Muriel Anderson, a guitarist with a variety of styles and musical interests, and a résumé a mile long, is in concert at Richmond Congregational Church at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. If you enjoy guitar music, virtuosic playing and variety in the repertoire this is a do-not-miss concert.
Anderson is not a household name compared to some of the players she has collaborated with, including Chet Atkins, Earl Klugh, Tommy Emmanuel, Victor Wooten and Stanley Jordan, but she is every bit their equal. Anderson plays in a world dominated by men but holds her own. She is primarily a classical guitarist, yet she was the first woman to win the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship.
On Anderson’s list of accomplishments, her CD “Nightlight Daylight” was chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of the decade by Guitar Player Magazine. Her “Heartstrings” recording accompanied the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery. Anderson has performed and recorded with the late Atkins, Les Paul, Wooten and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. She has taken her classical training and expanded it into other areas, including folk, jazz, bluegrass and international music.
Watching Anderson perform, one gets the feeling you have entered a space that is accommodating and filled with joy. Her performance vibes are relaxed and inviting.
At the concert, you will hear Anderson perform on the harp guitar. This instrument is a hybrid, developed as far back as the late 1700s but primarily played in the early 1900s. Usually it has metal strings, six for the guitar and as many as 10 harp strings. The harp strings are used for bass and as drones. Anderson’s instrument has nylon strings, five harp strings, and several high-pitch strings she plucks but does not fret. All in all, the instrument greatly broadens the range of her guitar playing, allowing for a more intricate sound.
Anderson has mastered the instrument, and it becomes a substantial part of her performance.
Among her many accolades, Anderson’s double CD “Nightlight Daylight” won a dozen awards and is the first ever to include an interactive fiber-optic lighted CD cover, her own concept. Her recording of “El Noi de la Mare” appears in Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” She has released more than a dozen instrumental CDs, eight instructional DVDs and guitar books published by Hal Leonard, Mel Bay and Zen-On Japan. Her compositions include commissioned classical works for the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Vox Caelestis Women’s Choir, as well as songs that have appeared as title tracks for three albums by various artists.
In a career that spans 29 years and 17 albums, Anderson impressed a lot of the best guitarists. Atkins said, “She is a good friend and a great guitarist. She deserves national recognition.” Paul said she is “just one hell of a great player … a great personality, and what I like is the touch that Muriel has on the guitar, the way she plays it like we all wish to play.” Her teacher, the renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening, said, “She has demonstrated excellent technique and has the fine musicianship to communicate well to her audiences.”
For her Richmond concert, Anderson performs with her “Wonderlust” program that includes visuals, moving and still images artfully compiled by photo-artist Bryan Allen. This show has been described as: “Sometimes whimsical, sometimes thought-provoking, always engaging. It is a musical journey through space and around the world, bringing together diverse cultures and settings, shining a gentle light on our common humanity.”
All in all, the audience for the Muriel Anderson concert presented by Valley Stage Productions will hear an astoundingly talented performer while also watching a gorgeous visual show.