Copyright © Joe McGowan 2020
Original photographs Copyright © Joe McGowan 2019
From left: David Russell, Joe McGowan and Mike McGeary
Since 1988, Joe had been attending classical guitar workshops and festivals in Inverness, Cambridge, Leicester and Dingwall, and it was here that he made the acquaintance of world-
When Joe began taking guitar lessons from a local music teacher in 1982, he had no ambition to pursue the undertaking beyond a hobby. Having been captivated by the sound of the classical guitar since early childhood, and later by the music of Mike Oldfield, at the time he only wanted to explore finger style guitar and the evocative qualities of the instrument. His natural abilities appeared to lie in Art & Design and therefore Joe intended to pursue a career in that field. However, from his first guitar lesson he was completely absorbed and over the next few years quickly progressed whilst giving priority to his other academic studies.
When Joe began taking guitar lessons from a local music teacher in 1982, he had no ambition to pursue the undertaking beyond a hobby. Having been captivated by the sound of the classical guitar since early childhood, and later by the music of Mike Oldfield, at the time he only wanted to explore finger style guitar and the evocative qualities of the instrument. His natural abilities had lain
in Art & Design and therefore it was assumed his career
was destined to be in this field.
However, from the first guitar lesson Joe was completely
absorbed and, practicing addictively, over the next few
years he quickly progressed whilst giving priority to his
other academic studies.
Joe with Nikita Koshkin prior to the Russian guitarist/composer's first UK concert in 1992
guitar teachers. A director of these festivals was the late Chris Kilvington, a composer, teacher and reviews editor for Classical Guitar magazine. Having previously accepted a few concert reviews submitted by Joe, Chris gave the young student his first taste of professional writing by inviting him to become an official reviewer for the magazine in 1991 -
A year after obtaining his first guitar teaching diploma (the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM)), in 1992 Joe successfully auditioned for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire Scotland), taking a BA degree course in musical studies, with guitar as first study and composition second. His guitar tutors were Philip Thorne, Selina Madeley and Allan Neave, and for composition Tom Wilson, John Maxwell Geddes, Gordon McPherson and James MacMillan.
It was not until 1986, under the tutelage of Anne Chaurand, that Joe's interest went beyond that of a hobby and he began working towards Associated Board grade certificates in classical guitar and music theory. At the time he was also in full-
For Joe, composition had become another area of creative interest that equalled that of the guitar, and during his years at the academy he wrote music in a wide range of styles, including accompanied and unaccompanied vocal works; several solo and ensemble pieces for various instruments; a string quartet and orchestral and electro-
A year after obtaining his first guitar teaching diploma (the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM)), in 1992 Joe successfully auditioned for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire Scotland), taking a BA degree course in musical studies with guitar as first study and composition second. His guitar tutors were Philip Thorne, Selina Madeley and Allan Neave, and for composition Tom Wilson, John Maxwell Geddes, Gordon McPherson and James MacMillan.
Click image to enlarge
The Guardian review of the composers' concert at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, 1994
Click image to enlarge
Joe with Terry Oldfield outside the house in Cork where Terry’s mum, Maureen, had grown up in the 1920’s.
Joe with Terry Oldfield and Soraya prior to the ‘Return to Celtic Roots’ concert at the Schoolyard Theatre, Charleville, Co. Cork on 3rd October 2019.
Return to Celtic Roots tour with Terry Oldfield and Soraya Saraswati in Cork, Ireland, October 2019.
1. Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo)*
3. Moon River (Mercer)
4. The Rose (McBroom)
5. Samba de Orfeo (Bonfa & Maria)
6. Gymnopedie no.1 (Satie)
7. Bulerias (Calatayud)
8. Cavatina (Myers)
9. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Waler, Brooks & Razaf)*
10. Make You Feel my Love (Adele)*
11. Manha de Carnaval (Bonfa)
12. Imagine (Lennon)
13. Malaguena (trad.)*
2. Summertime (Gershwin)*
* Arranged by Joe McGowan
Album art: Joe McGowan
Running time 69 mins.
Copyright ©Joe McGowan 2019
14. Moliendo Cafe (Blanco & Perroni)
15. Hey Jude (Lennon & McCartney)
16. Lagrima (Tarrega)
17. Agua de Beber (Jobim)
18. Stairway to Heaven (Page & Plant)*
19. Castillana (Allegria) (Trad.)*
20. Layla (Clapton)*
21. Spanish Romance (Anon)
22. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon)*
23. Classical Gas (Mason Williams)
24. How Deep is Your Love (Gibb Brothers)
25. Vals (Calatayud)
Buy from JM Music
Buy from amazon.com
11. Romance (Anon.)
12. Cavatina (Myers)
13. Vincent (McLean)
14. Blasianas canariennes no.2 & no.3 (Sanchez)
15. Spanish portrait (Cross Culture)
Running time: 62.26 mins.
Copyright ©Joe McGowan & Cameron Angus 1999
1. Desired (Juan Martin)
2. The girl from Ipanema (Jobim)
3. Wave (Jobim)
4. Felicidade (Jobim)
5. Tico tico no fuba (Abreu)
6. Meditation (Jobim)
7. Antonio’s song (Jobim)
8. Sonata no.84 (Soler)
9. Zarabande (Granados)
10. Samba do aviao (Jobim)
At the end of 1998 Joe formed a guitar duet with Cameron Angus (also a former student of the RSAMD) and in January 1999 duo Cross Culture spent a year performing on the Canary island, Lanzarote. In addition to playing duets from the guitar repertoire, they wrote many of their own arrangements of popular songs and works by Albeniz, Granados,
Rodrigo and Jobim, some of which appear on their album, Crossing the Boundaries, which the duo recorded towards the end of their time in Lanzarote. In addition to Spanish, classical, Latin-
In 2015 he started Your Music Mentor.com, an online tuition and mentoring service catering for beginner to advanced musicians, exam and school students, professionals and teachers.
Visit the website at: www.yourmusicmentor.com
Visit the website at: www.jm-
2016 was the year Joe launched jm-
Upon his return to Scotland in 2000, as well as giving private music tuition Joe accepted a teaching post at the Graham Laurie School of Music in Paisley. In the following years he also turned more seriously to writing, when his output would include novel-
In February 2010, Joe moved to the region of Manilva on the south coast of Spain where he taught music both privately and in International schools, and was regularly engaged to perform solo classical guitar music at numerous venues from Malaga to Gibraltar.
Joe with Terry Oldfield and Soraya Saraswati at the end of the concert.
Specially composed for the occasion, Joe’s song Shine On is premiered at the concert by Leila Aarden.
World Peace Day concert in Marbella, Spain, 29 September 2018
In September 2018 Joe became involved with the World Peace day concert in Marbella for which he composed the peace song, Shine On. Special guest performers at the concert were his friends Terry Oldfield and Soraya Saraswati.
Between 2018 and 2019 Joe compiled his first solo guitar album from a selection of live recordings made in Spain. Simply Guitar is a double album featuring Spanish, Latin-
Towards the end of 2018, Joe moved to County Cork in Ireland with his partner, Sharon. He now shares his time between Ireland and Scotland and is engaged in a number of music and writing projects, in addition to continuing his teaching practice, Your Music Mentor.com.
Joe with partner Sharon O’Riordan
By the time Joe completed his degree in 1995 (taking the option to graduate from Glasgow University), he had also obtained his second guitar teaching diploma, the LTCL, from Trinity College, London. Another year of post-
For the next two years Joe held this post and another as part-
The first two movements of his electro-
In 1988, he enrolled for a degree course in music, philosophy and art history with the Open University and by September 1989 -