"Ana Vidovic has become a major artist in the classical guitar world. Her appearance at An die Musik reconfirmed why. She has a finely honed technique and a remarkable stylistic sensitivity that allows her to communicate eloquently.
I caught the first half of her sold-out recital, which included two of the greatest hits from the guitar repertoire, Tarrega's "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" and Albeniz's "Asturias," both delivered with a deliciously subtle range of expressive coloring. A sampling of Piazzolla's seductive work inspired sensual playing. Vidovic brought a spontaneous touch to three of Toru Takemitsu's disarming arrangements of pop songs, including the Doris Day classic "Secret Love."
It was also great to hear Stanley Myers' "Cavatina," the bittersweet gem used as the main theme in the riveting film "The Deer Hunter," played so tenderly."
-Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun
"Ana's recital was a total pleasure, from her superb musicianship to her warm personality, which shined during both the concert and the post-recital conversation. The audience responded enthusiastically to each piece and kept encouraging her to continue after she completed the program and two encores."
-Lockwood Hoehl, Executive Director, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
"One of the youngest and most talented virtuoso guitarists in the world, Ana Vidovic from Croatia, opened this year's "Guitar Days" at the Akbank Art Center in Istanbul. The audience at the opening of the "Guitar Days" could see her passion without any doubt. Ana Vidovic gave an outstanding performance. Her face expressed the total surrender to her instrument as she presented her different styles. Having started with a Spanish repertoire including Federico Moreno Torroba, Vidovic continued with modern pieces by William Walton and Rex Willis. She mastered all these styles with her sensitive treatment of the strings of her guitar."
-Johabbes Hillje, Review of the recital at the Akbank Art Center, Istanbul
"With an unmatched phrasing ability and an understanding of the soul of music, Ana captivated the audience in a spellbound state like no other performance I have ever seen in Knoxville! Ana has the gift. She shares her love and understanding of the classical guitar like no other performer I have ever heard!"
-Matthew Dyke, Review of the performance in Knoxville, TN
"Last night, March 8, 2008, Ana Vidovic, Classical Guitarist, made her third appearance here. She drew a full house at the TN Valley Unitarian Church. Ana Vidovic (Vid-o-Vitch, in her native Croatia) strikes me as a reincarnation of the late, Ida Presti. Renown for her expressive mastery of the guitar, Ida Presti had no peer. I venture to say the same for Ana Vidovic.
Ana's program was generally of the Romance period. Except for Sor's Variations on Mozart's "Magic Flute", this era in the world of music presents an array of composers familiar with what the guitar is capable of doing as opposed to just making arrangements from the Classical period. She performed works by Torroba, Tarrega, Barrios Mangore, Paganini, and three works by her fellow Croatian, Stjepan Sulek. Her Jim Redgate Guitar makes her feel greater freedom for musical expression: And that is her secret, Dynamics!
As usual, many came just to hear her perform "Recuerdos de la Alhambra", and she played it as if Tarrega himself was with her. Flawless tremolo and emotion-packed interpretation come across like a stream flowing through the room.
I venture to say that the 2/4 beat in "La Catedral" sets up this song as though the cathedral bells are going, "Bong...Bong..." They are deliberate throughout all three movements, and to me, inspire the entire song. Ana's mastery of mood in her interpretations takes advantage of this and the result is the crowning moment for the concert.
Thank you, Ana Vidovic"
-Joe Franklin, Review of the performance in Knoxville, TN
"I have nothing bad to say about the way the usual combinations of soloist with orchestra work. In the 21st century, as in the 20th, a pianist or a violinist, sometimes a cellist, maybe - rarely - a violist or wind player, plays a concerto. The world is full of gifted soloists. The repertoire is stuffed with great concertos. No complaints.
But when orchestras step into more unusual areas of the concerted literature, the results can be magical. Such was the case Friday night when the guitarist Ana Vidovic joined with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez."
Rodrigo's concerto is justifiably famous. It has been a staple of public radio stations for years, based on its ear-catching melodies and the pop-culture attraction of the guitar. But you don't get to hear it live very often, if for no other reason than guitarists have to muscle their way into concert lineups, past the never-ending line of pianists and violinists.
Vidovic muscled her way through the piece in the muscular way of ballet dancers: lithely and poised. The piece begins just with the guitar, in Spanish dance rhythm, so the soloist can really grab the audience and draw them in. She did it magically with a gorgeous sound and finely pointed rhythm.
From there it was one wonder after the next. The conductor Grant Cooper had the orchestra playing transparently (Vidovic did use a small amplifier to boost the slight instruments sound), and the woodwinds and strings were particularly vibrant in playing against the guitarist's nimble passagework and multihued timbres.
The slow movement sounded lush from Lora Snow's initially English horn solo through the piquant modernity of the central section. The wide-ranging variations that Vidovic played of the opening tune were striking.
The finale - think cubist-Stravinsky meets Bach in Madrid - had zest and dazzle from Vidovic. Cooper found extra clarity in the orchestra's playing.
If Vidovic and the Rodrigo had been alone on the program, it would have been worth a ticket. Cooper and the orchestra also played a brilliant performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Overture: "The Great Russian Easter" and a hearty account of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major."
