Monday, May 21, 2007

Guitarists -- so you think you've got chops? Check out my student

Matt Palmer: MTSU Guitar grad from 'the middle of nowhere,' TN -- a world-class guitarist, competes internationally

Matt performs Etude #2 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
If you do not see the embedded video, click here to view it directly on Youtube

Matt is from Fall Branch, TN - a small town in the East TN mountains where guys his age talk mostly about cars and guns. After winning 3 major U.S. classical guitar competitions, Matt is competing this week at the Koblenz International Guitar Competition in Germany.

I dropped in on Matt last July at his garage in Fall Branch, he was pulling an engine out of a Chevy.

If you're a guitarist who has studied the Villa-Lobos etudes, you'll appreciate Matt's level of virtuosity. There are very few people in the world that can play that Villa-Lobos Etude #2 with the speed, evenness and clarity you hear in the video. It's just a small sample of what he can do. Matt is not just chops, he plays with great phrasing, tone and lyricism. Guitar competitions can not be won on chops alone, you have to be musical.

Matt is not exactly what you'd expect from this guy in the garage. Matt graduated Summa Cum Laude from the MTSU McLean School of Music, Appalachian State University for his Masters, and is on a full Doctoral Guitar Assistantship at the University of AZ.

I think it's safe to say, Matt, who's still in his 20's, is likely the best classical guitar virtuoso ever born in the state of TN.

I wish Chet could have seen him.


Glenda said...

He's amazing! Best of luck to him.

Anonymous said...

For the last two years Matt also was a student of Douglas James at Appalachian State University, where he earned his Masters degree in Guitar Performance

William said...

Yes, many thanks to Doug James for his tutelage. Without Doug, Matt certainly would not be where he is today at the U of AZ with an Assistantship. Sorry, to have left that out of the post. Thanks for the comment. Post has been edited.

UPDATE: Matt was one of six Finalists among nearly 100 competitors from 58 countries at the Koblenz International Competition. For unknown reasons, the judges did not award all of the prizes advertised, unfortunate for Matt. I was told many thought deserved a prize. Such is the world of music competitions...