Egret and crab

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Come Together - Michael Chapdelaine

Kip wrote to tell me that Michael Chapdelaine had recently died. This amazing musician, a San Diego native, was a national fingerstyle champion and had a host of other accolades.

Chapedelaine was the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world's top competitions in both the Classical and Fingerstyle genres. He won the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas. His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, included musical styles ranging from blues, to baroque, to country, to rhythm 'n' blues.

In the '80s and '90s, Chapdelaine twice won the coveted National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant and took First Prize in both the Guitar Foundation of America's and the Music Teachers National Association's Guitar Competitions. He also won the silver medal in Venezuela's VIII Concurso International de Guitarra "Alirio Diaz". He toured four continents while giving hundreds of performances for Affiliate Artists Inc., and various arts promotion organizations. 

Chapdelaine was Professor of Music and head of guitar studies at the University of New Mexico and had previously been on the faculties of the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State University. He gave master classes throughout the world including, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, Venezuela, Taiwan and Indonesia, at institutions such as the University of Miami, Mannes School of Music, University of Texas, and California State University.

I first saw him perform at Buffalo Brothers in Carlsbad. I think Kevin Kinnear may have brought him in to perform. What a treat. This is the song that stands out in my memory. Later I met him in New Mexico and corresponded with him. It is a shame that he never reached a wider audience with his remarkable playing.

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