Annalisa Ewalds Bio
At the very start Annalisa was always drawn to music. Musical Instruments fascinated her, especially the ones with strings. As a young girl she learned to pull the bell ropes to play the enromous peal bells in Washington National Cathedral, and after school, she and her choir friends hand-built a harpsichord.
But it was when she first saw the French classical guitar composer and performer Ida Presti she knew her life would be focused on the guitar. Ida’s performance was electrifying, combining beautiful technique with an elegant presentation.
Annalisa started playing Classical Guitar at the age of 10, then began lessons at the guitar mecca of Sophocles Papas' Guitar Shop in Washington, D.C. When she was 13, Papas, a close friend and colleague of Andrés Segovia, took her on as his protégée. "I am grooming you for the concert stage," he told the astounded teenager. Papas and his Guitar Shop was then the epicenter for classical guitar in the United States, so Annalisa was exposed to legendary players like Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream and others who made a point of stopping in when they were performing in the DC area to pay homage to Papas.
Annalisa graduated from high school early to enroll at St John’s College in Annapolis, a liberal arts college known for its innovative Great Books curriculum. After completing two years of study, music took top priority and she enrolled at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was soon seeking out the best teachers she could find outside the Conservatory as well. Her classical guitar skills began to take flight as she studied with the versatile Karl Herreshoff of the Paul WInter Consort and later ICM concert artist, Turan-Mirza Kamal. She followed her B.A. in classical guitar performance from Bard College with more than a decade of baroque performance practice with the New York Continuo Collective. And for 20 years, from her undergraduate days up until his death in 2014, Annalisa studied with the internationally sought-after master teacher and lutenist, Patrick O'Brien, with whom she studied continuo accompaniment on baroque guitar, cittern and theorbo.
Annalisa's historical interests led her to cultivate a classical guitar repertoire of music that spans over 400 years. For her, giving an audience the cultural & musical context behind the music is key; from the knife-wielding Jacaras music of sixteenth century criminals, the lascivious beginnings of some of the baroque era music and South American classical guitar pieces that risked imprisonment when performed.
She has recently launched an early music duet team with Spanish tenor Jorge Prego, accompanying him on baroque guitar and theorbo.
This ability to express guitr music of all periods within its historical setting is why Annalisa is widely embraced and at home with fans of rock, blues, bluegrass and other mainstream genres. She bridges the historical gap and conveys the common roots of the music, allowing listeners to inhabit an aural landscape populated with their own imagery, thoughts, feelings and emotions. The listener becomes the co-author and the experience becomes more meaningful to them.
Annalisa has won rave reviews for her excellence as a player and her approach and her first solo classical gutiar album charted at No. 8 on Billboard's Traditional Classical chart. She is a favorite at numerous festivals and has also been awarded multiple grants for concert series by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for the creation, production, and performance of musical events of outstanding professional quality.
She continues the tradition of teaching classical guitar and her own Ewald Suzuki Guitar Method to a select group of dedicated students in her CT studios in Norwalk and Stamford.