Classical music from a ‘Noteworthy Duo’
Vail, CO, Colorado
Heavy metal and hard rock may seem worlds removed from classical music, but not to Michael Nigro. As a guitar-playing teenager some of his favorite bands were Led Zeppelin and Rush. At the age of 21 he immersed himself in classical guitar, playing four to six hours a day for more than 10 years. Now 37, Nigro teaches and performs classical guitar for a living and isn’t afraid to reference Randy Rhoads ” the deceased, classically-trained heavy metal guitarist who used to play with Ozzy Osbourne ” when he feels it will benefit a student.
“There’s a stereotype that it’s not cool, that you’re going to see a bunch of old men playing tired music, and you know, that’s not necessarily the case,” Nigro said.
Nigro and classical flute player Lisa Schroeder make up Noteworthy Duo and will perform a free show at the Town of Vail Public Library on Tuesday.
“We want each show to be noteworthy. I want them to go away and talk about it months later and say ‘That was something remarkable and it touched me in some way,'” Schroeder said.
Schroeder, who started playing flute in Michigan with her school band, tried to form a flute and guitar duet for some time. She met Nigro while working at Vanguard University in California. The two decided to team up after they realized their mutual appreciation for classical music written by South American composers like Jose Luis Merlin and Astor Piazzolla.
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“We felt like, ‘well, that’s certainly a sign,’ so we got together and did some rehearsing and we both found out that A, we enjoyed playing music together and B, we shared a passion for Latin American music,” Nigro said.
Just because the “Duo” plays classical music doesn’t mean they’re playing music by a bunch of dead people who wrote their compositions hundreds of years ago. As Nigro notes, there are many modern classical music composers ” they’re not all dead ” something that surprises some audience members. It’s the style and playing technique that makes music classical, Nigro said, and it should also evoke imagery in the listener’s mind.
“We found that it’s really enjoyable to perform for people who maybe don’t know a lot of classical repertoire,” Nigro said.
Breaking down the myths of what a classical musician plays or looks like is one of the most enjoyable parts of what he and Schroeder do, he said.
Nigro said he and Schroeder don’t dumb down their performances just because the audience isn’t made up of classical music fans. Instead, they try to enlighten the audience with the history of the pieces they play and the composers who wrote them. She hopes the audience hears something totally different than what they expect to hear.
Especially since classical music is much more than just “preconceived notions,” Schroeder said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.