-David Williams Charleston Gazette, review of the performance with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra
"I just got home from seeing my favorite, Ana Vidovic, at the Monkey, in NYC. She never fails to impress me. Tonight she interpreted her material quite differently, even a little slower than in past performances, and I was quite impressed. Maybe I'm getting old, but her interpretations really thrilled me. She's quite amazing. And I think she's just getting started.
Her technique was, as usual, superb. But she's growing as an artist, and I feel honored to have been a participant in that motion, if, in fact, I was.
I can't help but say that "Ana, every time I come to NYC to see you, my heart comes with me, but it always leaves with you! Please stop stealing my heart!""
-Bob Hansmann Review of the performance at the Monkey, New York
"Ana Vidovic's performance exemplified what all musicians strive for: total artistic control of phrasing, dynamics, timbre and technique. The audience, composed of symphony and jazz musicians, diverse instrumental faculty, and students, all agreed that they had just experienced one of life's truly rare, great musical moments."
"Ana Vidovic is one of the premier classical guitarists of her generation. She has emerged in an intensely competitive concert environment as one of the most sought after performers currently residing in the United States. She has been a featured artist on our series here in San Francisco three times with great success each time. She has deep musicality, virtuoso technical capabilities and a warm and gracious personality."
-Richard Patterson Artistic Director, Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts
"Vidovic is undeniably a very talented young guitarist whose range, as it extends, may well visibly cast her as a major artist?"
-Chris Kilvington Classical Guitar
"Ana Vidovic, an exceptionally gifted and interesting musician - who, at 25, is about to release her sixth recording has been steadily building a reputation as one of the most technically accomplished young players around. And her playing on Saturday was virtually immaculate - detailed, precise and polished.
But this was no mere virtuostic display. Vidovic's playing is nuanced and intensely personal, both deeply felt and deeply thought."
-Washington Post Review of the concert at the Marlow Guitar Series
"As a client on the waiting list for a Jim Redgate guitar I thought I would share with you a few exciting occurrences during the past few weeks. Jim Redgate flew up from Australia to visit me for a couple of weeks. His visit was planned so that we could travel to San Francisco to spend some time with Ana Vidovic, and to attend her concert there.
Jim's visit was very productive, and the three of us were able to spend many hours discussing and playing guitars. Ana informed us that she had recently completed a new recording for Naxos, using her Redgate guitar, and that the CD was due to be released early in 2007. Jim presented Ana with a new guitar sporting his gorgeous new rosette. We took the guitar to the concert hall, and while Ana tested the guitar on stage, Jim and I went to the farthest corners of the concert hall to listen. No matter where we went the guitar projected clearly and beautifully in this large 900 seat venue.
Most artists would require at least a couple of weeks to ?get to know' a guitar before playing it on stage. Not Ana. After playing the new guitar for only a few minutes she decided to play the full two hour concert with it! And play she did.
Her concert was held in the beautiful, and nearly full, 900 seat Herbst theatre in San Francisco. The concert was presented in association with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts, a great supporting organization for the Classical Guitar.
Ana's program included works by Sor, Torroba, Albeniz, Ponce, and Barrios, as well as a wonderful three-movement work written specifically for the guitar by Croatian composer Stjepan Sulek. All stunningly performed in a technically flawless and emotionally sensitive manner by Ana.
Her expressive dynamics and comprehensive grasp of the music belies her young age, and she plays with a confidence and maturity of artists many years her senior. Already one of the finest concert guitarists in the world, I can only imagine where her talent and artistic explorations may yet take her.
Ana received rousing standing ovations that led her to grace us with not one, but two encores, including a beautiful rendition of Recuerdos de la Alhambra that had the guitar players in the audience buzzing ?is she really playing that silky tremolo with only two fingers ?I' and ?M'? ( answer: yes!).
A simply stunning performance by a fine young artist who also had the grace and poise to introduce Jim Redgate to the audience during her performance ( Jim received his own very appreciative round of applause). No wonder so many of you send such rave reviews of her performances when she plays near you. We all agree on one thing, she is an inspiration to us all."
-Chris Kamen Classic Guitars International
"It is difficult to know where to begin when discussing the enormous talents of Ana Vidovic. Her dynamic range, beauty of sound, precision of articulation and virtuosity are such that listening becomes more of an absolute musical experience."
-Stephen Griesgraber Guitar Review
"On Saturday night I was fortunate to catch Ana Vidovic's 10:00 PM recital at The Monkey, on 26th st. in NYC, run by Dominic Frasca. "All the promise of a moonlit night and a dry martini...". This line, stolen from the movie "Moonstruck", seems perfect as a starter to my thoughts on the very special performer that Miss Vidovic is always showing herself to be, last Saturday night included.
Beginning her program with Sor's "Variations on a theme from Mozart" ("The Magic Flute"), Miss Vidovic displayed flawless technique throughout. Her sound was powerful, and her interpretation was anything but timid. She had more than enough control of the fast passages, and handled them with ease, both with her powerful left hand, and most interesting right hand.
Moving on to Barrios's "La Catedral" proved to be equally successful. Her ability to open up with both of these works "cold" shows her to be a most capable guitarist. It was expressive and dynamically interesting, and her harmonics were gorgeous.
