Blog / Q&A: Slava Grigoryan

Q&A: Slava Grigoryan

Posted on 24 Oct 2016 by Leo Messias

Image: Slava Grigoryan. Photo by Simon Shiff.

Slava Grigoryan is one of the most important guitarists of his generation. We've caught up with Slava ahead of his national concert tour with Richard Tognetti and the ACO, and unearthed some interesting stories behind the guitar player The New York Times described as having "uncommon originality and authority... a singular talent."

What was it that drew you to learning the guitar when you were young?

My parents are both professional musicians. They were always practising, rehearsing and talking about music. It seemed like a very normal thing to be focused on in our household - so when I was given a guitar (at the age of seven) I fell right into line and did what everyone else was doing!

What composers do you enjoy performing the most and why?

As a guitarist, you spend a lot of time focusing on repertoire from Spain and South America.  For me, composers like Tarrega, Granados, Albaniz and Villa-Lobos are very special. The music of J.S Bach and some of his contemporaries is also deeply important to me - it’s rewarding on every single level, as a player and as a listener.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

Slava: Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced.

Your next album is all pieces by Bach. What do you find most compelling about his music?

I’m constantly amazed by the labyrinthine construction of his music - extraordinary in its simplicity, yet so contemporary and stimulating. It must have been completely out of this world when first heard!

Who would you invite (dead or alive) to your dream dinner party?

Slava: I’d love to observe a conversation between Keith Jarrett and Donald Trump. Not sure if I’d like to be sitting around the table at the same time - but it might be worth it.

If you had six months free to learn a new instrument, what would you choose?

Slava: 6 months of learning percussion and drumming of any kind sounds like a pretty good way of spending time to me.

What was your most memorable concert experience as an audience member?

Slava: My parents took me to see the Pat Metheny Group on their ‘First Circle’ tour in 1985. I was 9 years old. That concert changed everything for me!

What are you most looking forward to about playing with the ACO?

Slava: Well, it’s always very special playing with such a brilliant group. I played with them often many years ago -  in fact, it’s been almost 20 years since I last played the Rodrigo concerto with them. Everyone’s technical mastery and wonderful energy is infectious.  


29 Oct - 7 Nov
Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

GORDON KERRY So dream thy sails (World Premiere)
RAVEL Le tombeau de Couperin
RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez
BEETHOVEN Symphony No.7