New Classical Tracks - A Young Guitarist Making His Mark

by Julie Amacher
July 5, 2011

Listen New Classic Tracks: Milos Karadaglic - Mediterraneo
Larger view
Milos Karadaglic - Mediterraneo (Album Art)

Milos Karadaglic - "Mediterraneo"

Milos Karadaglic was eight years old when he fell in love with the guitar. That's when his father shared a magical recording of Andres Segovia playing "Asturias." Milos chose to open his debut recording, "Mediterraneo," with that piece of music. This 28-year-old guitarist comes from Montenegro, a tiny, turbulent country in the Balkans that has very little history with the instrument. After taking a master class with guitarist David Russell, Milos was encouraged to leave Montenegro for London, to study at the Royal Academy of Music. At age 16 he was following his dream.

The music on "Mediterraneo," reflects the character of this young guitarist, with tones and colors representing both the eastern and western ends of the Mediterranean. "Montenegro," he explains, "is a cultural crossroads, which is why the music I grew up with is so interesting and diverse." Milos features three pieces from the "Suite Espanola" by composer Isaac Albeniz. Each movement represents a different region of Spain. This work is a masterpiece of the 20th century Spanish piano repertoire. Most often today we hear it transcribed for guitar. Milos dances his way through southern Spain in "Sevilla." He plays with the rhythm and the dynamics making the piece both animated and mysterious. Every time he performs"Granada," Milos says he feels as if he's falling in love as he reminisces about the heat and the salt of the Mediterranean.

The guitar has to sing, and sometimes even imitate the human voice. That's why Milos enjoys listening to a variety of singers. Recently he even appeared on a television show from the UK called, "Pop Star to Opera Star," which featured tenor Rolando Villazon and Katherine Jenkins, while Milos performed with songstress Sharleen Spiteri. One of my favorites on this recording features Milos with the English Chamber orchestra on a dreamy "Romance" by an anonymous composer. This piece possesses the gorgeous lyrical quality of an opera aria.

The work that best encompasses the life of this young guitarist is a suite from the other end of the Mediterranean: "Koyunbaba," written in 1985 by the Italian guitarist-composer Carlo Domeniconi. Milos first heard this suite when he arrived in London. "With its Turkish folk-song theme and magical sound-world, it brought back all those memories and places I had left behind," explains Milos. "Whenever I play it, it's different, like the sea itself, sometimes calm, sometimes a storm."

Guitarists Andres Segovia, John Williams, and Julian Bream have all been major influences for Milos, who later received the Julian Bream Prize from the guitarist himself. It was Williams and Bream who made the guitar a household name. "But then the world changed, and the kind of music people wanted to listen to changed," Milos says. He wants to wake up the guitar from this hibernation and show what the instrument can do, and what he can do with the instrument. His debut recording, "Mediterraneo," is a welcome wake-up call.