24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, Volume One, Books 1 & 2 Nos. I-XII
Hailed as “one of a kind, a banjoist who specializes in classical music and regularly knocks socks off left and right doing so,” John Bullard has released a new recording, 24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, Volume One, Books 1 & 2 Nos. I-XII was produced by multiple Juno Award and Grammy-winning David Travers-Smith. Bullard commissioned composer Adam Larrabee to write 24 Preludes which Larrabee says he wrote in a style that is “predominantly early 20th-century, at times almost neo-classical and inspired by works of J.S. Bach, Chopin, and Shostakovich that follow the long-standing tradition of writing pieces in all the major and minor keys to showcase an instrument’s versatility.” He continues, “I have tried to make each prelude feature a different form, performance technique, timbre, or rhythmic style. There is an all-pizzicato or muted piece, one featuring natural harmonics or “chimes,” a Bulgarian ratchenitsa, a Basque zortico, a passacaglia, a jazz “stride piano” style cakewalk, a theme and variations, a Brazilian choro in the style of the great Villa-Lobos, and Russian march ala Prokofiev. It has been a wonderful experience to feature the banjo in these diverse styles and create new repertoire for this beautifully unique and versatile instrument.” Available through iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Amazon, and other major streaming services, the recording can also be purchased at JohnBullard.com.
John Bullard is internationally acclaimed for his flawless technique, musicality and his groundbreaking performances ushering the banjo into new territory as a fresh voice in the chamber music arena. Comparing Bullard to Segovia, who was a pioneer in turning the guitar into a classical instrument, Wireless raved “what Segovia did for the guitar, John Bullard may well do for the five-string banjo!” Dedicated to developing and transcribing classical repertoire for the five-string banjo, his discography includes the critically acclaimed Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art, featuring works by Baroque and Romantic composers that present a variety of tone colors, beautifully executed ornamentation, and sensitive interpretations produced by Jayme Stone, The Classical Banjo (Dargason), which includes works by Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, and Bach on the Banjo (Albany Records), which introduce many of Bullard’s own arrangements and transcriptions of classical works for banjo. Music from Bullard’s recordings has been included in several feature films such as the DreamWorks animated film The Rise of the Guardians and the award-winning The Edge of Heaven. This project is his first recording of commissioned music for banjo as he seeks to expand the banjo’s classical reach. Next season will see the recording of Larrabee’s Volume Two of the 24 Preludes.