Tom Kerstens’ G Plus Ensemble

Tom Kerstens is a major figure in the guitar world. He is highly regarded as a versatile performer on modern and period instruments and is an influential champion of the guitar in his roles as player, recording artist and artistic director. An acclaimed solo performer, Kerstens has also collaborated with many leading UK orchestras and ensembles, recently forming his own ensemble, G Plus, which is dedicated to performing especially commissioned new work.

For over one hundred and fifty years, the guitar has been languishing on the periphery, overlooked by composers and out of touch with mainstream developments. With very little repertoire written, guitarist Tom Kerstens has taken the lead in commissioning work for himself. Talented young writers such as Joby Talbot, Errollyn Wallen, Max Richter, John Metcalfe and Graham Fitkin have created some truly original work, bringing the guitar to the heart of classical and contemporary music. Approaching composers from outside the classical world is all part of Kerstens’ desire to get compositions for the guitar out to a much wider audience and free from the concert hall.

"A true poet of the guitar." Gramophone

G Plus means guitar with something else. This can be guitar with other instruments, (e.g. the G Plus ensemble) or guitar with electronics (e.g. the three movements of The Third Fire). Both versions can be found on ‘Utopia’ – their first recording. The G Plus ensemble here consists of two guitars, strings and percussion and features Amanda Cook and Dan Gresson.

Tom Kerstens is Artistic Director of the International Guitar Foundation and Festivals (IGF).

Further reading

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7 East African artists performing at this year’s Ongala Music Festival

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Real World at the British Library Sound Archive

The British Library Archive have been recording artists at the WOMAD Festival for over 30 years.