Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
Classical / Folk / World / Residency
Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
“The MGQ’s playing is faultless. They are expressive, with a large dynamic and timbral range, perfect ensemble, and an inventive approach.” —American Record Guide
“Music just about good enough to eat — a wonderful ensemble.” —Saint Paul Sunday
Virtuosic yet contemplative, propulsive yet intimate, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has captivated audiences throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. From J.S. Bach to Piazzolla to Prince, MGQ’s inventive and eclectic programs are enlivened by a bravado and synchronicity that have been honed through decades of classical training and concert experience. The foursome—Joseph Hagedorn, Maja Radovanlija, Ben Kunkel and Milena Petković —builds an uncommon rapport with its audiences through its engaging stage presence and distinctive humor. “More than a guitar quartet, more than superb musicians, and more than a great chamber group,” says composer/performer Daniel Bernard Roumain. “They are ambassadors of sound, style, and substance.”
The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet’s highly varied repertoire includes their own acclaimed arrangements of music by Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi, Finnish accordionist Maria Kalaniemi, and classical composers Joaquin Rodrigo, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Their numerous commissions include Balada del Bosque y el Ave for guitar quartet and flute by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, and Ian Krouse’s StarWaves, an exhilarating fusion of rock and classical music based on a song by British pop/rock musician Nick Drake.
MGQ’s diverse and innovative collaborations include programs for guitar quartet with choir featuring the recently commissioned work Music of Love and the Stars by notable choral composer Jeffrey Van in addition to arrangements of well-known works by Gabriel Fauré; programs with flamenco dancer Sachiko “La Chayí” featuring music of the great Spanish composers Joaquin Rodrigo and Enrique Granados and contemporary flamenco guitarist/composer Ben Abrahamson; and a full program with Gao Hong, master of the Chinese pipa (akin to a lute), which successfully traverses both character and culture from East to West.
The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has toured throughout the United States and Mexico, with recent and upcoming tours in China, Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Among its notable engagements are residencies at UCLA and Princeton, San Francisco’s Omni Foundation Dynamite Guitar series, Tianjin Grand Theater, Chongqing Guotai Arts Centre and the 2020 Guitar Foundation of America Festival. Concerto appearances include the Austin Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and Columbus Symphony. MGQ has been heard on the nationally syndicated radio program Saint Paul Sunday, and on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and has garnered international critical acclaim from its six CDs on the Albany, GSP, and innova labels.
The cultural accessibility of the guitar makes it a natural for MGQ’s various educational and community engagement programs like its popular “Guitar Talk” for all ages. As Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio during the 2014 season, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet performed for elementary school students throughout the Twin Cities. MGQ’s newest educational offering is its “Guitar Ensemble Crash Course”, a 90-minute class introducing participants to the “hands-on” experience of guitar ensemble playing, culminating in a live performance. All members of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet are collegiate faculty members and frequently conduct master classes and workshops at festivals and universities throughout the United States.