Classical Guitar Concert (Jonathan Prag) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Jonathan Prag

Classical Guitar Concert, performed by Jonathan Prag, pretty much gives it all away in the title. The show is a 45-minute concert of classical acoustic guitar pieces, and it makes for a nice complement to some of the other Toronto Fringe offerings.

Prag plays seven musical pieces, ranging from Bach to Cuban music to Irish ditties. I like to think I know a little bit about classical music, but all of the pieces were brand-new to my ears. Fortunately, Prag provides program notes and a little between-song banter to help inform the audience of what they’re about to hear.

I admit that at first, I thought “classical guitar” would be a bit of an oxymoron, but the arrangements sounded fresh and soothing. Bach on guitar – who knew that could be done? A guitar seems kind of like torture for those quick Baroque notes, but Prag certainly handled the fingering in Bach’s “Prelude, Lute Suite” quite well.

Two pieces in particular stood out for me. The first was “Usher Waltz” by Nikita Koshkin. Remember that creepy story that you had to read in school, The Fall of the House of Usher? Someone decided to write a creepy piece of music about it. It was interesting to watch how Prag’s hands manipulated his guitar to make the dissonant, eerie sounds of the piece. I also liked Matthew Sear’s “America 3 Movements”, a piece that combines several of American music’s trademark sounds, from jazz to southern soul music.

I like that the broad spectrum of the Fringe Festival allows for artists like the UK-based Prag to have a chance to share his talents with us. Want to get out of the sun for a bit? Is your brain hurting from that post-modern-Shakespearean-contemporary-dance thing you just saw? Add this relaxing musical interlude to your Fringe schedule.


Classical Guitar Concert plays at the Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street (near St. George Street)

Show times:

July 05 at 02:15 PM
July 07 at 07:00 PM
July 09 at 06:00 PM
July 10 at 04:00 PM
July 11 at 08:00 PM
July 13 at 02:45 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Jonathan Prag, by Frances Clarke.