Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kansas
September 1822, 2013
Stephen has also been a multiple Winfield winner.
Stephen Bennett is an extraordinary musician, an acknowledged master of the harp guitar, a challenging teacher, a gifted composer, and a performer of astounding sensitivity. The Toronto Fingerstyle Guitar Association calls him “the Jedi Master of Fingerstyle Guitar”…
Stephen has traveled the world and performed with the best. He’s played around the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. He has released nearly two dozen recordings of music so far, along with a couple of DVDs, books and other instructional materials - and is always working on something new!
The testimony of those who hear Stephen is that his work is the product of both mind and heart, intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying and it is deeply personal, even as it is universal. Listeners have a feeling that they have stepped into the world of the musician, and for a short moment in time, there are only the two of them there. Says one reviewer “With his ear near the body of the harp guitar, Mr. Bennett gave the impression of a father cradling a newborn baby . . . His performance was imbued with heart and grace.” The producer of a Texas music Festival writes, “Stephen’s music draws the listener in. He has the ability to make you feel as though you are a part of the music he is making. In France, a producer writes: “Stephen’s compositions are so beautiful, filled with great emotion and great sensitivity. He is one of those musicians who serve the music, and only the music.”
“When I first heard him playing a few years ago in France, I felt like I had been pushed into a different world, where the lost emotions come back to your heart and make it beat in a different way. What Stephen can do, and few artists have this gift, is to speak directly to your heart and to move your best feelings!” Pierpaolo Adda, Music Journalist and festival promoter, Italy.
The image of Stephen embracing his harp guitar is the one that tends to linger. The fact that Stephen is only too happy to champion the cause of the harp guitar may inadvertently obscure his abilities on the six-string instrument. In what is becoming known as the Golden Age of Guitar Luthiery, it's easy to overlook the fact that this is also the Golden Age of Guitar Playing. With six strings or more, as one of the most original and prolific composers and arrangers for the guitar on the current scene, Stephen Bennett is clearly a part of the latter heritage.
Stephen is the founder of the Harp Guitar Gathering, an event that will celebrate its ninth season in October of 2011. The Gathering seeks to celebrate this wonderful instrument by bringing players, luthiers, scholars and fans together for a weekend of performances, workshops and camaraderie. The next one will be held at Quinnipiac University Law School in Connecticut on Columbus Day Weekend, 2011.
Whether playing his great-grandfather’s harp guitar, slide on his 1930 National resonator guitar, or on a standard six-string, Stephen Bennett is a musician to hear. His music has won awards and critical praise. In live performances and his recording his diverse musical influences and interests are joined in a life-long love affair with the sound of guitar strings.
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|Walnut Valley Festival
Post Office Box 245, 918 Main
Winfield, Kansas 67156
|WV office hours are:
9 am Noon; 1 5 pm