Classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic isn’t staying in any one lane for his debut Santa Barbara concert. When the Montenegrin musician takes the stage of the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall on February 23 with a string section consisting of violinists Elisa-Fleur Thom and Alessandro Ruisi, violist Matthew Kettle, cellist Max Ruisi, and double bassist Toby Hughes, he will run the gamut from the music of Bach to songs The Beatles, taking listeners on a journey throughout the history of western music. In an interview with the News-Press, the guitarist said he designed this Sunday’s program to celebrate the wide range of music that can be played on his instrument of choice.
“I conceived this program as a real celebration of the sound of the guitar. Guitar is one of those very rare instruments that comfortably sits between the worlds of classical and mainstream,” he stated.
Often referred to by just his first name, Milos will kick of his performance with selections of “Goldberg Variations” by Johann Sebastian Bach, the composer who in his view kickstarts western music. The following two thirds of the concert will center on pieces from the classical repertoire, which according to the event program will include works by composers such as Enrique Granados, Manuel De Falla, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. The final third will see the guitarist play classical adaptations of popular songs like “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” before concluding the performance with Beatles songs “”Yesterday,” “Elanor Rigby,” “Fool on the Hill,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Whereas some classical guitarists strictly stay within the confines of classical music, Milos expects many of the popular songs he has added to his repertoire will have staying power for centuries beyond the decades that they have already endured. Because these songs are of high quality, crossing them over with his primary genre doesn’t at all diminish classical music in his mind.
“For me, music is music whether it’s Schubert or Paul Simon or Bach or The Beatles, good music is good music…” he said.
He didn’t always think this way, however. Milos described himself as “snobby” in his younger years and was exclusively dedicated to playing the classical repertoire. However, his outlook started to change when he began playing international concerts after graduating from The Royal Academy of Music in London. As he traveled around the world for performances, he became influenced by various kinds of music, ultimately expanding the body of songs he plays.
“By playing for so many people I think it somehow opened up the repertoire that I played because I was inspired by so many different different music and musicians that aren’t necessarily only classical,” he said.
For Milos, performing concerts in new locales is not only an opportunity to pick up new musical influences, but one to create a special, unrepeatable moment with an audience. The energy he gets from his crowds changes wherever he goes and as Santa Barbara is untested territory for him, he’s looking forward to receiving brand new energy and seeing what effect it has on his music.
“Being in a new place with a new stage inevitably brings different, fresh, new energy and that energy always changes the way that music happens,” he said.
Tickets for Milos’ February 23 concert cost $35 and can be purchased online at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu. The concert will begin at 4 p.m. at Hahn Hall located on the Music Academy of the West’s campus at 1070 Fairway Rd.