In spite of my previous professional life in advertising sales, I give little thought to the ads in trade publications.
But for some reason, a recent flip through the March/April 2020 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine drew my attention to a full-page ad on page 11. The ad was for Augustine classical guitar strings – “The first nylon string for classical guitar – and the first choice of Beijing Guitar Duo.”
I’m always intrigued by whatever it is that draws Asian artists into the world of European classical music. Meng Su and Yameng Wang, both from Qingdao, China, started playing at age 5. Seven years difference in age, they knew of each other but didn’t officially meet until they both ended up studying together in the states, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
They shared a mutual admiration. It even led to observations that when they play together they sound like one person.
At the age of 12, Yameng Wang became the youngest winner of the Tokyo International Guitar Competition.
Meng Su has won first-prize in numerous international competitions around the world, the last one being in the prestigious Parkening International Guitar competition in 2015.
Accolades abound for this duo. What I love is the story – the story of how composers drew performers across borders. It’s a story that exposes a universal appeal and appreciation for classical repertoire from Europe and South America. In this case, those composers hail from Brazil (Radames Gnatalli), Spain (José de Azpiazu, Isaac Albéniz, and Joaquín Rodrigo) Germany (Bach), Italy (Scarlatti) as well as their own arrangement of a traditional Chinese.