University of Illinois' Prestigious Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Hosts the Inaugural Wall to Wall Guitar Festival on September 29 through October 2, 2005

As a universal instrument—perhaps the only instrument to have successfully crossed over to the world''s vast number of musical traditions—the guitar holds a special significance to people of all cultures, genders, and ages. Krannert Center''s four-day Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, September 29 through October 2, 2005, boasts performances by some 30 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock/pop, and traditional styles.

Wall to Wall—eight mainstage concert events that feature different styles of guitar playing, five free concert events in the Krannert Center lobby, exhibits at Krannert Art Museum and Techline, a Krannert Center Youth Series performance, Garage Band and Logic software workshops presented by Apple Computer, guitar workshops at local music stores, and additional activities in the Champaign and Urbana communities—was planned by Krannert Center with assistance from Artistic Advisor David Spelman, founder/artistic director of the renowned New York Guitar Festival.

The Wall to Wall line-up includes Sérgio and Odair Assad, Rory Block, Tim Brookes, Vinicius Cantuária, Cindy Cashdollar with Redd Volkaert, Dyke and Chrissy Corson, Abdoulaye Diabate, Mamadou Diabate, Banning Eyre, Eliot Fisk, Bill Frisell, Jesse Harris, John Hasbrouck, Kaki King, Daniel Lanois, Eric Lugosch, Taj Mahal, Juan Martín, the Pat Metheny Trio with Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez, Vernon Reid, Simon Shaheen, Hopkinson Smith, Andy Summers, David Tronzo, and Dan Zanes. A limited number of Festival Passes for all eight mainstage events may be available; contact the Ticket Office for information. Five-Star Passes, offering a $5 discount on a choice of five mainstage events, and individual event tickets are currently on sale through the Krannert Center Ticket Office.

David Spelman has guided Krannert Center in the creation of 13 themed performances, most involving multiple artists. “I call it the curatorial approach,” says Spelman. “We’re looking at the breadth of expression on this instrument in given stylistic genres as well as the historical evolution of the instrument and the music. Combining artists whose star power draws your attention with unfamiliar performers brings a sense of discovery to each event. Performance events like this one,” he adds, “with multiple artists, are difficult to coordinate but extremely rewarding and entertaining for audiences.” Every live performing arts event is a one-of-a-kind experience, but those that involve spontaneous interactions between creative artists become unforgettable.

Profiles on many of the artists in local broadcast and print media will bring the personalities of the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival artists closer to our community. Apple Computer podcasts of artist interviews, commentary, music, and readings will be available for iPod downloads. Information about the many workshops, interviews, and podcasts will be updated regularly at the website.

The Traveling Blues: Thursday, September 29 at 7:30pm

Alone onstage, Taj Mahal embodies the global guitar experience. A self-taught musician, Taj Mahal has traveled the globe, absorbing the worldwide traditions of stringed instruments and lending them his own unique voice. The recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, he's performed with everyone from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Ziggy Marley and the Rolling Stones. During this festival experience, he'll explore the rich, global sound of the blues with two very talented performers. Descended from a long line of Manding musician-storytellers, the jeli (or griot) Mamadou Diabate plays the 21-string kora, showcasing the deep African roots of the blues. And from the south, where the blues first entered the American music lexicon, guitar virtuoso and singer Rory Block shares the vibrant sounds of the Mississippi Delta country blues. Following the performance, songwriter and modern troubadour Jesse Harris and the Ferdinandos present a free Afterglow performance in the Krannert Center lobby.

Five-Star: $30 / SC & Stu 29 / UI & Yth 19
Flex: $33 / SC & Stu 32 / UI & Yth 22
Single: $35 / SC & Stu 34 / UI & Yth 24

Guitar Around the Globe: Friday, September 30 at 7pm

The guitar's soulful sound crosses more than genres. This concert traces its travels around the world, starting with the stylings of Simon Shaheen. Known for wildly creative, cross-cultural collaborations that bridge the Jewish and Palestinian divide, Shaheen plays the oud, ancestor of the modern guitar. From Brazil comes the boundless imagination of brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad who, in addition to earning Grammies for their interpretations of Bach and Scarlatti, have collaborated with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, and many others. Abdoulaye Diabate and Banning Eyre will unite the sounds of two continents in one exciting performance. Diabate hails from the African music tradition while Eyre is a North American musicologist, performer, and co-host of National Public Radio's "Afro-pop Worldwide." With one foot planted firmly in traditional bossa nova and Brazilian jazz and another in the avant-garde, Vinicius Cantuária crafts a sound best described as post-electronica acoustic. Whether he's collaborating with David Byrne and Laurie Anderson or writing hit songs for Caetano Veloso, his unique voice brings a new dimension to the rich Brazilian sound. A Talkback with the artists follows this concert.

