CLASSICAL guitarist Rupert Boyd is walking through the streets of Manhattan on a fine, late-spring day when we catch up with him to talk about his coming visit to the town of his birth, Canberra.
He knows all about our winter weather, but his wife, American cellist Laura Metcalf, he tells us, found spring in Canberra the coldest experience of her life when the pair were last here in September, 2017.
Their guitar/cello duo, due to perform at Wesley Music Centre and Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, is called Boyd Meets Girl and, yes, he says: “We have been accused of having chosen a name that is a little cheesy, but we think it’s a catchy name – better than The Rupert Boyd Duo or some such.”
And it gives them a little leeway in the choice of repertoire, especially important since, in classical music at least, there’s not a huge cello/guitar repertoire.
They’ve reached back to the 19th century and forward to the 21st for the upcoming tour, the highlight of which will be a two-piece set of works both about women and emotional distress.
The first is “Gretchen am Spinnrade”, a song composed by Franz Schubert depicting Faust’s Gretchen, lonely at her spinning wheel, and the second is “Pray You Catch Me” from Beyoncé’s 2016 “Lemonade” album, a lament for husband Jay-Z’s infidelities.
Rupert is not a mad Beyoncé fan – that’s Metcalf – but, he says: “We’ve made an arrangement, which is like our own, a fantasy based on the number, a nice chamber music piece.”
Another work in the concert will be a five minute piece called “A New York Minute” for cello and guitar, written for them by veteran Slovakian-born classical guitarist and composer Marian Budos, who studied composition at the ANU with Jim Cotter and Larry Sitsky.
Boyd, one of the ANU School of Music’s star graduates and the grandson of Australian modernist architect Robin Boyd, is always welcomed by audiences here, but there’s a big difference this time round – they’ll be bringing with them 11-month-old Milo, their first child, born on July 4 to the accompaniment of fireworks. By coincidence, his sister had her first child earlier this year, so it’s expected to be quite a family reunion.
While he assures us that Milo is one of the highest trending names in the US, Boyd feels we should know: “I always drank Milo myself when I was little.”
They’re experiencing a lot of sleepless nights, but as he says: “The poor little guy, he’s only 11 months old and we’ve dragged him through half the states of the US.”
In 2015, when we caught up with Boyd in New York, he was living the Manhattan life, and it is still doing the trick for him – they’ve bought an apartment in Manhattan, their son was born in Manhattan, he brought out a new album, “The Guitar”, in Manhattan and they’ve initiated a weekly Sunday morning concert experience called “GatherNYC”.
So far, he reports, they’ve done 35 or 36 concerts, attracting top musicians including New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinettist, Anthony McGill. The program always includes two minutes of silence intended to replicate the church experience but, as Boyd says, “the religion here is music”.
Boyd Meets Girl, Wesley Music Centre, Forrest, 7.30pm, Friday, June 21, book at trybooking.com and Bungendore Wood Works, 6pm, Saturday, June 22, book at 6238 1682 or rupertboyd.com