How did classical guitar – and therefore, all guitar as we know it – almost become extinct? Who was the hero who saved it from the brink of doom? Why aren’t guitars an orchestral instrument? And why are guitarists nails so shiny? Classical guitarist Valerie Hartzell – member of the Presti Trio and director of the Classical Minds Guitar Institute – answers all of these burning questions and more in the big 5-0 episode of Classical Classroom.

Audio production by Todd “Terrific” Hulslander with “helpful” input from Dacia Clay.

Music in this episode: – Oud music by Said Chraibi – Spanish guitar in the Renaissance and Baroque by José Miguel Moreno – “Be M’An Perdut, chanson de troubadour” by Bernart De Ventadorn (c.1140-c.1200) – Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega, from Ex Tenebris…Lux, performed by Valerie Hartzell – Danzas Gitanas, Op. 55: I. Zambra by Joaquin Turina from the self-titled CD by Presti Trio

For more about Valerie Hartzell:

For information about the Classical Minds Guitar Institute:

To see video of Valerie performing in our studio, go here. To hear St. John Flynn’s interview with her about the Classical Minds Guitar Institute and Competition, go here.

Photo from the Anchorage Daily News.