Interview with Canberran Classical Guitarist Extraordinaire Minh Le Hoang – Part 3

Well hello folks! Today I have for you the third and final part of my interview with Canberra Classical Guitarist extraordinaire, the wonderful Minh Le Hoang.

Minh Le Hoang

If you happen to be in or around Melbourne this weekend, be sure to head along to St Mary’s Church, 430 Queensbury Street, Melbourne to check Minh out live in concert on Saturday 9th May at 7pm. Grab your tickets now online and save yourself $5 on the door price!

On with the final part of the interview…..

What’s your favourite repertoire to play?

I like a bit of everything, so I’m not specializing at all – more baroque, or more classical. I do a bit of everything!

When I record a solo record you can see it’s a mixed bag of everything I like – it’s Latin, it’s Spanish. I do like Bach. I like my classical repertoire as well, like Giuliani, Sor, Aguado and so on.

The last couple of years my interest has been with some of the classical repertoire. There are a lot more unknown works, like Russian seven string guitar. It’s kind of new to a lot of people, but the music is very well written and it’s very nice. That’s my next project – I’m going to pull out my 19th century guitar and learn a few more of those.

What music do you enjoy listening to?

A listen to a mix, like jazz, pop – good pop. I used to like a bit of the old Police. I still like a bit of that sort of thing. I like the Gypsy Kings, a little bit of rhumba. A bit of Cuban stuff, some tango. Vietnamese music even. The traditional music is quite interesting.

You don’t listen to Schoenberg you know?! Every now and then maybe….

I try and not listen to guitar music so much though. I don’t know why. When you’re a student you’re like “check out this recording” or “check out this player”. A lot of the recordings are so boring though! I’d rather listen to a decent piano recording, or a well-known player playing some cello suites you know?

I think actually learning pop guitar gave me a sort of advantage, going around the finger, getting around the fingerboard better. Some classical players they start in a particular style and that’s all they do. They’re not so fluent. The pop background is very good for a young player. From my experience the ones with the most efficient technique, from an early age, are those doing pop first. Interesting.

Were there any guitarists growing up that you looked to as a source of inspiration?

When we came here I taught myself for a couple of years, I didn’t have any connection with the school of music or anyone. So one of my main inspirations was just listening to John Williams on a cassette. And I still do every now and then for a source of inspiration.

Of course when I got to the school of music I met some of the older guys in the degree, my peers. Antony Field was around at the time, and we were like “hey Antony show us how to do this!” He’s a fantastic player. He’s one of the guys we used to look up to. And of course we had great teachers in Canberra too with Tim (Kain) and Carolyn (Kidd) who I first learnt with.

Are there any guitarists who inspire you in particular at the moment?

Oooh, there are a couple of really good players, I like they’re playing a lot. In the newer generation there’s Ricardo Gallén, something he does is pretty amazing. Adriano del Sal, a beautiful player.

In the older generation there’s Roberto Aussel, he’s one of the most colourful players you can think of. Really beautiful. Everything is so musical, you don’t think of his technique.

There are more players that I like of course.

And when you’re not playing or practicing what do you like to do in your down time?

In the last couple of years I spend more time down at the lake than in the practice room! I like to go fishing a lot!

I really enjoy fishing, and I do it whenever I can. I head down with my rod maybe three or four times a week. There’s something about the bells, and the way the rod bends. It excites me a lot!

It’s good to get away from work, a bit of stress relief!

What’s coming up for you in the next 12 months?

After this solo gig in Melbourne, I’ll be recording with Guitar Trek in July which we have been rehearsing for every weekend for the last month or so with Matt, Bradley and Tim. So that’s in July, and we’ll try and get it out as soon as possible. We’ll get it produced and we’re thinking around the label we want to get on. We should be signing.

Then we’re going to launch the CD in October. There’s going to be two concerts in October with the quartet, and I might be planning to do a few more solo gigs and get some more repertoire learnt. And a lot of teaching.

And of course I might go to Vietnam again at the end of the year, with a couple of solo gigs lined up. So that’s all for now! Keeping me very busy!

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