Poster David Starobin
David Starobin has been an advocate for contemporary guitar his whole career.
New Classical Tracks®

Guitarist David Starobin celebrates one of his musical idols

New Classical Tracks - David Starobin (Extended)

David Starobin — Giulio Regondi: A 200th Birthday Bouquet (Bridge)

“I retired from playing four years ago,” guitarist David Starobin says. I didn't have all that much time to deal with my playing until I stopped playing.

Despite retiring from performing, he still teaches at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Manhattan School of Music. He also runs an art gallery and produces records for his label, Bridge Records. One of those releases, Giulio Regondi: A 200th Birthday Bouquet, celebrates one of Starobin‘s musical idols, the Swiss-born composer, guitarist and concertinist Giulio Regondi.

“As a composer, he wrote the finest romantic guitar music from the mid-1800s. This was when you had Mendelssohn, Schumann and amazing composers writing romantic music that we consider great repertoire,” Starobin says.

“Everything about his music appealed to me,” he says. “His life story is unbelievable. He was a child prodigy who played before every European court by the time he was 9. He then emigrated with his stepfather to England and had a very successful career there, and then something strange happened.

“He encountered a scientist, Charles Wheatstone, who had invented the concertina. Regondi was the first person to try this instrument when he was just 12. For the rest of his life, he alternated concerts between the guitar and the concertina, but he wrote most of his music for concertina.”

Why did you transcribe his concertina etudes for guitar?

“There's a real lack of repertoire, especially for my students who could play intermediate Regondi. This fills a gap in the guitar repertoire regarding learning romantic style and the necessary contrapuntal voicing that his music requires.

“The best piece compositionally on the record is his second etude. It traverses all sorts of keys. It starts in a minor and works through a series of keys that ends in C-sharp major. That work, essentially a slow piece, offers the most opportunity to sing lyrically.

“When I was listening to Fete Villageoise, for example, there’s a beautiful melody, but the way it's played and presented has a lovely sense of delicacy. I don't know if that's the right way to describe it, but that's what I'm hearing.

One of the main reasons that I fell in love with this man's music was the certain intimacy that he achieves in expression. What Regondi does is give enough harmonic variety in the music so that it colors what he's writing in a very different way for the guitar than other composers of that period.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


David Starobin — Giulio Regondi: A 200th Birthday Bouquet (Bridge Store)

David Starobin — Giulio Regondi: A 200th Birthday Bouquet (Amazon)

Love the music?

Donate by phone

Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.

Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.

YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


About New Classical Tracks®

Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public, or RSS.

About New Classical Tracks®