Whether it is for a large audience in Beijing, China, or an intimate in-home concert for a collection of enthusiasts in Monterrey, California, the Athens Guitar Duo (AG²) is becoming known for leaving “a deep impression on the audience with their passionate, meticulous, and masterful artistry.” They have opened up the world of the guitar to new audiences and have promoted the works of both modern and traditional composers with a youthfulness and freshness that makes the music of those composers come alive. And, after a busy inaugural year, the AG² is continuing to push the boundaries of the guitar on concert stages throughout the world.
It’s really exciting, the way they play the guitar; it’s like they bring something quite new out of it. The guitar has a sort of sound which everybody knows, but you listen to the way they are playing it and they are treating it as if it’s a new instrument… I thought [their performance of Princess of Lykia] was really riveting: beautiful playing. Very sensitive.
-Gregers Brinch, Composer
Dusty Woodruff and Matthew Anderson met while studying at the University of Georgia with renowned teacher and Segovia student, John Sutherland. Formerly a part of the Athens Guitar Trio, Woodruff and Anderson have performed together for nearly a decade. Each member plays a guitar built by master luthier, Kenny Hill; these include an extremely rare 11-string guitar that extends the ensemble’s range. With this unique combination, the AG² explores the expressive capabilities of their instruments through diverse repertoire selections and creative and entertaining arrangements—some of which can be found on their debut CD, Magellan’s Playlist, Volume 1, on the Claudio Records label. This recording has received many positive reviews, and it has been featured on NPR’s “Classical Guitar Alive!,” BBC Radio’s “Late Junction with Nick Luscombe,” as well as other radio stations throughout the world. They will be returning to Brighton, England, in May 2015 to record volume 2.
The playing is first-class, utterly convincing and the overall impression is one of deep musicality and welcoming, fascinating moods. A very strongly recommended issue, outstandingly well recorded.
-Musical Opinion UK
The Athens Guitar Duo has performed and taught throughout the United States, Europe, and the People’s Republic of China. They have also been invited to perform for an impressive list of distinguished guests. These include former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter; the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer, William Bolcom; Simone Fontanelli of the Mozarteum in Salzburg; and the world-renowned guitarist, Christopher Parkening. The AG²’s explorations into the depth and wealth of the guitar repertoire, along with their increased flexibility and dedication to producing great performances, will open to new audiences the joys to be found in this music. In the words of St. John Brown, of MeridianFM (in the UK): "I'm not really a great fan of the guitar, but I thought [their CD] was wonderful, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it!"
There can be no doubt as to the commitment of the Athens Guitar Duo to this music. There is a crispness, a colouration and a sense of involvement which is most attractive. As must be a requirement of good duos, they play as if joined at the hip.
-David Billinge (Music Web International)
Dr. Woodruff has a powerful presence; his musicianship is topnotch, and his tone was soulfully lush, resonant, and lyrical. He left his audience wanting more and we shall look forward to his return.
-T. Cantwell, Macon State University
Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Dusty Woodruff discovered his love for the guitar at the age of fourteen as a self-taught musician. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Abilene Christian University in Texas where he studied with Dan Mitchell and David Brandon. Dusty later moved to Georgia with his wife Jordan. In 2006, he received his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Georgia, where he studied with John Sutherland—student of Maestro Andres Segovia. Dusty Woodruff is a mainstay and one of the two founding members of the new Athens Guitar Duo, to be known worldwide and to a wider audience as AG².
As an active member of the Athens Guitar Trio, Dusty Woodruff has written a number of arrangements that have been received with great acclaim, some of which are found on the CD “Emergence”. It is through these arrangements for the trio that he and its members worked to bring the repertoire for guitar ensemble to a wider public. With the rebirth of the trio, now in duo form as AG², Dusty continues this work, adapting repertoire to fit the demanding ensemble requirements of a guitar duo. He has also arranged several works for solo guitar. His recorded contributions are to be found on the supplemental CD from Everybody’s Classical Guitar 1, along with collaborations Rylan Smith of the Athens Guitar Trio and with Matthew Anderson of AG².
