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Classical guitarist Antigoni Goni combines virtuosic technique with a sensitive interpretive flair

Wednesday, Apr 23 2003
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When a 25-year-old Antigoni Goni won first prize at the 1995 International Guitar Foundation of America Competition, she was already a seasoned recitalist with laurels from a handful of prestigious contests, including the Julian Bream and Stotsenberg International competitions. But the GFA honors opened the door to the next level: a large-scale concert tour in the United States, a rare recording contract with the respected Naxos label, and an enviable academic gig as the department head of Juilliard's Pre-College Guitar Division. It seems that Goni's combination of virtuosic technique and sensitive interpretive flair of a fresh repertoire is irresistible to judges and listeners alike.

Much like Kronos Quartet, the Greek-born classical guitarist now uses her relative fame to commission new works from a variety of fine contemporary composers like Sergio Assad, Calliope Tsoupaki, and Dan Coleman. Her recordings also cover a worldwide range of modern and traditional styles, from the Turkish-influenced mysticism of "Koyunbaba: Suite for Guitar, Op. 19" by Italy¹s Carlo Domeniconi to the dramatic loveliness of "El Decameron Negro" by Cuba's Leo Brouwer. Goni's takes on old-school mazurkas, romantic waltzes, and the complex four-part harmony of "Madrigal -- Gavota" on her extraordinary album Barrios: Guitar Music Vol. I, an homage to Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios, are particularly jaw-dropping. Whether waxing lyrical on a folk song or picking intricate contrapuntal melodies with lightning speed, Goni performs consistently with great skill and beauty.

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Sam Prestianni

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