The "Sonatina" (Federico-Moreno Torroba) appears to be one of Miss Vidovic's trademark works, or at least to my experiences of hearing her play; and that's fine with me, it being one of my all time favorites. In her hands it came to life!
Paganini's "Grand Sonata" is, perhaps more than anything else, a display of virtuosity; or at least that's always been my feeling. Ana showed decisively that she was able to show that side of herself (as if she hadn't already in her earlier selections!), and her command of the work was solid, powerful, and more than enough to handle the task.
Stanley Myers' "Cavatina", used in the movie "The Deerhunter" and made famous by John Williams, is a delightful smaller piece that I never paid much attention to, though I have to admit that after hearing Miss Vidovic's interpretation I'm inclined to give it a second look.
Then came the "Sonatina Meridional" of Manuel Ponce. If she intended for it to be the show stopper, then she was exactly correct. Wonderfully balanced, and in total control, Ana made this work her own. Her interpretation, again, a little more straightforward than I'm used to, was refreshing in its head-on and oh, so musical approach.
For encores, Miss Vidovic played the Villa Lobos "Etude #7" and "Recuerdos de la Alhambra". Both were exquisite. The Villa Lobos Etude is just so strong a piece, and Ana took no prisoners here. It communicated with both virtuosity and nuance, and her right hand was brilliant. Her chosen tempo was perfect in my opinion. "Recuerdos..." was perfect. She had absolutely no trouble producing a flawless, dynamically controlled, and perfectly even tremolo.
A lot has been said about Ana Vidovic's looks, and I'm not going to go into that here at all, except to say that she is a stunning young woman, and carries herself well. She has great stage presence, and comes across as friendly, unassuming, charming, and warm. One thing of note was that she was using a footstool, wearing full "stiletto" heels! Most women can't even walk in them - she played in them!
I wish for Ana Vidovic all the success in her career as the promise I've seen in her since I first heard of her can bring. The show I attended was her 4th performance in two days at The Monkey - amazing!
I have only one complaint over this performance, and that's that it ended at all. The room was full of her, and then it was over. But she did graciously shake my hand after the recital, giving me just enough time to say, "You're wonderful.""
-Bob Hansmann, review of the performance at The Monkey club in New York
"Ana Vidovic played a series of concerts at The Monkey that displayed a technique and musicianship seldom heard from any instrumentalist. Her pure artistry and stunning stage presence left everyone in attendance feeling that they were witnessing something very special. There is nothing I could write that could truly express what a joy it is to hear her play."
"Ana Vidovic's playing is the perfect balance between musical expression, excitement, and near perfect delivery. She achieves tempos and long phrasing that are usually only heard in violin and piano virtuosos. Her ease of playing, wonderfully dynamic and beautiful sound, and highly developed expression are a joy to hear and watch. It is a celebration of classical music and classical guitar! The audience was captivated from beginning to end at both the concerts she gave for us, and expressed afterwards how meaningful it was to them. We are looking forward to hearing her many times in the future!"
-Brian Roberts Professor of Guitar, Wayne State University, President, Ann Arbor Classical Guitar Society
"Ana Vidovic is a bright young talent, well-equipped to take her place among the world's international soloists."
-Colin Cooper Classical Guitar
"Stunning performance by Ana. Even better than when she was at the Wayne State last year."
-John E Golden
"We had the privilege of hosting a private concert by Ana in our home. The audience included about 45 devoted fans of classical guitar and other classical music lovers. Ana played exquisitely. She impressed all with far more than her phenomenal technique. She played with deep expression and musicality and created a dynamic range from a bold fortissimo to a whispering pianissimo that still sang lyrically. She also presented with a beautiful elegance and warmth that captivated all in the room. The next day we received numerous calls and emails from our guests gushing with thanks and enthusiasm for Ana's performance. Here is just one example: "Ana was just sensational. We woke up buzzing about it this morning. Ana was even better than we imagined. Her technique was other-worldly, and her radiant smile and generous spirit left us feeling hopeful about the world, and the unique and timeless role that music plays in bringing us all a little closer to one another. Listening to Ana play in the private setting of your home made the experience truly unforgettable. I could go on and on, but happily, you both were there and know exactly what we mean! Thank you so much for including us in the evening's event. It put a bounce in our step as we wound our way home, and is one that we will savor for a good long time." I couldn't have said it better."
-Bob Dell Mill Valley, California
"Ana Vidovic produces so many moments of insight that you often feel you are listening to the music for the first time. This is very impressive indeed in one so young-she is only 20."
-Colin Cooper Classical Guitar
"Ana Vidovic's performance with the Westmoreland (PA) Symphony Orchestra was absolutely stellar! Her Tedesco "Guitar Concerto" was a most pleasant aural delight, as it was sandwiched in between the boisterous Bernstein "Candide" and Mahler's "Titan Symphony". Her encore, "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" by Francisco Tarrega, was greeted with thunderous applause. She won the hearts of the audience, many of whom want her to return soon. Her stage presence, filled with confidence and poise, is as attractive as her musicianship is superb! Bravo Ana!"
-Morrie Brand, Executive Director of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra
"Her virtuosity continues to astound...with no apparent technical limitation and a musical maturity that belies her age, Ms Vidovic is in a position to do great things with the classical guitar."