Dusty Woodruff was awarded first place in the 2004 GMTA competition for graduate division for guitar, and selected as a finalist at the Shadt String Competition in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has been a guest performer with the Voices of North Georgia, the Abilene Christian University Orchestra, Augusta State University Orchestra, and the Augusta Opera and was invited to be the guest accompanist to the debut of Kevin Kelly’s choral setting of Stations of the Cross (2011).
Dusty Woodruff is active as a soloist and concerto performer and has conducted master-classes across the United States. He has been regarded as a soloist who “…plays with emotion and purpose.” (The Colonnade)
In his role as a professor, Dusty Woodruff heads the Guitar Department at Georgia Regents University, and at Georgia College and State University and North Georgia University. He also maintains a private guitar studio in Athens, Georgia where he resides with his wife, Jordan.
...beautifully sustained, demonstrating Anderson's skill in casting an enchanting musical spell...with Anderson demonstrating his virtuosity in the closing Presto. This was very, very good.
~Classical Voice of North Carolina
Active as both a chamber player and a soloist, Matthew Anderson has embarked on a distinguished musical career. He is a founding member of the acclaimed and internationally managed chamber group, the AG². As a soloist, Matthew Anderson found increasing and enthusiastic demand as a concert artist and studio musician. He has performed throughout the United States for such distinguished individuals as former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter; former Atlanta mayor, Shirley Franklin; award-winning composer, Simone Fontanelli of the Mozarteum University; and world-renowned guitarist, Christopher Parkening. Matthew Anderson was a guest performer at the UGA Study Abroad 2001 Art Exhibit in Cortona, Italy and was chosen by fellow students to be a final recitalist for the 2003 Christopher Parkening Masterclass appearing again, in 2005, with the Athens Guitar Trio. He was the featured guitarist on the 2005 documentary film, “Alvar Sunol: His Vision and His Art” and on Sam Hagan's album, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and he was prominent at the 2011 Hugh Hodgson School of Music Graduation Convocation at the University of Georgia. He has also given the Georgia premier of several works, including Chiel Meijering's “Autobahnkrieg,” Yamil Berguener's "Ranvicnaxanaxac Lsoxoic,” and Federico Ghedini's "Studio da Concerto.” As a competitor, Matthew won First Prize and Convention Recitalist in the 2003 Georgia Music Teachers Association Spring Competition and was a semi-finalist in the 2007 Columbus State University Guitar Symposium International Competition.
Matthew Anderson’s recording activities have included chamber music, pedagogical recordings, and session work. Among his most recent recordings are the upcoming AG² debut album as well as solo contributions to the accompanying CD for FJH Publications’ “Everybody’s Classical Guitar”, Vol. 1. As a clinician, Matthew Anderson has given master classes throughout the world. Also, adding to his demand as both a performer and teacher, he often performs solo and chamber music on a rare eleven-string guitar built for him by Kenny Hill. Matthew Anderson has helped to expand the solo repertoire for this new instrument and create a new chamber repertoire by arranging and commissioning pieces for the eleven-string guitar. However, his work is not focused exclusively on the eleven-string instrument: he created a performance edition of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s six-string guitar piece, Rondo for Guitar, Op. 129, as part of his doctoral research.
Self-taught for several years, Matthew Anderson began serious guitar studies as a Presidential Scholar with renowned instructor John Sutherland at Georgia State University. He graduated summa cum laude with Distinction from Georgia State University’s School of Music. He chose to continue his studies with John Sutherland at the University of Georgia under the prestigious University-Wide Teaching Assistantship in the areas of guitar and music theory, going on to receive both his masters and doctoral degrees in performance. In addition to studies with Mr. Sutherland, Matthew Anderson has performed in master classes with the internationally famous lutenist, Paul O'Dette, and with Matteo Mela, Patrick Lui, and Christopher Parkening. He is currently on faculty at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia. He lives in north Atlanta with his wife, Molly.