I often wonder why the passing of significant artists, especially guitarists, has such a deep impact on me. In the case of Roland Dyens, his guitar artistry has been an important formative force in my development as a guitarist and his compositions/arrangements have left an indelible mark on the way I analyze and enjoy music. I suppose it is normal to feel a deep sense of loss when such an artist dies even thou the relational connection may be at the level of acquaintances. Over the years I have internalized his music to such an extent that in a very real sense I feel a deep level of connection with him, even though we only met once.
Several years ago, as Roland Dyens was touring throughout Southern California, Guitar Salon International organized a master class with the maestro. I have always wanted to take a lesson from Roland and this was the perfect opportunity. I am so glad I did and got a chance to interact with Roland shortly before his passing. I was so musically enriched by Roland and these are some things that stand out to me as I recall that special time.
Roland had a contagious enjoyment of music and enjoyed trying to get in the composer’s mind. Unlike most classical musicians, he was incredibly relaxed with the score and made statements of the sort: “the composition is not completed until you, the guitarist, perform it.” He was warm and kind and there was no air of superiority or egotism in his instruction. He focused fully on his students and instructed with generosity of heart and winsomeness. As I recorded this tutorial, I am again reminded of how much I miss Roland. Let’s keep his memory alive by enjoying and playing the vast amount of music he left for us.