Guitarist's path travels from Zeppelin to Mozart, Fred Benedetti, When: 12:30 p.m. Where: Performance Lab (Room 0-10), Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, Admission: free, Info: (760) 7441150, Ext. 2316
Web:, JIM Tftageser STAFF WRITER

Benedetti will be performing Mozart's 40th symphony arranged for four guitars. He explained that he will record three of the guitar parts and store that on his iPod — and then play the fourth part along with the recording.
But the concert won't be just Mozart, Benedetti promised in a telephone interview.

"I'm going to be playing some Celtic, some originals, and I haven't decided if I might put in one Led Zeppelin tune," Benedetti said. "I haven't decided yet if I'll be able to fit into that 50-minute program or hour program everything I like to do."

That "everything I like to do" takes in a lot of ground in Benedetti's case. This is a man who studied classical guitar with the legendary Andres Segovia, but who also plays a ton of jazz, some folk and rock, and even a little flamenco.
"A lot of classical players have a fascination with flamenco. It's so idiomatic for the guitar," he said. "The actual study of it is very different, but it's similar. I do respect the flamenco idiom and I don't say I'm a flamenco player;

I can play some flamenco, but I’m not a flamenco artist.

"I don't like to say, 'Oh yeah, I'm a jazz player' or Tm a flamenco player' — I'm a guitarist."

Benedetti said he grew up around guitars. Born in Japan to an American serviceman and his Japanese wife, he and his family moved to Hawaii when he was 5 and then to San Diego when he was 12."My dad played guitar. He wasn't a professional musician, but he was a good guitarist. So the guitar was always in the house.

"I started off playing rock 'n' roll like most guitarists; played electric. When I was 16, I was playing in an acoustic band — the bass player started taking lessons and it was within about a six-month period the guy was a monster classical bass player.
"Like many who play by ear, I was afraid to take lessons. But when I saw what really good guidance could dal started studying myself. At that point, I put away the steel siring and electric for a good six years because I was so devoted to the study of classical guitar."


Benedetti went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in classical guitar at San Diego State University. And while both an accomplished musician in his own right and a respected teacher at SDSU and Grossmont College, the academic highlight of his career was — to hear Benedetti tell it -- the master class he took with Segovia at University of Southern California in 1986,-less than a year before the great one died.

The master class concluded with a public performance at which his father was able to hear him _perform for Segovia. Benedetti calls that day the "proudest moment of my life."

While his disparate taste in music might seem confusing, Benedetti said tying them all together is the art of improvisation.
"When I play, I improvise. In the program I'm going to be doing (at Palomar), I will improvise.
"Mozart was, by all accounts, an incredible improviser. That's when the tradition was that, to be a complete musician, you had to be able to improvise.
"In Bach and the Baroque music, you're expected to do a true Baroque ornamentation —.like trills and mordents and all that. You are creating new melodic material in a true Baroque performance.... Because of the nature of the music itself, being more Gothic, very ornate, it was expected that you would embellish and ornament to the point you almost couldn't hear what the original music was."  And if classical music doesn't offer the same tradition of improvisation, of extrapolating the theme on the fly, Benedetti said classical music is capable of the same expressiveness as any other form.

"When you're playing classical guitar, the way that it really should be played, I tell my students you have to put the passion of your rock 'n' roll; otherwise, it sounds pretty sterile and mechanical. When your fingers are trained to the point that you can easily play a piece, then you incorporate the same sort of abandon or expression that you do when you're fully involved in rock 'n' roll or jazz or flamenco. Classical music has the same goal. That's why it gets a -bad rap — if it gets played too unemotionally, it sounds as if it’s not expressive.
It can be frustrating, the underlying expression of classical doesn’t always get across


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  • Belly Up078B&W
    Fred Benedetti at the "Belly Up" photo by Bob Snell
  • Benedetti Trio
    The Benedetti Trio, Fred, Julia, & Regina, photo by Cece Canton
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    The Benedetti Trio in Italy, below a street sign with their name
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    The Benedetti Trio, photo by Cece Canton
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    The Benedetti Trio, photo by Cece Canton
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    Benedetti Trio
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    Fred Benedetti performing live with an Andy Powers custom double neck guitar, photo by Bob Snell
  • FB-2necks
    Fred Benedetti performing live with an Andy Powers custom double neck guitar, photo by Bob Snell
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    Fred Benedetti performing live with a Len Laviolette custom made Baritone guitar, photo by Bob Snell
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    Fred Benedetti with Andres Segovia in a broadcast masterclass in 1986
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    Fred Benedetti with Andres Segovia in a broadcast masterclass in 1986
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    Fred Benedetti with Andres Segovia in a broadcast masterclass in 1986
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    Fred Benedetti and George Svoboda performing in "Primal Twang" photo by Steve Parr
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    Fred Benedetti performing the National Anthem for the San Diego Padres National Anthem, August 17, 2007
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    Peter Sprague and Fred Benedetti with Ravi Shankar after performing an event honoring Ravi Shankar.
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    Fred Benedetti with Mason Williams
  • Fred-2necks
    Fred Benedetti with his 2010 custom made Andy Powers double-neck guitar
  • FB-Romeros
    Celin Romero (left) Fred Benedetti (middle) Pepe Romero (right)
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    Fred Benedetti and Peter Sprague performing in "Primal Twang" photo by Steve Parr
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    Fred Benedetti and Peter Sprague performing at the "Belly Up" photo by Bob Snell

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