Guitar Concerto.  He talks with On Point producer Stefano Kotsonis. The video was shot by our intern Molly Connors:

And here you can watch Eliot perform an excerpt from the final movement of Guitar Concerto — which premiered at Carnegie Hall last month — for Tom and members of the On Point staff in our studio after the show:

Following is the playlist of pieces heard during the broadcast, in the order in which they were played:

1. Manuel Ponce: Prelude
from “Segovia: Canciones Populares” (1996 CD)

2. Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra), by Francesco Tarrega (Granada, 1896)

3. Spanish Dance No. 5 by Enrique Granados
A duet by Eliot Fisk & Angel Romero at Boston Guitarfest 2008.

4. Finlandesa: Quasi Andante
from “Segovia: Canciones Populares” (1996 CD), a Finnish folk tune transcribed by Andrés Segovia

5. Two Pieces from Siglo de Oro: “Cancion del Emperador” (Narvaez-Josquin, 1538) and “Fantasia Que Contrahace la Harpa de Ludovico” (Alonso Mudarra, 1546, Seville)

6. Scarlatti: Sonata in A Major
A duet by Eliot Fisk & the great Mexican castanet player Lucero Tena.

7. Paganini: Capriccio No. 23 in E-Flat Minor
Version 1 (guitar): From “Paganini: 24 Caprices”(1992 CD by Eliot Fisk).

Version 2 (violin):  From “Paganini: 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1” (1989 CD by Midori).

8. Two Etudes by Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)

9. Ciaccona by Johann Sebastian Bach

10. Paganini: Capriccio No. 24 in A Minor
from “Paganini: 24 Caprices”(1992 CD)

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