Guitarist Peter Zisa performs Tansman and Tedesco

Thursday, May 15, 7:00pm | Music

This special classical guitar program features award-winning performer Peter Zisa and celebrates the music of two notable Jewish composers: Alexandre Tansman and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Both composers were favorite composers of the legendary classical guitar performer Andrés Segovia who commissioned them to compose extensively for guitar. Together their compositions represent some of the finest works composed for guitar in the 20th century. 

Joining Peter on the program will be flutist, LeeAnn McKenna. LeeAnn is a world-traveled musician and performs in consort with the Oregon Chamber Players and the performance group Thousand Waves.


About Peter Zisa: Peter Zisa has been described as “a masterful performer with remarkable virtuosic and artistic skills...[who] delicately blends melodic line and texture into an exciting musical experience” (Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times). Peter is most grateful for the mentorship of David Grimes (internationally acclaimed guitar scholar and Emeritus President of the Guitar Foundation of America) in classical guitar. Peter’s classical training includes his studies with such legendary performers as Maestro Andrés Segovia, José Rey de la Torre, José Tomas, Pepé and Angel Romero, Michael Lorimer, and Oscar Ghiglia. He has performed at universities and various concert series across the U.S. and abroad.

About the Composers: Alexandre Tansman and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco were Jewish composers from Poland and Italy respectively. Both composers were commissioned by Maestro Andres Segovia in the 20th century to write music for classical guitar; neither of them, however, were guitarists. 

Alexandre Tansman studied music at the Academy of Music in Lodz. He also earned a doctorate degee in law from the University of Warsaw. He chose to continue his musical studies in Paris and his musical mentors were Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel. In 1941, Charlie Chaplin helped Tansman move to Los Angeles. He was nominated for a Grammy award for his score for Paris Underground. After the war, Tansman returned to Paris. Tansman was a Neo-Classic musician and when asked how much music by Tansman had that was unpublished he said, “A rather large stack of music.” Years after Segovia's death Tansman's unpublished guitar music began to be published. The Passacaglia is one of these previously unpublished works. 
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, born and raised in Italy, moved to Los Angeles in 1937 at the urging of Segovia and Toscanini. There he composed music for film, and also was the teacher of a number of notable composers: John Williams, Henry Mancini, Randy Newman, and Andre Previn (Newman and Previn are both Jewish). Mancini, who fought in World War II was among the soldiers who liberated concentration camps in southern Germany. Additionally, Tedesco wrote a number of Jewish classical compositions.