On November 21, 2009 I attended a concert by Eric Henderson at the Orange County Pavillion in Southern California.
Mr. Henderson's background is indeed impressive. At age 13, Eric was invited to Spain to become one of only a handful of guitarists to study privately with the master guitarist, Andres Segovia. In addition to Segovia, Henderson has studied guitar with Christopher Parkening, Angel Romero, Ernesto Bitetti, Emilio Pujol and Antonia Morales.
Personally, I sponsored Eric Henderson on a tour of the United States when he was 18. He was spectacular.
Henderson's November 21 concert was an update, or maturation, of his talent and skills over the past twenty years.
The evening began with an introductory program by the maker of his guitar, Alejandro Cervantes. It's nice to see a guitar craftsman who can also play, even though I confess impatience during this performance in anticipation of Mr. Henderson.
Eric's appearance brought an immediate receptive response by the audience. He thanked everyone for taking the time to travel to hear him play.
Then he played. His command of traditional repertoire was beyond question. "La Maja de Goya" by Granados and the "Sonatina" by Torroba framed beautiful Spanish interpretation, coupled with flawless technique.
Henderson is gifted with a left hand that should be included with Williams and Parkening. His "La Catedral" showcased his facility.
Henderson's "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" (Tarrega) is one of the best performances of that piece that I have heard.
Eric Henderson's greatest contribution to the guitar is his diversity. Besides traditional repertoire, he presented a second facet of interesting compositions in the program. "Blue and Green", as well as "Grace" were my favorites.
The third facet is arranging. Henderson has ventured intrepidly into arrangements that serve new generatiuons, thus sowing the seeds for future classical guitar acceptance. "Little Wing" (Jimi Hendrix) and, especially, "Paint it Black" (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) were extremely demanding, technically, but translated well to classic guitar. Throughout history, classical music has borrowed from musical folklore and this is a current transfer from our time.
The finale was an encore in response to cries from the audience, "Pipeline". Henderson stated "I've worked for 1 1/2 years on this piece and it's almost impossible". He then proceeded to do the impossible and played this daring, technically frightening piece to perfection.
It brought the house down. I have not seen this energy in a classical guitar concert in many years.
Technique and interpretation are without question. Henderson combines these two in an extremely aggressive manner to maximize the guitar and his performance.
He is multi-generational. We need Eric Henderson to help carry the guitar from its glorious past to the promising future.
- Chris Amelotte
If you are interested in booking a concert, please contact Mr. Henderson's business manager, Jeff Stewart at (949) 275-1039.
If you would like to order CD's or DVD's please visit Eric Henderson's website at www.erichenderson.org.