Section: Arts

Adam Keeler’s guitar performance ranges from Rak to Bach

The gentle, soothing melodies of Adjunct Professor Adam Keeler’s guitar filled the Brandi Recital Hall the night of Oct. 28. The hall was crowded with students, faculty members and families. Keeler sat in the center of the stage with two guitars, one on either side of him. One was a nylon-stringed guitar, while the other was steel-stringed. The nylon string is used for the “finger style” of performance, in which the guitarist does not use a guitar pick, while the steel string is used for the classical style. The recital contained several finger-style pieces, followed by the more

complex classical-style pieces. Kee-ler’s recital brought attention to the intricacies of these two styles of gui-tar playing. Keeler is currently teaching the Level-I Guitar (MUSC 152) and Level I Classical Guitar (MUSC 153) cours-es at Kenyon. “Ever since I got hired I wanted to play a recital … It was just so busy with the students and every-thing else going on that I couldn’t get in right away, but I said ‘just give me a date and I will make it work,’” Kee-ler said. The performance began with Ste-phen Rak’s “Series of Minute Solos,” a piece which Keeler said he uses to teach younger students. Keeler had decided to start his recital with sim-pler pieces so that he would be able to get a feel for the space and adjust his playing for the more complex pieces before diving into more technically challenging pieces. “I normally don’t [start with simpler pieces]. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into this room early enough to really get a feel for [the room] and how it responds to the guitar,” Keeler said. “So if I start with some stuff that’s simple … I don’t have to really focus on what I’m playing, so I can use my ears and hear what’s going on and coming back to me.” The pieces steadily increased in technical complexity, as Keeler moved from Rak to Bach. His fingers moved almost imperceptibly, using minute strumming to convey a layered sound. In an interview with the Collegian, Keeler noted that he had been study-ing “BMV 998,” the Bach piece that he performed, for the last 10 years. While Keeler maintained his focus on simpler pieces that would be acces-sible to any audience, he made an ef-fort to discuss the technical and his-torical aspects of each piece. Although it is not traditional for the performer to speak during a re-cital, Keeler did so in order to provide greater insight into a genre that the audience may not have known much about. Overall, the recital effective-ly showcased Keller’s strong perfor-mance abilities and the value of clas-sical guitar playing.


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