Chris Acquavella Masterclass comes to Town
Many of us have admired the virtuoso playing of American mandolin player Chris Acquavella, so the chance of a masterclass with such a world class player, teacher and composer proved an enticing prospect! Over 30 players of mandolins and mandolas filled the hall of the ancient St Helens Church in Hangelton, Hove, on Saturday 21 October. Players came from near and far, including Cambridge, London and the West Country to join with members of Brighton’s Fretful Federation Mandolin Orchestra to share in this unique event. All were treated to a selection of Chris’ playing from his newly published book of etudes, to opportunities to work on a range of left and right hand techniques, and to improve our deeper understanding of the instruments.
In addition to Chris’ outstanding skills as a player, he proved a lively and engaging tutor. Bringing the value of the work on techniques to life  for use across many musical challenges. Perhaps most surprising were the fascinating backstories behind each piece. Every etude had been purposefully created to support the personal learning journeys of some of Chris’ individual students back in the US. The result being a cross section of the most common – and some not so common – technical challenges for the dedicated mandolin player. The afternoon proved immensely enjoyable and productive for all concerned and created the perfect lead into the afternoon’s rehearsal for the public performance – including Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto in C major – with Chris, the FFMO and all the guest players to a full house the following day at St Georges Church KempTown. (See full report under Events)
Chris Aquavella’s “Kensington Etudes” his 30 etudes dedicated to his students is published via Trekel, and 10 of them have been recorded on a CD – “Recording of the Dawn” – available on Bandcamp and the usual places.


Chris Acquavella graduated First Class Honors from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance. Chris studied mandolin under the instruction of Alison Stephens and composition with Andrew Poppy. He won the Wolfsan Foundation Music Award; was awarded the TCM Trust Silver Medal for String Studies and won 1st Prize at the 2016 Call For Scores hosted by the Kalamazoo Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra. Chris Acquavella has released five CDs. Chris has performed and taught workshops at the Classical Mandolin Society of America Conventions, River of the West Camp, the David Grisman & Mike Marshall Mandolin Symposium, the annual course of the Austrian Federation of Amateur Musicians (VAMÖ) and the Summer School of the British BMG Federation. He tours extensively in North America and Europe. Acquavella is a published composer of new mandolin repertoire through Joachim-Trekel-Musikverlag, Hamburg and Astute Music Ltd, UK.

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