It was fantastic. Three days of meeting great people interested and specialized in historical guitars. Researchers, players and even the odd luthier. Some of these people have been my personal heroes for a long time. So I felt a little bit like Tintin in the big world…
We stayed at Sidney Sussex College, an old college in the middle of Cambridge. Founded in 1596, history seems to be built into and pouring out of the walls. Being here was a bit surreal. Like Alice must have felt going through the lookingglass. It really is a different world.
The meetings were held at the ‘old library’ at the first floor, overlooking the chapel court. A lovely old room, lined on four sides with oak panels. (For the record, when you wake up in a very small room with oak panelling on all six sides; that’s the moment to start worrying…)
The subjects of the lectures was very diverse. From the ‘secret life of scores’, ‘invisible elephants’, forgotten music, the (love-)life of 19th century guitarists, and woman playing the mandolin and guitar, to spying guitarists, tacit knowledge, the machete de braga, rattling strings as part of a playing style and the regency lute…
The Strad project
At the final day of the convention I had to give my presentation about the Stradivari project. I felt little bit intimidated by the great lectures of the days before. How could a crazy guitar maker from Holland add anything up to standard?
Fortunately I had given the talk a couple of times before in the Netherlands. Although translating to English on the spot was kind of a challenge, it didn’t went too bad. I brought the guitar, rulers, forms, an icon of st. Nicolas and a couple of bad jokes to keep it entertaining.
The reactions afterwards were much better than I had ever expected. People enjoyed the presentation and were impressed by the guitar. There was some great feedback and advise from Taro Takeuchi, one of the best baroque guitar players in the world. Confirmation that I am on the right track.
The whole conference was fantastic. Meeting a group of wonderful, knowledgeable and intelligent people. All very passionate about the guitar and its history. Conversations and discussions larded with a good dose of intelligence, criticism, humor and wit. A willing attitude of sharing information and the eagerness to learn something new. Very inspiring and encouraging. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of this.
The whole conference was a great success, even so that the group of new and young researchers (the “cohort”) has been asked to come back in two years to present our progress and new endeavors…
I would like to thank everyone who helped me to get to this wonderful conference. Friends and family who brought together the money to pay for the trip and the accommodations. Without you it wouldn’t have been possible.