Harold Gretton – Classical Guitarist

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Biography

A shorter biography may be downloaded here.

Harold Gretton began playing guitar at the age of 7. After formative studies with Carolyn Kidd, he started his Bachelor of Music studies at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music under the guidance of Timothy Kain AM. He completed his Bachelor of Music with first-class honours in 2006. He was awarded the Friends of the ANU School of Music Bernhard Neumann prize for most outstanding graduate. He completed his PhD at the ANU School of Music in 2010, and in 2012 went on to complete a “Cour de spécialisation” (as a guitar duo with Véronique van Duurling) at the Strasbourg conservatory with the Duo Melis.

Competitions

Harold has won numerous national and international competitions, including most recently first prize in the 7th international guitar competition of J.K Mertz (2010), first prize in the 2007 Vienna Guitar Forum - International Guitar Competition (Austria), first prize in the 2007 Cordoba Guitar Festival - International Guitar Competition (Spain), first prize in the 2008 Coria International Guitar Competition (Spain), first prize in the 2008 Transylvania International Guitar Competition (Romania), first prize in the 10th Sernancelhe International Guitar Competition (Portugal, 2008), and first prize in the International Competition of 20th Century Guitar Music Interpretation in Lagonegro (Italy, 2006). He was awarded second prize in the 51st Tokyo International Guitar Competition (Japan, 2008) and the Gisborne Music competition (New Zealand, 2005). He has also placed first in the open guitar sections of Australian national eisteddfods and competitions.

Performances


He has performed concerts at the ORF RadioKulturhaus (Austria), at the Cordoba Guitar Festival (Spain), at the Mikulov Guitar Festival (Czech Republic), at the Vienna Guitar Forum (Austria), at the Naxos Guitar Festival (Greece), at the Niksic Guitar Festival (Montenegro), at the Transilvania Guitar Festival and Targu Mures Guitar Festival (Romania), at the Esztergom Guitar Festival (Hungary), at the Darwin International Guitar Festival, at the 2006 Sydney Classical Guitar Society Summer School and for the Sydney Classical Guitar Society concert series, for the Queensland Guitar Society concert series, for the Saigon Guitar Society (Vietnam), and at the International Condrongianos Festival in Sardinia (Italy), amongst many others.


In 2009 Harold performed Ponce's Concerto del Sur at the Sernacelhe International Guitar Festival with Pedro Neves conducting the Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras. In 2008 he was invited to perform with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, at the Annual Proms Concert conducted by Nicholas Milton. He has also appeared twice as a soloist with the ANU School of Music Symphony Orchestra, first in 2004 premiering Nigel Westlake's guitar concerto Shadow Dances under the composer's baton; and for the second time in 2005, with Max McBride conducting Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez.


Chamber Music


Between 2006 and 2009 he also performed numerous concerts with the Canberra-based guitar quartet Guitar Trek. He recorded the album Six Fish with Guitar Trek, which was released in 2012. He performs regularly with Australian flautist Lina Andonovska as the Grettovska Duo. He was also a founding member of the ensemble dominantSEVEN, for which he wrote and arranged numerous works.


He formed the Duo Amythis with Belgian guitarist Veronique van Duurling. The two won the second prize in the chamber music section of the Transylvania International Guitar Comeptition 2009 and the Olsztyn International Guitar festival 2012. They have played concerts in Australia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Videos of the duo can be found here.


Recording


Harold released his first album in January 2010. Entitled “The 20th Century Guitar”, the album consists of four major works originally composed for guitar in the 20th Century. Work are by Luciano Berio, Ross Edwards, Antonio Jose and John Duarte. Order your copies online here!

He is also featured on Guitar Trek 2012 release “Six Fish”, available through Tall Poppies.

Harold has also recorded regularly for radio, and his recordings are regularly heard on ABC classic FM.



Research


For his PhD, Harold's research interest is historically-informed interpretation. This interest led him to perform numerous concerts on original early guitars in Sydney and Canberra as well as at the International Condrongianos Festival. Instruments have included those by Guadagnini, Lacotte, Panormo and Soriot (from the collection of Carlo Barone). He owns a guitar built by Luis Panormo (ca. 1835). Harold has been invited to present lectures at the ANU on the topics of musical form, Haydn and the London fortepiano school, Composing for the Guitar, and essay-writing. He has also presented papers at the ANU Post-Graduate Symposium three times, and was employed by the ANU as a tutor in music history for undergraduate music students.


Composition


Harold's compositions have been broadcast live on ABC classic FM, and were featured in the Musica Viva ménage concert series in Canberra. They have been performed by the Brew Guitar Duo, the Zoco Duo, the Duo Amythis and dominantSEVEN.


Compositions include:


    Two Trios (12') (Elegy and Toccata… or fanfare for the common flan), for Guitar Trio (2013)

    Flock (12') (Currawong, Magpie, Blue Wren, Galah, and Rainbow Lorikeet), for Solo Guitar (dedicated to Timothy Kain 2013)

    Suite (12') (Courante, Sarabande, Bourree I and II, Giga), for Solo Guitar (2012)

    Two Duets (10'), (Anger and Barcarole) for two guitars (written for Véronique van Duurling and the Duo Amythis 2011)

    Platter (16'), (Tasty Cheddar, Double Brie, Stilton, and Danish Blue), for 3 standard guitars and one classical bass (written for Guitar Trek 2011)

    Opus 4: the Brood you owe (8'), for two guitars (written for and first performed by the Brew Duo 2008)

    Amber Ubu's Epiphany (8'), for clarinet, piano, percussion, two guitars, violin and double bass (written for and first performed by dominantSEVEN 2005)

    People who feel strongly about feeling strongly about people (12'), for solo guitar (first performed by Harold 2007)

    L'Armoire Normande (10'), for oboe and guitar (first performed by the Zoco Duo 2006)

    Trois Pièces (5'), for solo guitar (first performed by Harold 2004)