-Stephen Griesgraber Guitar Review
"Ana Vidovic is an artist who exemplifies the evolutionary advance in guitar skills and we are fortunate to be able to experience her talent. From the first notes of the Bachs First Violin Sonata, you knew you were in the presence of an extraordinary artist. She has one of the most relaxed and motionless hands I have ever seen, resulting in the illusion that her fingers dont even appear to be moving at all. She played as if the guitar were an extension of her body."
-Jeffrey Rossman Classical Voice North Carolina
"Its truly a delight to discover Vidovics talent... A fluid virtuosity which serves purely the expression! Supple phrasing, a particularly solid technique, totally at ease. Its all there, energy, intelligence, finesse...Striking!"
-La Guitare Classique Review of Naxos CD
"...from the first note we were treated to an excellent performance that gave us all we could handle as human beings! Passion,Grace,Supreme Virtuosity,Superb Tone and an intelligent use of great fingering that made each and every composition live and breathe to it's fullest, that was our present from this great young Artist! She dazzled the attending crowd from her 1st note to the last. Such clean playing all evening and her choice of tempos, were right on the money!"
-Don Witter, Jr. Review of The Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York
"When Ana Vidovic started playing the Bach First Violin Sonata I sensed that we were in for a real treat. When Ana finished the Bach, there were more oohs and aahs from the audience than Ive ever heard at a concert. Ive never seen so many jaws drop by a performance. Ana was truly spectacular and played with maturity way beyond her 22 years."
-Harold Sexton SGS Newsletter
"Ana Vidovics playing is extraterrestrial. The Bachs Prelude to the E-major Partita is not only the fastest Ive ever heard; its also one of the cleanest and most perfectly shaped, astonishingly lithe, elegant and tasteful. Vidovic has developed a playing style that wins competitions and will certainly strike fear into the hearts of even the most grizzled competition veterans."
-Steven Rings American Record Guide, Review of Naxos CD
"When I heard Ana's magical talent, I was a stunned prey in her musical web of delightful sounds and experiences. She makes every piece sound effortless and magical."
-Randy Reed Review of Naxos CD
"Ana Vidovic is beautiful and young with an incredible talent and I came away with a feeling of great hope that this brilliant rising star will soon shine over not just the classical world, but the entire world as well. Her beauty and talent could turn more ears and eyes towards us and elevate us onto the bigger and brighter stage where we feel we belong."
-Herb Tanimoto Review of Lake Tahoe performance
"Hailed as a bright young talent destined for a major international career, Croatian born classical guitarist Ana Vidovic is a quickly rising star with a mantle full of prestgious awards from around the world. Wowing audiences since her first public performance at age seven, her playing has been described as "...energetic, intelligent, finessed-magic!""
-Western Washington University Performing Artrs Center Series
"Technical perfection is only one way to say how she plays. He fingers struck out at the notes like a snake striking it?s pray with the speed and accuracy that only hours and days of practice can give you, yet always keeping in mind the phrasing of the total music."
-Charles A. Berry Austin Guitar Society Review
"The Croatian Prodigy"
It was one of those rare moments of sheer magic when Ana Vidovic walked onto the stage for the Final of the Albert Augustine Memorial International Guitar Competition wearing a beautiful, colourful, traditional dress. I remember thinking how wonderful she looked and how great it was that one so young made it to the Final of the Competition that should really be contested by post-graduates with considerable concert performance experience. I thought, she'll do well but that is as far as it will go. I was wrong! Her playing was magical and I was spell-bound for at least five minutes, when I started smiling to myself in disbelief. I looked at Rose Augustine, who was sitting next to me, and saw the same look of amazement on her face. We realized that we were witnessing a historical moment: this little girl was going to be one of the biggest names in the guitar in the years to come. When we looked over to the jury, we saw that , they too, were experiencing the same spell: no one made any notes, they were hanging breathlessly on every note Ana played!
The truly exceptional thing is that the guitar is not blessed with many prodigies, unlike the violin or piano. In fact, one has to go back to the 30's, to the incomparable Ida Presti to find a similar talent. For me the most gratifying aspect of Ana's talent is that she plays with exceptional musicality. She is not - like so many guitarists - preoccupied with flying fingers, although she has quite a phenomenal technique."
-Tom Kerstens BGS Records
"Adam's (my student) lesson went very well, I thought. Ana brought up some of the same things I've been working on with him, reinforcing in a new and incontrovertible voice some basic concepts Adam needs to master. She also suggested some new ideas about interpretation and technique that will be valuable to him. I enjoyed watching Ana teach and appreciate her flexibility in allowing Adam's father and me to sit in on the lesson. Her personal style, which is gracious, gentle, and sincere, made us feel comfortable right away, and she handled skillfully the issue of the student's loyalty and attachment to his own teacher.Ana made her points with Adam without the least appearance of challenging the instruction he has received from me. Adam, and the rest of us, also enjoyed the concert. Ana is a brilliant artist. It was well worth the trip was well worth the long drive and expense."
-George Westafer Knoxville Classical Guitar Society
"My lesson with Ana was wonderful. I learned so much, I didnt realize how much work I needed on my technique. And the Concert was amazing. She even played a few songs that my teacher wrote that I was working on. It really inspired me so much. I know she has a really busy schedule but I hope she comes back to knoxville next year. Thank you so much for everything."
