Michael Chapdelaine. Courtesy photo
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Guitarist Michael Chapdelaine does not settle for fitting into one music category. His music spreads over classical music and pop tunes and catches the attention of everyone from teenagers to adults.
Chapdelaine is a musician, a composer and teacher. This multi-talented artist has come to Los Alamos in the past and Chapdelaine will again perform here at 7:30 p.m., April 26 at Fuller Lodge.
The Los Alamos Arts Council is sponsoring the concert. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for Los Alamos Arts Council members.
Attendees can expect a program that features a combination of traditional and classical music as well as Chapdelaine’s own arrangements of pop music.
He said he is looking forward to performing for Los Alamos.
“It’s a really hip crowd. They’re really smart … (it’s) great for a musician to have an audience that is savvy about music,” Chapdelaine said.
“Michael Chapdelaine is one of the best guitarists around,” said guitarist and UNM-LA instructor Greg Schneider. “Even experienced guitarists are amazed at the things he pulls off.”
Chapdelaine uses a finger-style, which he explained as using his fingers to strum the strings rather than a pick. Chapdelaine said this allows him to “play multiple voices at once rather than strum with a pick.”
Although this is not his only style of playing, Chapdelaine said, “I play so many styles they can’t really call me a classical guitarist anymore. I’m just not somebody who limits myself to anything. I kind of like it all and I like a lot of music.”
As a professor of music at the University of New Mexico, Chapdelaine said his students influenced him to broaden his repertoire by encouraging him to play more than classical guitar.
“So suddenly I found myself listening to pop music,” he said. “I found out I really like it.”
Whether Mozart or Paul McCartney, “they both made music that spoke to people.”
Playing classical music came earlier. Chapdelaine said he found classical guitar to be artistic and intellectual to play and it was the only style he played in college.
Growing up with the guitar music of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix on the radio, Chapdelaine said, “It was part of my culture growing up. It was cool to be a guitar player.”
The biggest greatest form of self-expression came in composing his own work.
Chapdelaine said he did not start writing his own music until the late 1990s. He said he could not think of a reason why not – so he started.
“Writing is the ultimate experience for a musician,” he said. “You want to say your own thing.”
Chapdelaine is a writer and a performer but also a competitor. In 1998, he became the only person to ever become the National Fingerpicking Champion and win the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Competition.
To have someone who is able to do it all is a rarity.
“I think he is a really unique talent,” Schneider said of Chapdelaine. “New Mexicans are lucky to have him.”