Joseph Ehrenpreis is a multi-instrumental guitar performer. His specialization includes the 8-string “Brahms Guitar”, an instrument that was invented by David Rubio and Paul Galbraith in 1994. It is Joseph’s hope that music and sound will help to promote peace and solidarity in the world. Joseph is a student of Benjamin Verdery at the Yale School of Music.
Sunrise in Africa: The Solo Guitar Music of Taiwo Adegoke. February 22nd, 2022.
This was a project that I made over the course of the pandemic in 2021 in collaboration with the Nigerian composer Taiwo Adegoke. The pieces exude deep feelings of contemplation, self-reflection, and jubilation, as well as arrangements of folk music of his childhood and people for solo guitar. The music speaks from ports of Taiwo's soul in pieces like, "Tears for the Departed", "Reflections on Olumo Rock", "Sunrise in Africa" while celebrating the rich culture of the West African tribes in pieces like, "Orin Ìbejì (Song for Twin Children) from the Yorùba Tribe", "Ibike (Do a Good Thing) from the Kalabari Tribe", and "Akwukwo na to Uto (Learning is sweet) from the Igbo Tribe".
Dai Fujikura - milliampere (for 8-string guitar) 3:28 March 19, 2021
This is a composition meant to capture small bursts of energy in the form of a battery. Dai composed this piece for toy piano, originally, and entrusted me to arrange it for guitar. The end of the piece ends rapturously in a 19th-century style cadenza. The guitar version for 6 and 8 string guitar were published in 2021 on RICORDI.
Gulli Björnsson - Bergmál 7:14, April 12, 2021
Bergmál is written by my friend Gulli as a tribute to his late sister Stella (1986-2005). The title translates to “Echo”. I imagine the music as fragmented images of her soul ascending to the cosmos in bright starlight. This version of the piece is written for solo electric guitar with processing in MAX MSP, in a patch that Gulli designed himself.
The work that I submitted is on three different plucked string instruments, the 8-string Brahms guitar, the 6-string nylon string guitar, and the electric guitar. I like to play with a diverse palette of instruments and styles to convey atmospheres and emotions. I believe each individual instrument has its own soul and acts as a vehicle for me to convey my thoughts to my audience.
I started piano lessons at the age of 3 and absolutely despised them. I always enjoyed performing the recitals at Devonshire Park Center in my hometown of Skokie, though, mostly because I could dress up and wear one of my many hats from my hat collection as a kid. I think I’ve carried a bit of that energy of “wearing hats” into adulthood because I like to think that I have grown into expressing myself in multiple ways, not just musically.
I had an affinity for the guitar and taught myself how to play and fluently read music on it. In primary and secondary school, I played cello in the school orchestra.
While I was attending a course at the Art Institute of Chicago, I fell in love with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. I had a 45 minute commute each way to school, so I used the time to read and listen to as much music as I could I listened to every recording I could find of the solo violin set and stumbled upon Paul Galbraith’s recording, arranged for the Brahms Guitar. It inspired me to learn to play. My album “New Music with Brahms Guitar, Volume 1” funded by an Independent Artist grant from the Illinois Arts Council, captured that avenue of music making. It featured an international cast of composers that created a collection of entirely new pieces written specifically for the 8-String Brahms Guitar, the first of it’s kind.
Now as a budding professional musician, I’m finding my way back to the electric guitar!
I specialize in solo classical music. And I love to play the music of living composers. It’s a really special time for the guitar because the classical (nylon string) guitar is starting to become canonized, and the electric guitar is starting to become more acceptable in contemporary classical music. Just in this past year, young virtuosos like Sean Shibe and JIJI have played at the most prestigious venues of the old world, like Wigmore and Carnegie Hall. That’s awesome, and it’s inspiring. I want to follow in their footsteps and bring my own flavor to the musical sphere.
Sound is inherently an abstract sense, it’s informed by semiotic responses in fight or flight, but music and sound differ. We can shape and capture sound to create music, and experience beauty, devastation, longing, belonging, and everything else you can imagine on the color wheel spectrum of emotive solace through music.
Programs for Specific Audience(s) Expertise
While studying with Miroslav Tadic, I was taught to play outreach concerts for children with ASD and the hearing impaired. Part of my training was to learn to program and formulate concerts without triggering sounds, with light touch, and darker timbres.
Skokie, IL 60076
$120 - $1,000