Five-Star: $29 / SC & Stu 28 / UI & Yth 19
Flex: $32 / SC & Stu 31 / UI & Yth 22
Single: $34 / SC & Stu 33 / UI & Yth 24

Let It Slide—Masters of the Slide Guitar: Friday, September 30 at 10pm

From Hawaiian hula to early American country, the slide guitar's fluid sounds have formed the backdrop for countless talented performers. Ranked one of the “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” by Musician magazine, David Tronzo's singular style incorporates jazz, blues, and avant-garde. While most would be happy just to say they've produced best-selling albums for U2, Emmylou Harris, and Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois is also an accomplished pedal steel guitar recording artist. Well-known and respected in the worlds of country, rock, and western swing style slide guitar, Cindy Cashdollar has performed with a long list of diverse artists ranging from Bob Dylan to the Dixie Chicks. She will be joined by master guitarist Redd Volkaert, who is perhaps best known as lead guitarist in Merle Haggard's band.

Five-Star: $21 / SC & Stu 20 / UI & Yth 14
Flex: $24 / SC & Stu 23 / UI & Yth 17
Single: $26 / SC & Stu 25 / UI & Yth 19

A Family Jam: Saturday, October 1 at 10:30am

Dan Zanes and Friends opened the doors for a "house party" at Krannert Center in September 2004 and had the joint jumping with kids, parents, and grandparents singing, clapping, and dancing. Dan Zanes first picked up a guitar when he was eight, and later found fame with the Del Fuegos, a group dubbed Best New Band by Rolling Stone in 1984. A few impromptu jam sessions with other musical fathers and their kids led to his latest calling—creating music that can be enjoyed together by every member of the family.

Five-Star: $9 / SC & Stu 8 / UI & Yth 5
Flex: $12 / SC & Stu 11 / UI & Yth 6
Single: $14 / SC & Stu 13 / UI & Yth 8

Celebrating Six-String Jazz: Saturday, October 1 at 3pm and 8pm

Deceptively mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Bill Frisell has been described by Spin magazine as the "Clark Kent" of the electric guitar who "coaxes and slams his hovering split-toned ax into shapes of things to come." His signature sound translates across different styles, making him an ideal musical collaborator for everyone from pop icons like Bono and Elvis Costello to jazz greats like John Scofield and Joe Lovano. Bill Frisell performs at 3pm.

Five-Star: $13 / SC & Stu 12 / UI & Yth 7
Flex: $16 / SC & Stu 15 / UI & Yth 10
Single: $18 / SC & Stu 17 / UI & Yth 12

Influenced by everyone from John Coltrane to the Beatles, Pat Metheny's trademarked playing style—rooted deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues—has led to an astounding career that includes an unprecedented string of seven consecutive Grammies. The Pat Metheny Trio, with Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez, performs at 8pm. Afterwards, enjoy a free Afterglow performance in the lobby as Daniel Lanois provides live accompaniment to his short film Giorgio.

Five-Star: $34 / SC & Stu 33 / UI & Yth 19
Flex: $37 / SC & Stu 36 / UI & Yth 22
Single: $39 / SC & Stu 38 / UI & Yth 24

Spanish Accents—Flamenco and the Classical Spanish Tradition: Sunday, October 2 at 3pm

Long considered the "home of the guitar," Spain has exerted tremendous influence on the evolution of the instrument as well as its sound. Hopkinson Smith, a guitar virtuoso internationally recognized for his work with early guitars, provides the perfect introduction to this event, playing the vihuela. Eliot Fisk, a student of the legendary Spaniard Andrés Segovia (considered the father of the modern Spanish guitar), is one of the world's greatest classical guitarists in his own right. Changing the performance tempo, the fiery flamenco guitarist Juan Martín demonstrates why Guitar Player magazine ranks him among the top three guitar players in the world. Author Tim Brookes leads a Prelude conversation with these artists at 2pm in the theatre.

