The Canadian Guitar Quartet has a new take on classical

(Marcela Arévalo/The Omega)

The Canadian Guitar Quartet, a group of four impeccably dressed guitar players, dazzled the audience on Feb. 2. in TRU’s Clock Tower theatre.

The quartet consists of Julien Bisaillon, Renaud Côté-Giguère, Bruno Roussel and Louis Trépanier, who all met each other during their studies at the Quebec Conservatory of Music. Trépanier is one of the original members of the group, as the Quartet first began performing in 1999. After roughly 10 years of touring and producing albums, some of the original members decided to go into retirement giving Bisaillon, Côté-Giguère and Roussel the chance to fill their shoes.

Kamloops was one of the stops on their western Canada tour to promote the release of their new album.

The group will be on the road for 21 days to perform 24 concerts, starting in B.C. and ending in Alberta. The quartet brings a whole new listening experience as they perform classical works like Beethoven all with just four guitars.

“It’s classical music in the larger sense of the word. What we play in some ways is similar to what you would hear at an orchestra concert or at a string quartet concert – yet it’s guitar,” Trépanier said.

Along with classical works, the group often performs pieces that fit a South American tango style.

Trépanier said at the moment the group is most excited to perform their Beethoven piece for the audience, but that they feel most conformable with Tango.

“We feel most at home with the South American tango, I think it’s one of those things where collectively we feel in our gut that we understand it the best.”

The Canadian Guitar Quartet’s latest creation is their album Mappa Mundi, in which majority of the pieces were written for them by different composers. One of the pieces on the program has a unique touch to it, as it was inspired by a taxi ride the group experienced in Argentina.

“We were going from the hotel to the concert hall and the taxi ride we had was so wild and so frightening,” said Trépanier, adding, “that’s one of the pieces on our program now, that describes zipping through traffic at these frightening speeds.”

Other than travelling through South America, Trépanier said one of the groups favourite places to perform was in New York City, in downtown Manhattan.

“I have such a love of movies and Jazz and New York City is just such a fantastic place, it was unforgettable.”

Although the group is able to travel extensively to perform, the most important aspect of their concerts is to be able to interact with the audience, both during the show and afterwards.

“We always pop out and meet with the audience. People get the CD signed and have a nice quick chat with us, it’s been really fun because you get to engage with the audience.”

As for the future, the quartet plans to enjoy performing the current album’s pieces while making plans to return to as many venues as possible to perform again.

“The new CD is going to be in the works sometime in the next couple years, but for now we just want to really enjoy the one that just came out,” Trépanier said.