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Artistic Statement

I’ve worked in various musical styles in my life and flamenco is the only one that encompasses everything that’s important to me about being a musician. Deeply rooted in tradition, flamenco provides a means to improvise, create and express profound and subtle emotions.

Perhaps what appeals to me most about flamenco is that it is guitar music. Everything about flamenco music, its harmonies, melodies and voicing, reflect its roots in guitar playing. Exploring flamenco is a way of exploring the instrument that I’ve played since I was ten.

I also love the way flamenco allows me to work so closely with other artists. Playing flamenco with singers and dancers means working in sync with other artists, matching the dancer’s footwork beat for beat, or following the singer’s unexpected harmonic shifts. Your eyes and ears are always locked on the other artists in shared creation.

Whatever the reason, my work with Mojácar Flamenco has been the most profound, fulfilling and far-reaching work of my career.

Biography

Guitarist and composer Stephen Dick grew up in London where he began playing guitar at the age of ten. He passed quickly through his "junior Bob Dylan" phase before becoming enamored with jazz in high school. His love of jazz led him to the music of nylon string jazz guitarists like Laurindo Almeida and Charlie Byrd. The desire to imitate these masters led, in turn, to his studying classical guitar at night school.

This, in turn, led to his focusing on classical guitar in college. While still an undergraduate student at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Stephen was hired as a staff guitar instructor when his teacher, Richard Hastings, left Portland for Los Angeles. (25 years later, Stephen and Richard met up again at a jazz club in Los Angeles. They now perform together when their schedules permit.)

Stephen earned his M.A. in Music Composition at San Francisco State University where he studied with Pulitzer prize-winning composer Wayne Peterson. While at San Francisco State, Stephen was awarded the Frampton Award for Contemporary Music for his work as a composer. Stephen also studied guitar and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with another Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, William Thomas McKinley. He also studied composition at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. While still a student at SFSU, Stephen organized BACA, the Bay Area Composer's Alliance, and produced concerts of new music from local composers. Later, Stephen formed Enthusiasms Of The Hand, a performance ensemble dedicated to presenting a wide variety of music for the guitar.

Stephen began his alliance with dancer/choreographer Katerina Tomás when he created music for a series of dances she choreographed in 1986. The two artists later collaborated on Canciones Nuevas y Añejas, a program of original works on Spanish themes including Romance Sonambulo.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1990, Stephen and Katerina formed L.A. Olé, a flamenco company focusing on traditional music and dance. L.A. Olé performed at numerous concerts and festivals around Southern California, including events at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, one of which honored a visit to El Pueblo by Prince Felipe of Spain.

Stephen studied flamenco guitar in Spain with Manolo Sanlúcar, Manolo Franco, José Antonio Rodriguez, Manuel Lozano "El Carbonero," Domingo Ortega and Paco Arroyo.

Mojácar was formed in 1997 and has performed in concerts across the United States. Stephen wrote all the music for Mojácar's debut CD, Naranjas Amargas. Stephen's compositions for the guitar have been published in Italy by Bérben. His arrangement of four of Bartok's Bagatelles for guitar duo was published in the United States by Columbia Music Company. He won the Paulo Barsacchi award for guitar composition for his Sonatina for Solo Guitar.

Stephen is a respcted expert on flamenco and classical guitar and has written over 100 articles on the guitar for Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Fingerstyle Guitar, Classical Guitar, and Dance Magazine, as well as reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Reader.

Honors and Awards

Stephen has earned a number of grants, honors and awards for his work as a guitarist and composer including:

The Paulo Barsacchi award for guitar composition for Sonatina for Solo Guitar

Finalist in the Sur Jerez flamenco competition in Jerez, Spain

An award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture for study in Spain

An award from the Spanish Ministrty of Culture for the production of Cantan Los Fuegos

Two grants from the Fundacíon Valparaíso for artist residencies in Mojácar, Spain

The Frampton award for Excellence in Contemporary Music

A Meet The Composer Grant for Canciones Nuevas Y Añejas

A Haas fund grant for Enthusiasms of the Hand

A Northern California Grantmakers grant for Canciones Nuevas Y Añejas

A Zellerbach Family Fund Grant for Canciones Nuevas Y Añejas