-Jason Schmidt Knoxville Classical Guitar Society
"Loved your master class and concert at Portland Classical Guitar on March 26(and I think everyone else did too). Your visit was a real "shot in the arm" for classical guitar in the Portland area.Thanks for coming, and please do come again -- soon."
-Clark Berry Jefferson Classical Guitar Society
"Ana, Your performance in Knoxville last Saturday was stupendous --- pure class; both visually and audibly. Aside from your near flawless technical rendition of each piece, and your insightful interpretation of the music; your delicate touch on the guitar exudes an ethereal quality. It is hoped that the highly sophisticated way you package yourself for your audience, and your very professional stage persona will take you to the world's elite
-Birdie Long Knoxville Classical Guitar Society
"Ana was magnificent of course. She is not only a beautiful and gifted musician, but a lovely person as well. We loved having her here and I hope she enjoyed herself as well.
We had a great turnout at the concert, the biggest attendance we've ever had! A record for us. She is a great draw.The crowd was so happy with her. Thanks for being so great to work with!"
-Roma Sprung, Director Jefferson Classical Guitar Society
"...just an amazing musician! Although her technique was flawless, it was her musicianship which shined through and captivated everyone...I was equally impressed with her insightful comments in the master class. Sometimes a performer will have "different technical" advice for students than the teacher advocates....not in this instance! Ana was direct and to the musical point; with a strong musical and technical foundation in every answer."
-Lee Dyament, Director Review of Wayne State University Recital
"The lesson with Ana was wonderful and the concert was phenomenal. I enjoyed it more than the last David Russell concert I went to in seattle. I enjoyed the master class and got a lot of interesting ideas. As far as the lesson was concerned, I?ve been working on the PFA for a few years and wanted to take the fugue to ?the next level?. we spent an hour and 45 min on it and 15 minutes and the prelude. I loved every second of our time together. her expressive and dynamic control is amazing."
-Jeff Rinkoff Jefferson Classical Guitar Society
"Ana is a fantastic musician, we all liked very much her playing."
-Arnoldo Nerio Garcia, Director Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, Mexico
"Angel of the Guitar"
This young woman has it all! Manors, grace, beauty, musical maturity, technique in the ozone, personality, humility, stamina, and for me, the most important thing of all, a huge, honest sound! It's been a long time since I've been so impressed with a musician! Viva la Vidovic!"
-Ben Bolt Jefferson Classical Guitar Society
"We were thrilled with Ana in all respects. She drew a very large crowd. I'm sure we'll have her back here again."
-David Feingold, Director of Guitar Studies Western Washington University-Performing Arts Center-Bellingham, WA
"My lesson was amazing, Miss Vidovic really inspired me. I got to meet her, she is a very kind and sincere. I really enjoyed her phenomenal performance and look foward to seeing her again in El Paso and possibly Juarez."
-Jonathan Lozoya IV Concurso y Festival Internacional de Guitarra "Guitarra sin Fronteras" University De Musica De Chihuahua, Mexico
"Ana did an outstanding concert. We called her back for two encores. And, delight of delights! She did Recuerdos de Alhambra, my favorite piece and I think it was the best I have ever heard it played. What a guitarist . . . It was a marvelous week end!!!
And the lessons with Ana are really helping me so much, Thank you."
-Norm Ault Western Washington University-Performing Arts Center-Bellingham, WA
"AS GOOD AS IT GETS!
From the moment she took the stage, Ana Vidovic had full command of the audience. The opening notes of the concert, merely validated this fact, as a hush fell over the house that was to last the entire evening Ms. Vidovic began her program with the demanding Sonata No.1 by J. S. Bach. The mysterious and ponderous opening adagio was perfectly balanced by the huge second movement fugue, which was played with clockwork and precision. The beautiful and lyrical third movement Siciliana provided a
luxurious respite in preparation for what proved to be a thrillingly quick final movement Presto.
This transcription by her teacher, Manuel Barrueco, keeps the work in the original key of g minor, as opposed to the more user friendly key of a minor used by the majority of players who take on the challenge of this extraordinary work. Every moment in the Sonata was perfectly proportioned and flawlessly executed. If the Sonata had been the only work on the program, this Bach loving reviewer would have left the hall satisfied.
She followed the Bach with two familiar works by Spanish composer and close friend to Segovia, F. Moreno Torroba. The very romantic Suite Castellana and Sonatina were as fresh and light as the spring rain which danced quietly on the roof of the concert hall.
I especially enjoyed the programming of Ms. Vidovic's performance. The trajectory of Part I of the program, with its movement from the Bach Sonata into the Torroba works formed the first half of a sweeping arc which was to be mirrored in Part II.
The second half of the program opened, as the first half closed, with the romantic Sonatina Meridional by Mexican composer and close friend of Segovia, Manuel Ponce. Ponce wrote four full blown Sonatas for solo guitar, but this piece he titled Sonatina, indicating a lighter treatment.
Next up was a piece which Ms. Vidovic introduced as very near and dear to her heart. "The Troubadours Three" is a three movement work written by fellow Croatian composer, Stjepan Sulek, for her first teacher, Professor Istvan Romer of the National Musical Academy in Zagreb. She noted that the work sounded more Spanish than Croatian. Interestingly, this listener heard direct musical quotes in the second movement (Sonnet) from the fugue from the Bach Sonata in the first part of the program. It was striking to hear this reference back to the beginning of the concert.
