International Guitar Festival – Young Artists Platform
In the Summer of 2015 the Mēla guitar quartet won a place on the International Guitar Foundation’s Young Artist Platform Series (YAP). The YAP is a unique opportunity for young guitarists in the early stages of their concert career.
During their time on the programme they performed in the Bath Guitar Festival, IGF Summit and the IGF Residential Summer School and Festival Shrewsbury.
Some highlights for Mela whilst in the YAP include: performing beside guitarist Isabel Martinez, friend and colleague of the quartet, to a sell out audience at the Royal Hospital Bath, performing in masterclass to Carlos Bonell and supporting Xufei Yang at Kings Place in London.
The platform proved to be a great opportunity for the quartet to establish themselves fully as an ensemble, having formed in 2014.
“When Xuefei Yang gave her solo recital on the following evening, her young supporting artists were the Mēla Guitar Quartet—George Tarlton, Matthew Robinson, Daniel Bovey, and Jiva Housden— who deserve a mention. They demonstrated an impressively unified approach which stood out immediately, beginning with their own transcription of an “Organ Fugue” (BWV 578) by J. S. Bach. They were equally strong in their playing of contemporary music, giving fine performances of “Opals” by the Australian composer Phillip Houghton and Stephen Dodgson’s “Change- Ringers” (inspired by bell-ringing “changes”), which they have recorded on a soon to-be-released all-Stephen Dodgson CD.” – Thérèse Wassily Saba ‘Classical Guitar Magazine Winter 2015’
Phillip Houghton’s Opals
Aside from being one of the most inspired original pieces for guitar quartet, Mēla feel a strong connection with Opals as it was the first piece they approached as an ensemble. It was therefore the obvious choice for their first set of videos to portray the quartet’s musical character, identity and more importantly their love for the piece.
As a result of releasing their Opals videos they have had the privilege of Phil Houghton’s approval and input along with some very supportive words of encouragement, especially toward Mēla’s philosophy of working from memory.
“The Mēla Guitar Quartet play my work ‘Opals’ with brilliance and poetry. ‘Black Opal’ and ‘White Opal’ are electrifying, scintillating, while ‘Water Opal’ is simply ravishing… The music shines and shimmers with sparkling clarity… what’s more, they play it from memory and make the piece their own: wonderful music making“ – Phillip Houghton
Stephen Dodgson Chamber Music Disc
Dan and Jiva’s first experience of Stephen Dodgson’s music was whilst studying with Mark Eden. Mark’s own all Dodgson disc “Follow the Star” and his enthusiasm towards Stephens music and indeed Stephen himself was infectious. It was here that they grew to love his chamber music in particular and so in 2013 shortly after Stephen’s passing they put on a tribute concert where George and Matt joined them to perform.
To everyone’s humbling surprise Jane Dodgson attended the concert. She was inspired to ask us to perform again, this time in Barnes where Stephen lived.
With great pleasure we played to Stephens friends and relatives and afterward Jane asked on behalf of the Stephen Dodgson Trust if we would record some lesser known and unrecorded chamber works.
Now having recorded over 70 minutes of chamber music from Stephen Dodgson, Mēla have signed the disc with a major record label.