Posted in music on June 2, 2008

Rhys Chatham

They needed 100 guitarists total for the performance in PA. They need 200 for the one coming up in NYC....

Rhys Chatham: A Crimson Grail, for 200 Electric Guitars (Outdoor Version)

Commissioned by Lincoln Center for Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2008 (World Premiere)

In 2005, the New York composer Rhys Chatham was commissioned by the city of Paris to write a piece of music. The result was A Crimson Grail, a work for 400 electric guitars, which premiered at the basilica of Sacré-Coeur for La Nuit Blanche, an all-night arts festival. For its first U.S. performance, the work has been extensively revised by the composer for an outdoor performance at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, to suit the dynamics of the park's outdoor acoustic. A Crimson Grail will call on the talents of 200 guitarists (including 16 electric bassists), who will be selected from an applicant pool drawing on the many talents of musicians in New York City and beyond.

Guitar strings generously provided by D'Addario

Requirements for performing in A Crimson Grail:

1. It is necessary to be a competent guitarist with at least a rudimentary comprehension of standard musical notation. A bit of basic music reading is involved to be able to perform. All musicians participating will be assigned to one of four sections, each of which will have their parts provided in simple written notation and textual instructions, and explained by section leaders.

2. You must be able to commit to attending all three rehearsals, and all 12 hours of rehearsal time. Rehearsals will be held at a Manhattan location to be announced later, tentatively scheduled for 6 to 10pm on each of the following days: Tuesday, August 12; Wednesday, August 13; and Thursday, August 14.

3. This may sound obvious, but you must be able to commit to attending a day-long rehearsal/sound check and the performance on Friday, August 15. The approximate performance time for A Crimson Grail is 8pm, on a multi-artist show that begins at 7pm. You and your equipment will need to be in place prior to the start of the concert. The performance is outdoors, with guitarists on the perimeter of Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam. A rain location will be planned.

4. Each guitarist must bring his or her own equipment for all rehearsals and performance. This must include: an electric guitar or bass of good quality that stays in tune; a good quality amp (having a power rating of not less than 50 watts); a guitar jack (20 foot minimum); a guitar strap; a digital guitar tuner; a guitar stand; and a string changer. At the composer's request, you will need to re-string your guitar, guitar strings provided by D'Addario ( Please note the following restrictions: No acoustic guitars. No hollow body electrics. No vibrato or whammy bars.

5. Sorry, but no beginners. Professional and semi-professional musicians will be given preference over amateurs.

6. This is an all-volunteer event. Due to the size and scale of the event, there are no fees or expense reimbursements for participating guitarists. The experience of being part of a once-in-a-lifetime performance...priceless.

Deadline to Apply: All applications must be received electronically no later than June 15, 2008.

Notifications: All guitarists/bassists selected will be notified by July 15, 2008.

Apply HERE.



Comments (16)

The so-called composer can kiss my ass, and restring my guitar at the same time. A lot of ridiculousness for nothing. I know that Beethoven said, that, "a guitar is [like] an orchestra in box," but I wouldn't bring any of my guitars out for this dolt. Good luck to all those who want their 15 minutes this way.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 6:39 PM

i can play the beginning riff of "enter sandman." am i satisfactorily qualified? also, should i bring my tele or my strat?

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 6:51 PM

Bring the Tele - if it's still pure factory, it's more bound to go out of tune in general than the Strat (especially in this humidity), and thus, will piss off the "composer."

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 7:05 PM

i wonder which guitar(s) daft punk is bringing, the tele or strat? those fuckers, you know the'll pull out the flying v and mess up everyone.

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 7:30 PM

"having a power rating of not less than 50 watts"

50 watts minimum?!? That's crazy. Not many people use that type of power. 50 watts x 200 guitarist. Uh, no thank you.

(someone should point out to them that volume does not scale linearly with wattage)

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 7:59 PM

How much does the gig pay? I assume they'll cover my travel and food....right?

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 10:40 PM

I played in Branca's live symphony for 100 guitars at the base of the World Trade Center back in '01 (before they came down and all). I think it's funny how these two dudes compete for the 'guitar symphony crown.' The best is that neither apparently pays any of the musicians whose time and talent they involve. Granted, I'm proud I took 3 days off work to play with Branca, yet I wonder if either of these guys would do the same to play with me. Meet me at the Charleston!

Posted by greg | June 2, 2008 10:51 PM

no, it pays nothing.
its just for the hell of it

Posted by Anonymous | June 2, 2008 10:53 PM

"No hollow body electrics. No vibrato or whammy bars."

hmmm, these are odd stipulations. they rule out a lot of popular guitars. could you use a strat if you removed the trem bar and tightened the springs all the way down? could you use jaguar or jazzmaster with the trem lock on?

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 1:09 AM

Dexter Holland looks good these days. I'm glad he's finally getting 'serious' about his music.

Posted by The Anonymoose | June 3, 2008 1:48 AM

everyone plugs into the same amp, right?

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 7:47 AM

They don't use the full 50 watts. It's simply for clarity. If you turn any amp up all the way, it distorts. They use the 50 watts at half-power or less.

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 10:10 AM

has anyone actually heard rhys' 100, 200, or 400 guitar pieces? they're FUCKING AMAZING, like, out of control beautiful. quit crying

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 10:23 AM

Yeah, caught the Williamsport performance & it was shimmering gorgeous.

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 10:49 AM

Neither I nor any of the other talented guitarists I know could ever be bothered to learn to read music. We were all too busy playing guitar. Guess that counts me out. Sounds like a cool thing to be involved in, but how involved notation-wise could a piece for 200 guitars be for each individual guitar? Obviously the dude with the ridiculous green Tele up there is going to be taking the solos...

Posted by Anonymous | June 3, 2008 11:43 AM

fuck yes! tomorrow !

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2008 12:36 PM

Leave a Comment