The performance closed with the ever popular La Catedral by Augustine Barrios Mangoré. The quiet opening contrapuntal passages were, again, reminiscent of the Bach, while the explosive finale were executed with the same exquisite boldness of the earlier Presto.
The standing ovation merely underlined the seeming inevitability of Ana Vidovic's return to play one of her favorites, Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz which, at this point, seemed like mere child's play in the hands of this master guitarist."
-Joseph Thompson -JCGS President Jefferson Classical Guitar Society- Ashland,Oregon
"Ana was a total delight and it was a special honor to have her stay with us.
Marcy and I look forward to her return.
-Joseph Thompson President, Jefferson Classical Guitar Society- Ashland,Oregon
"My lesson with Ana was great! She was very kind and shared good information! Thanks for everything!"
-Hiram Rodriguez IV Concurso y Festival Internacional de Guitarra "Guitarra sin Fronteras" University De Musica De Chihuahua, Mexico
"Ana was great! The masterclass went smoothly and the performance was excellent. Ana is a Philly favorite. Looking forward to a return engagement!"
-Michael Simmons, President Philadelphia Guitar Festival
"We were amazed with Ana´s performance! We would like to have her here again in the future, she really has alot of fans here and the people who missed her concert already asked us to bring her back. I will be contacting you very soon."
-Marco Aurelio Alvirez, Director IV Concurso y Festival Internacional de Guitarra "Guitarra sin Fronteras" University De Musica De Chihuahua, Mexico
"Ana presented a wonderful concert at Va.Wesleyan last evening, as well as a great masterclass this morning. It has been a delight to have her here, and do hope we can enjoy her exceptional artistry in another season."
-Sandi Billy, Director Virginia Wesleyan College Concert Series
"Ana's concert in Virginia was phenominal. Much more than we expected. We consider ourselves fortunate for having the opportunity to have seen her and I know that she is probably the best that I'll ever see in person. Obviously she's doing what G-d put her on this earth to do. A wonderful experience for us. Thank you."
-Frank and Cathy Rossi Virginia Wesleyan College Concert Series
"I would like you express my appreciation of Ana's performance at the Fraser Valley Acoustic guitar festival. I had the opportunity to talk with her before the show and she is a wonderful person. The show was fantastic. I would also like to thank her again for signing my CD and concert program.
Thank you for bringing her tour to Langley."
-Curtis Zondag Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival
I wanted to say thank you for the fabulous concert you performed for us at the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Societies Annual Guitar Festival on April 9, 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing you live for the first time. You approach the world with extraordinary grace, style and humility that is refreshing and appealing. I look forward to seeing you in Bethlehem and wish you success and good health until then."
-Brian Pearson, Director of Membership and Publicity Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society
"I saw you play here in Philly last week for the guitar fest.. You were INCREDIBLE!! Such amazing technique and musicality. I was truly blown away by La Catedral. After the concert I was going to introduce myself but I was anxious to get home and practice after so much inspiration. Anyway, take care and can't wait to see you perform again!"
-Guy West Philadelphia Guitar Festival
"Thank you for your amazing performance at the PCGS event at the Louise Curtis Settlement School on April 9. The last time I heard the guitar played like that was around 1950 when Segovia performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Best wishes. You are terrific."
-Robert Selles Philadelphia Classical Guitar Festival
"My lesson with ana was fabulous. Everything I was hoping for and more. She is the consumate professional both in her playing and in her presence.I am taking her advice and I have much more direction now in what to achieve and especially how to achieve it."
-Bruce Baird Frazer Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival
"She is a wonderful player and musician and everyone loved it.
Ana is a warm and engaging person, and the students and audience were thrilled to have her. I would invite her back at any time and would love to hear her magnificent playing again in Victoria.
Thank you so much for sending her to us - she must come back!"
-Alex Dunn, Festival Director Victoria Conservatory of Music, British Columbia
"The session with Ana was great, informative, helpful...
She was perhaps overly kind in issuing praise and had more tolerance for my mistakes than could ever be expected. She was able to point out many areas for me to improve and areas for me to work on. I am very happy to have received a lesson from her and would definitely do it again."
-Henning Von Schmeling Toronto, Ontario
This is a message from Pittsburgh, A member from the guitar society at Duquesne University. I enjoyed your performance at the University that night. You also conducted your self in a real professional manner, I was very pleased. YOU an the orchestra had great magic together(really).AND YOUR SOLO TOO!"
-Eugene Sabol JR. Pittburgh Guitar Society
"I finally took a guitar lesson!
I sucked it up last October, and played a movement of the Claude Bolling guitar Sonata in a Master Class given by renowned Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic. We had a lively discussion regarding a performer?s discretion in editing a composer?s work; and I learned a good deal about how to improve my right hand. Go to Ana?s website and watch her performance at the Kennedy Center- also listen to samples from her Naxos CD. It?s all good, but track 1 is a knockout! update: Ana played a fabulous recital at Xavier U. in Nov. ?05. Of course, I took advantage of her proximity to take another guitar lesson. I'll learn this thing yet!"
