On the couch with Anton Baranov!

Ahead of Anton’s June 27 livestream concert (HERE) I asked our MGF subscribers what questions they had for him in this interview!

Here they are!

Thanks to everyone on our mailing list for sending these in!

Q: Will this be your first livestream concert experience? How do you feel about this environment for performance?

A: No, this Sat will not be by first livestream.

Of course playing online is not the same as playing for live audience in the concert hall. I constantly record myself during my practicing for different purposes, so I’m not in stress while I play online 🙂

Q: What impact has Covid had on your performance career? How many concerts or tours did you have to cancel?

A: Well, covid impacted everyone. Main part of my concerts are postponed for the fall, including my China tour and some more. Such is life!

Q: You also have an interest in early music and playing on period instruments. Can you tell us about the guitars you play on, and why you choose them? What instruments will feature in your June 27 concert?

A: Right. But that interest is recent and it was long time growing. I have Rene Lacote replica built for me by one local luthier. I tried few original ones and realise that these instruments are just museum items, one can’t  play these guitars in today’s concert halls due to its very small sound and low projection (probably, that’s why these guitars are called ‘parlor’ guitars)
I used to playing Kohno-Sakurai guitar for a while, but few years ago I switched for double tops and lattice braced instruments, I think traditional guitar is gone. Modern construction gives much more in many aspects. Right now I have two double top guitars built for me by the fantastic luthier Max Cuker  from Lithuenia. Last year my ‘guitar family’ got a new member from Finland from Keijo Korelin, that guitar is made of maple and it’s also a double top.

I think this Sat the virtual audience will check out my Cuker guitar made of lemon wood (not cedar or spruce)!

Q: What strings and tension do you use?

A: I’m signed with D’Addario since 2013 and have been using their strings. I keep experimenting with materials and tension. For now I end up with D’ Addario Dinacore normal tension basses together with hybrid trebles high tension.

Q: How do you go about choosing repertoire for a concert? Do you have a particular process?

A: That’s a good question. I have a strong feeling the repertory is musician’s ID. The older I get, the more selective I become regarding to what I play. In general and for public in particular. About the process – I spend at least 1 and a half hours a day (sometimes more) working with digital archives and sight read the new music. And always push my students to do the same instead of seeking for nice sounding music in YouTube to replicate it.

Q: I really love hearing from artists about what hidden gems are found in their home country or region. For example, ‘what are those folkloric influenced pieces that an English speaking audience wouldn’t really be exposed to (but should)?

A: Thank you for this question. Despite the multiculturalism of nowadays, we take care of all the identities we have in our culture. Russian culture in general and the music in particular is very deep and it based on great roots. Russian music impacted Western one a lot – remember Tchaikovsky, or Rachmaninov who influenced US film composers a lot. Guitarists all over the world playing Barrios’s ‘La Catedral’ where the middle section is a pure Russian choir music; BTW, we’ve had a different type of guitar in 19th century called Russian 7 string guitar. This is an instrument with different tuning and totally different approach to playing. I have some music adapted from this instrument in my program for this Sat – would be great to get audience’s feedback afterwards!

Q: As a touring artist and teacher in a conservatory, what challenges do you face to prepare for your performances, continue to learn new pieces and your commitment to imparting knowledge to your students?

A: Thank you for this question! With ages I realised that been a musician is a job, not a privilege! And if you are professional you have to go forward in what you’re doing  – otherwise you are lost way behind.

Regarding to combining both teaching and touring, the solution for me is not to take too many students into my class. Right now I have four. If I take more – I will suffer.

Q: What is the classical guitar scene like in Russia?

A: Is really versatile. We’ve had a boom of fingerstyle before as the rest of the world had. Probably that’s why the interest in classical guitar has dropped the last few years.

But lots of festivals, lots of philharmonic halls around the country run guitar series which allows us the possibility to perform!



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