Eliot Fisk, O.Univ.Prof.

University Professor in Guitar

  • Mirabellplatz 1
  • 5020 Salzburg

A born risk taker and charismatic virtuoso, Eliot Fisk has brought an entirely new dimension to classical guitar performance. He is known world-wide for his imaginative and innovative approach and for expanding the scope of the classical guitar legacy he inherited from his legendary mentor, Andrés Segovia. Through numerous works written for him by leading composers, Eliot Fisk has created a fresh and exciting modern style all his own. At the same time, as reflected in his innumerable transcriptions of the great composers of the past (Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Granados, Albeniz etc.) he continues to indulge a lifelong love affair with the great tradition of Western art music. In 1996 at the special invitation of the King, Queen and Crown Prince of Spain, Eliot Fisk performed at a private reception at the Palacio de los Cordova in Granada for then President Bill Clinton and his family.

Eliot Fisk`s many repeat performances in major halls throughout the world are complemented by numerous concerto appearances with orchestra and numerous concerts in a variety of chamber music combinations. In addition to his long time duo partner, flutist Paula Robison, he frequently performs with flamenco guitarist Paco Peña, vocalist Ute Lemper, Turkish music specialist Burhan Öçal and with numerous prominent string quartets. Previous chamber music colleagues have included soprano Victoria de los Angeles; late jazz guitar great, Joe Pass; violinists Gidon Kremer and Ruggiero Ricci; the Julliard String Quartet and double bassist Gary Karr.

A prolific recording artist, Eliot Fisk has recently released a double CD of his transcription of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin BWV 1001 - 6 of J. S. Bach. This complements an earlier disc featuring the 6 organ Trio Sonatas of Bach BWV 525-30 in a version for guitar and harpsichord with Albert Fuller (also for Musical Heritage Society) and a recently recorded new transcription (with Benjamin Hudson violin and Juri Bednar cello), of the 6 Sonatas BWV 1014 - 1019 (for Korean company Good international). Another recently released disc (for Arabesque) features an all Rochberg program of works dedicated to Eliot Fisk. Here he is joined by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Paula Robison. Two more CDs are on the way: one for Musical Heritage Society featuring music of Castelnuovo-Tedesco and another for upstart VGO Recordings, of 18 Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti transcribed for guitar by Mr. Fisk.

Eliot Fisk continues to actively seek out contemporary composers to expand the repertoire of the guitar. Among the works dedicated to Eliot Fisk are Luciano Berio`s Sequenza XI, for solo guitar, premiered by Mr. Fisk in 1988, and Chemin V, for guitar and orchestra, premiered in Bonn, Germany, in September of 1992 with Mr. Berio conducting the Orchester der Beethoven Halle. Other works dedicated to Mr. Fisk include Geoge Rochberg`s Muse of Fire, for flute and guitar, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and performed by Eliot Fisk and Paula Robison during the hall`s centennial season in 1991, and Eden out of Time and Out of Space, for guitar and chamber ensemble, commissioned by the Chamber music Society of Lincoln Center and premiered at Chamber Music Northwest in 1998. Mr. Fisk has also long been associated with Robert Beaser, whose Mountain Songs, composed for the Fisk-Robison duo, was nominated for a Grammy award in 1987 and has been performed by Eliot Fisk and Paula Robison the world over. Beaser is currently at work on a guitar concerto, to be premiered in the 2003-2004 concert season in Linz, Austria, under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies.

In 1985 at the express recommendation of Andrés Segovia, Eliot Fisk collaborated with Ernesto Halffter reworking the latter`s Concierto for Guitar and Orchestra for a gala performance in honor of the composer`s 80th birthday with the Spanish National Orchestra conducted by Victor Pablo in Madrid. A similar collaboration with Leonardo Balada culminated in 2001 with the recording (for Naxos) of Balada`s Concierto Magico with Jose Serebrier and the Barcelona Symphony nominated by as one of the 10 best classical recordings of the year.

In 1996 Mme. Emilia Segovia granted Eliot Fisk exclusive first performance and recording rights to a number of recently discovered compositions by the Maestro. Mr. Fisk`s recording of these and other works on Music Masters Records, Segovia - Canciones Populares entered the Billboard chart of classical best sellers.

Mr. Fisk`s numerous other recordings have also received exceptional acclaim. His landmark release of all 24 of Paganini`s Capricci Op. 1, immediately entered the Billboard charts and elicited astonished acclaim from colleagues and critics the world over. His transcription and recording of a follow-up disc of George Rochberg`s Caprice Variations (after Caprice 24 of Paganini) also generated rave reviews and earned the glowing endorsement of the composer. A similar collaboration enabled Mr. Fisk to premiere Spanish composer Cristobal Halffter`s solo violin Sonata in a creative reworking for guitar at the prestigious Wien Modern Festival in Vienna in 1998.

In addition to his performing career Eliot Fisk has a deep commitment to teaching. His class at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria where he teaches in 5 languages, includes students from a dozen different countries, many of them top prize winners in international competitions. In 1996 Mr. Fisk also joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass. where he hopes to make his own lifelong interest in musical outreach programs in schools, churches, prisons, senior centers and even logging camps an integral part of NEC`s activities. In the 2002 - 2003 season he will again participate in the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Series playing a set of free informal concerts in various boroughs of New York City.

A native of Philadelphia, Eliot Fisk earned his BA (summa cum laude) and MM from Yale University where he studied with harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick. Immediately upon graduation in 1977, he was asked to found the guitar department at the Yale School of Music. In 1974 he was introduced to his idol, Andrés Segovia, who coached him privately for several years. In 1981 Segovia wrote, "I consider Eliot Fisk as one of the most brilliant, intelligent and gifted young artists of our time, not only among guitarists but in all the general field of instrumentalists. His clear and flexible technique, his noble style of interpreting the beauty of classical compositions as well as the colorful music of today put him at the top line of our artistic world."

Eliot Fisk lives with his wife, Estela, and their two-year-old daughter, Raquel, in Boston, Salzburg and (occasionally) Granada.