Lost is my Liberty: English ballads and Scottish tunes
Paul O’Dette, the “dean” of American lutenists, came to his instrument in a perhaps less than usual way – as an electric guitarist playing in rock bands. On a quest to develop his guitar technique, O’Dette began studying classical guitar, which led him to his soul mate, the lute. Now, as a GRAMMY-winning lutenist and one of the defining figures of historic performance practice, O’Dette, who is also Director of Early Music at Eastman School of Music and Co-Artistic Director of the Boston Early Music Festival, may be able to credit his history covering rock guitarists and bands such as Cream, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin for his unique ability to carefully balance historical awareness and idiomatic accuracy with ambitious self-expression.
On Friday, May 22, O’Dette brought his distinctive and spirited touch to a program of Elizabethan ballads and Scottish folk tunes, including Anthony Holborne's variations on “The Gordian Knot” and a ballad tune titled "Lost is My Liberty." Before the concert, University of Chicago Professor Lawrence Zbikowski, himself a classically-trained guitarist, talked with O’Dette about his approach to the instrument and to historical interpretation.