"I would like to thank Ana for accepting our invitation to perform at An die Musik Live! I had a few calls from the audience today and expressed how much they enjoyed the concert and insisted that we have to bring Ana back every month."
-Henry Wong, Director Andie Musik Live
"A REVIEW OF ANA'S NEW DVD!
I just bought Ana's DVD and I feel moved to share with you my thoughts on Ana Vidovic?s new DVD, ?Ana Vidovic ? Guitar Virtuoso?.
Ms. Vidovic is well known for her exquisite technique and precision. In this video she demonstrates a level of musicality that surpasses her earlier recordings. This is perhaps best exemplified in her rendition of Fuga from Bach?s First Violin Sonata. The music enters your soul and lovingly caresses it. Then, in a tender embrace, it gently lifts you out of the work-a-day world and elevates you into a world of serene beauty.
The interview, included on the DVD, gives the viewer a brief insight into the performer herself. Having been fortunate enough to have spent time with Ms. Vidovic, I can assure you that the beauty of her playing is only equaled by her beauty as a person.
I highly recommend this video, not only to lovers of the guitar, but to all lovers of beautiful music. It won?t disappoint!"
"Performing to a standing room only audience, Ana Vidovic demonstrated her command of the instrument with flawless technique and masterful interpretation of her chosen music. She has chops to spare, and her ease of execution make it all look so easy. Her tone was excellent and she brought the best out of her high tech guitar. At this stage of her career she is stainless steel; look forward to her mellowing into sterling silver.
...She is top notch, and will probably go on to a career as an in demand soloist doing gigs with orchestras on a full time basis, so get out and see/hear her in the small rooms while you can.
...her playing was trancendent, raising the bar to a new high. I wish it will become in service to new music and a larger audience.
...basically note perfect. Players like her have moved the guitar into the same realm of expectation as the violin and piano."
-Fans review of Ana's performance in Bethleham, PA www.acousticguitar.com
"THE MORNING-CALL REVIEW OF ANA VIDOVIC?S BETHLEHAM PA. PERFORMANCE
From the moment she stepped on the stage at Moravian College's Peter Hall last Saturday night, guitarist Ana Vidovic conquered the full house. Her performance was captivating. The radiant, 25-year-old native of Croatia was self-assured and charming in introducing the works.
She opened with a transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach's first violin sonata, establishing her authority as a bona fide virtuoso and an extraordinary musical talent.
The performance continued with F. Moreno Torroba's ''Suite Castellana,'' a set of dances from the Iberian Peninsula and South America. Vidovic demonstrated her great musicality, especially in her ability to capture the shifting moods of the different movements.
Before the intermission, she treated the audience to Fernando Sor's ''Variations on a Theme by Mozart,'' playing it with humor and finesse.
In the second half, Vidovic showed a strong attachment to the music of her countryman, Stjepan Sulek, with ''The Troubadours Three,'' a work with Spanish character and the composer's only composition for the guitar. It followed a rendition of Manuel Ponce's ''Sonatina Meridional.''
The evening ended with two encores, bringing the numbers of wows by members of the audience to a new record. Vidovic is already an extraordinary artist with impeccable technique and musical insight and a communicative personality."
-Ilan Peleg Ph.D Allentown Morning-Call, Bethleham, PA.
"Ana 's Technique is extraordinary. There is no doubt that she is among the finest classical guitar player of this time , I would say she is the best classical guitar player since the Andres Segovia , Julian Bream and John Williams, and she will continue to delight audiences around the world for many many years. She is the Queen of the guitar. Viva la reina de le guitarra."
"On Wednesday July 5, I was invited to a one-hour concert in New York to hear the extraordinarily expressive and alluringly beautiful young Croatian classical guitarist virtuoso Ana Vidovic who held a small, attentive audience in rapt attention through her romantic renderings of music that cast a spell lasting long beyond the evening's end. I expect big things from Ana!"
-J. Vincent Pastore, Jr.
"I cannot express enough how incredible Ana Vidovic is as a performer and a person. She has a talent that is unmatchable. We felt very blessed to have her as our featured artist. The festival itself was a great success with an extremely high level of quality performances and the largest turn out thus far in 6 years.
Throughout the day one could feel the anticipation and excitement of Ana's concert coming that night. She truly did not disappoint. The concert hall holds around 150 people. That night we had standing room only with folks tightly crammed together. She more than packed the house. Despite the numerous bodies, one could hear a pin drop as she held the audience in the palm of her hand-leaving everyone awestruck!
Ana is obviously a virtuoso of the highest caliber, but her expression and musicality were on the forefront of the performance.
Additionally, Ana is very giving a gracious with her time. Unlike many players of her level, she was willing to talk to audience members after the masterclass and concert. She was very personable and unhurried. Truly a beautiful spirit.
Again, I am very grateful to have Ana Vidovic perform on the Bethlehem Guitar festival. I will definitely invite her back as long as our theme is fitting.
The Bethlehem Guitar Festival has existed for 6 years and has been the host to revered artists. Every year the festival seems to grow slowly and steadily. This year however, Ana Vidovic put the Bethlehem Guitar Festival on the map.
Thank you so much!"
