Interview with Jim Skinger











Jim Skinger
(Jim is member of the jury of the International Guitar Festival Rust 2007)

Interview with Jim Skinger:

Question: Who do you think is the most overrated and the most underrated composer for the classical guitar?

Jim Skinger: Of the early 19th century composers, Dionisio  Aquado comes to mind as one who has been largely underrated.
It’s a bit more problematical as to who might be overrated. I think one must consider a composer’s intentions. For example, I don’t know of any major works written by Matteo Carcassi, however he did write very beautiful pieces for students of modest technique and from that perspective he was a very successful composer.


Which „Slogan“ would you use in advertising for  the classical guitar?

Jim Skinger: Guitar or acoustic guitar is ok. The words “classical” or “Spanish Guitar” can be limiting in terms of the instrument’s possibilities as well as the public‘s perception of just how truly versatile the nylon string guitar really is. In a way, it is because of the guitar’s enormous popularity that it has an identity crisis of sorts.


With which prejudices – that are connected with the classical guitar – would you like to get rid of?

Jim Skinger: I have heard it often said that the guitar does not have a truly viable repertoire of a high level.  I do not believe this is true any longer.


Question: Which attributes do you find typical for classical guitarists?

Jim Skinger: The scope of understanding and embracing both traditional and non traditional music.


Question: What things in your life do you definitely want to learn and what do you regret not having done?

Jim Skinger:  I want to keep learning and expanding my knowledge of new music and continue developing my own compositional direction.   I regret not having spent enough time in Europe so as to connect more deeply with other cultures and to become fluent in several languages.


Question: What dreams do you have that you would like to fulfil?

Jim Skinger:  To write concertos for the guitar and again, to spend more time in Europe.

Question: What is embarrassing for you?

Jim Skinger:  When I meet a very interesting person whose language I do not know and therefore am limited in my conversation and my ability to communicate.


Question: What short phrase would you use to discribe your lifes philosophy?

Jim Skinger: My philosophy is simple – in the words of Joseph Campbell “Follow Your Bliss.”  This I have always tried to live by.


Which abuse in your native country would you like to do away with?

Jim Skinger:  Pervasive and excessive commercialism attached to so much of day to day living.


Question: In relation to world history, which personalities fascinate you the most?

Jim Skinger: William Shakespeare, George Washington and Johann Sebastian Bach, to name a few.


Question: Which question would you like to be asked and what is your answer to this question?

Jim Skinger: I always enjoy questions that force me to think and to evaluate my own assumptions.


Question: Which guitar virtuoso today has the makings to follow in the footsteps of Andres Segovia?

Jim Skinger: No one.  The world that Segovia was born into and the world that nourished his enormous talent and aesthetic sensibilities, no longer really exists.  The only guitarist active today who has successfully made the transition from the Segovia era has been John Williams, whose own views regarding the guitar’s multi-dimensional role in today’s music, must be taken seriously.  He is the only performing guitarist I know who has ticket holders lining up around the block to see him.


Thank you very much Jim for this interview.

Jovan Pesec

Biography Jim Skinger 

Jim taught guitar at Clark University, Worcester MA, Marywood College in Scranton,PA and at the State University of NY in both Binghamton and Oneonta.

Jim’s solo concerts and performances with classical and jazz ensembles have insured a continually busy performance schedule. His compositional output is diverse and includes his flute and  guitar piece “Just For Friends” and “Suite Ibiza” for solo guitar, both published by Columbia Music Co. Editions Daminus of Germany  published “When the Birds Goodbye To The Day”, as well as guitar duo, quartets and chamber music.

Other compositions were recently published in Classical Guitar (April 2006) and Soundboard (Vol. XXX, No.4 (2004-5) and VOL. XXXII. No. 1 & 2 (2006).

Deep River” was published as part of the IV International Competition for best arrangement of a folk song at Belarus, Gomel  (2005).

Jim actively composes music for film and theatre organizations in

New York City. In October 2004 Televideo International presented Jim’s second guitar recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.




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