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Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka, better together

Guitarists Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka will present a program spanning centuries of music for the instrument.

Guitarists Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka, Instructors of Guitar at Interlochen Arts Academy and Northwestern Michigan College, respectively, will join forces this weekend for a concert spanning a huge breadth of guitar works.

The first part of the program will contain works of living composers, including a world premiere of "Arroyo Secco" by composer Sean Hickey along with music by Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Cochran himself.

Cochran performed Arnalds' piece "Saman" in Studio A.

"Saman," which translates to "togetherness" or "unity," was originally composed for the piano, but Cochran says he "respectfully disagrees."

"I think Ólafur Arnalds writes remarkable guitar pieces and just simply performs them on the piano," he says.

Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka in Studio A.jpg
Kacie Brown
Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka in Studio A.jpg

In the second half of this weekend's program, guitarist Michael Kudirka will perform with a very special guitar of his own design.

Interested in historical tuning systems, Kudirka found it frustrating how little control he had over his instrument's intonation.

"The manufacturer is setting the string lengths and not me," he says.

He wanted the same flexibility that string or woodwind players have to subtly change the pitches they play, and commissioned a guitar with frets in unusual places that would allow him more precision.

With the end result, he says, "I can play chords that are really, really in tune. For me as a player, what could better than to be able to hit a chord and just have it sound just as sweet as you could ever imagine."

Michael Kudirka plays his special microtone guitar
Kate Botello
Michael Kudirka plays his special microtone guitar

Matthew Cochran and Michael Kudirka will perform at the Cathedral Barn in Historic Barns Park in Traverse City on Saturday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 20 at 3:00 p.m.

For tickets and more information, please visit the Traverse Symphony Orchestra website.

Music performed in this program:
"Saman" by Olafur Arnalds (Matthew Cochran)
"Lachrimae Antiquae Novae" and "Sir John Souch's Galliard" by John Dowland (Michael Kudirka)
"Danza No. 1" from "La Vida Breve" by Manuel de Falla (Cochran and Kudirka).

Stefan Wiebe engineered this podcast.

Kacie Brown is IPR's Digital Content Manager.

Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.