-John S. Arnold, Director Bethleham Guitar Festival
"Ana I saw Yizchak Perlman from the front row in Greensboro, SC. I consider you to be the Perlman of the classical guitar."
"I have watched the dvd three times over in 36 hours, and I am completely uplifted by it. The performance is exquisite, and Ana plays with such expression and clarity. I particularly loved the Bach Suite in G minor and Ponce's Sonatina Meridional - such feeling and technical accomplishment. In fact every piece was lovely, and the DVD format is so educational.
It was certainly worth the wait for this DVD to arrive!!
I look forward to Ana's next Naxos recording in the summer of 2007, and even more to the time Ana performs in London!!!!
A uniquely gifted musician."
"In the past few days, I had the pleasure of seeing Ana Vidovic in concert twice, once in Juarez as part of their guitar festival, and once in El Paso. The program was the same both days, with the exception of the encores. Her Jim Redgate guitar was amplified in the first concert through the house system, but not in the El Paso concert which was held in a very nice small music recital hall.
As we all know, classical guitar is a difficult instrument to play well. While I enjoy most classical guitar performances there is often some level of discomfort and flinching at the mistakes; not that I am consciously waiting for them, but since the repertoire is small and a buzz, flubbed note, or tempo interruption occurs easily they stand out and distract from the musical experience whether I want them to or not. There is no such distraction when listening to Ana Vidovic. No performance is perfect but if there are any mistakes she masks them so well that they do not distract from the music in any way. You can feel there is total confidence and control in her playing. She is one of the few players I have heard or seen who can perform Asturias while keeping the chord strums on the beat with no loss of tempo. I would say that her playing is even better than when I saw her several years ago. There is more tone color, and superb dynamics and phrasing of musical lines. She can play fast, but it didn't sound rushed. She sticks mostly to the tried and true repertoire thus far (she mentioned in a masterclass that she would like to broaden that in the future) but when music is played at such level of perfection, even the old warhorses obtain a new glow and provide much pleasure.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sound she coaxed from her Redgate guitar. In the first concert, it was amplified to good effect producing a classical guitar sound which preserved colors and dynamics very well. In the unamplified case, the natural guitar sound came through better. When she played a phrase in the masterclass it was immediately obvious that the Redgate does sound a bit different in color from a traditional guitar, but also that it has tremendous power and clarity. In the concert setting, the guitar delivered deep but well defined basses and a particularly good first string treble sound with ample sustain, power and sweetness. I am not sure if the midrange was a little less distinct, or if she just emphasized that first string so well in her playing. Tone separation was excellent. In the masterclass someone asked why her guitar sounded so much better than those of the students, was it the guitarist or guitar? Ana answered this very diplomatically, saying she was very fortunate to have such a nice and loud guitar, but that she still felt it was 70% player and 30% guitar. She was too nice to pick up a student guitar and play a phrase to make her point... If my memory can be trusted, in comparison with the Ruck guitar she performed on when I saw her last, I would say the Redgate had a less dominant bass sound, a bit more tone separation and clarity, and an equally soaring first string.
She wore a dress without sleeves which would seem to make it more difficult to slide the right arm over the guitar edge; she mostly pivots her elbow to reach for the basses in scale runs and does not slide her arm up and down (the way Tennant advocates on his DVD). This means that in single note runs, she tends to get a warm bass tone color because she crosses the strings diagonally, ending or starting with the bass strings played over the soundhole. Her performance style is "traditional". No chatting with the audience about the composers or pieces, except to announce a change in program and to welcome or thank the audience. I actually preferred this, it worked well to remain focused on the music.
Before the Juarez concert we were hanging out in the hotel bar with the festival organizers and she joined us for a drink. Relaxed, and very friendly. She gives many concerts and enjoys traveling and meeting people. She offers lessons to classical guitarists at any level, as explained on her web site. When she found out I regularly visited Baltimore she immediately offered to schedule a lesson. I hope to have that chance some time. Unfortunately, for my next few trips there it seems she is out of town.
If you have the chance, attend a concert by her. You will be rewarded with renewed enthusiasm and love for the classical guitar.
Variations on a theme by Mozart, Fernando Sor
Suite Castella, Torroba
Sonatina Meridional, Ponce
The Troubadours Three, Sulek (Croatian composer, piece from her NAXOS CD)
La Catedral, Barrios
Night 1: Villalobos, Etude 1
Night 2: Villalobos, Etude 7; and Recuerdos de la Alhambra"
-Rene Acoustic Guitar
"By all accounts ana?s stay here was a huge success. Everyone, faculty included, are still talking about her and congratulating me on a successful promotion.
Her media interviews went very well. And, her teaching was right on! We will feel positive effects of her stay here for a long time to come and will certainly have her back next year.
Please give my best to Ana and thank her for a wonderful experience!"
-John Siqueiros, Department Chairman University of El Paso Texas
"The concert was great!! Ana is a beautiful person and a great artist!"
-Carlos Benitez, Director Juarez Guitar Festival
"Ana is an absolute joy to chat with. Interviews like I had with her are rare. She is a charm. I had a great time, and the audience had a great time, too. We had at least 30 call after the radio show was done, and all of them were positive.
Thank you for such a wonderful time."
-Dennis Woo, Operations Director KTEP-FM, El Paso, Texas