Five-Star: $25 / SC & Stu 24 / UI & Yth 19
Flex: $28 / SC & Stu 27 / UI & Yth 22
Single: $30 / SC & Stu 29 / UI & Yth 24

Blurring the Boundaries: Sunday, October 2 at 7:30pm

Forget about the rules; this event features unique playing styles from artists in categories of their own. Kaki King honed her artistry in the depths of the New York subways and the heights of the "Late Show." She's absorbed the rhythms of her adopted city and unleashed its energy with her dynamic, percussive, acoustic sound. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Andy Summers first reached the world stage as a member of The Police. Since then, he has returned to his jazz roots, recording albums of music by Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus, and forming his own group, the Andy Summers Trio. Vernon Reid entered the pop spotlight in the 80s with the band Living Colour, a group that scored a double-platinum release with Vivid in 1988. With roots deep in the New York jazz/funk/punk scene, there's no musical venture he's unwilling to seize.

Five-Star: $30 / SC & Stu 29 / UI & Yth 19
Flex: $33 / SC & Stu 32 / UI & Yth 22
Single: $35 / SC & Stu 34 / UI & Yth 24

Free Events: Afterglows, Traffic Jam, and Interval

Wall to Wall spills out of Krannert Center's theatres and into the lobby for five free performances. Jesse Harris, the man responsible for many of the brilliant songs on Norah Jones' Grammy Award-winning debut album, including "Don't Know Why," and his band The Ferdinandos present the first of three late night Afterglow concerts on Thursday, September 29, about 10pm. Two Chicago-based, fingerstyle pickers, John Hasbrouck and Eric Lugosch, let their fine instruments resound throughout the lobby for an Interval concert on Friday, September 30 at noon. Audience members are invited to eat lunch during Interval events; brown bag it or purchase lunch at Krannert Center's Intermezzo cafe. Friday, September 30 is also the day for a Traffic Jam concert at 5pm. The Interlude lounge will be open as Dyke and Chrissy Corson and Friends offer an early-evening, country serenade. Daniel Lanois provides live musical accompaniment to his experimental film Giorgio, the Afterglow event on Saturday, October 1 about 10pm. And Sunday evening, October 2, the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival comes to a close with a final Afterglow at about 10pm. This Wall to Wall Wrap-up Party features David Tronzo with Sex Mob, a party band that has slid into the mainstream via “Saturday Night Live,” MTV, and National Public Radio broadcasts, as well as a performance piece for about 20 local guitarists created by Cody Sokolski.

Creative Intersections Activities Around Town

Krannert Center has planned a variety of interactive and performance-enhancing events, or Creative Intersections activities, as companion events to the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival. Taj Mahal presents a Youth Series performance for local school children. John Hasbrouck, Redd Volkaert, and Jesse Harris offer clinics and coaching sessions at local music stores and on the University of Illinois campus. Cindy Cashdollar and Rory Block, Simon Shaheen, and authors Banning Eyre and Tim Brookes will enage in conversations on a variety of subjects from world music traditions to women in music. Techline offers a display of vintage instruments on Friday, September 30 from 3-7pm and Saturday, October 1 from 10am-5pm. Krannert Art Museum displays the photography of Andy Summers from August 23-October 2, including a gallery talk with Mr. Summers on September 29. Apple Computer presents three workshops on its Garage Band and Logic software in the Foellinger Great Hall on Saturday, October 1 at 11:30am, 2pm, and 4:30pm, and author Tim Brookes hosts a Prelude discussion with the artists appearing in "Spanish Accents" one hour before their concert begins on Sunday afternoon. All of these activities are free events.

Throughout the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, artist merchandise will be on sale in the Krannert Center lobby and ongoing artist interviews will be available for iPod downloads.

"Ask Eliot" Podcast Participation

Krannert Center invites public participation in a podcast interview with classical guitarist Eliot Fisk. Called "one of the most brilliant guitarists of our times" by the great Andrés Segovia, Fisk's stunning performances in recital and with ensembles and orchestras have taken place in the world's most famous concert halls. But he's also brought the art of the guitar to countless churches, schools, senior centers, and prisons. Whether he's performing for presidents and royalty, grade school kids, or inmates, Fisk spreads the gospel of guitar with missionary zeal—and he does it in six different languages.

The public is invited to email questions to Put "Ask Eliot" in the subject line of the email, and include name, city/state, and age. Questions will be accepted until midnight on Friday, September 23. Wall to Wall Guitar Artistic Advisor David Spelman will use these questions as he interviews Eliot Fisk for a podcast available at