9-String Guitarist Michael Coppola To Headline Next Flagpole Radio Café

Flagpole Radio Café will continue its sixth season on Saturday, November 9, with special guest Michael Coppola.

The show will begin at 7 pm at Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street in Newtown.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students and senior citizens, and are on sale at www.flagpoleproductions.org.

“Michael Coppola’s playing is evocative of the technical brilliance of Stanley Jordan,” said Flagpole Producer Martin Blanco. “While his technical abilities are impressive, you need only to listen in order to appreciate the joy of his music. He creates music of profound depth and beauty. The lush sounds just wash over you and if you couldn’t see him, you would think there was a trio of guitars playing.

“His appearance will be a treat for guitar enthusiasts of all ages. We’re very excited that he will be joining us.”

Michael Coppola was listed as a main entry in acclaimed jazz critic Scott Yanow’s 2013 book The Great Jazz Guitarists (The Ultimate Guide) alongside guitar legends such as Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery.

Playing in a trio with master pianist John Mehegan inspired Mr Coppola to overstep the technical boundaries of the guitar. In an attempt to achieve the same tightly-voiced chords and pedaled legato phrases used by contemporary jazz keyboardists, he created the concept of the eight-string guitar. The original design, which Mr Coppola commissioned from luthier James DeCava, requires inner, rather than extra bass or treble side strings.

In 2000, Mr Coppola expanded his own idea to incorporate a ninth sting. This guitar, also built by Mr DeCava, is known in jazz guitar circles as “The Hydra.” This became his instrument for life.

Mr Coppola has recorded several albums with this instrument and in the canon of reviews one will find superlatives such as “unique,” “different,” “mind-boggling,” “magical” and “inventive.”

Michael Coppola began playing guitar at age 11. His musical foundation began with instruction from guitarist Ritchie Lengel and was further developed through the combination of classical finger style studies coupled with lessons from jazz artist Sal Salvador.

He pursued his education at Boston Conservatory of Music and soon after in Austria at Die Hochschule Fuer Music, where he studied serial and atonal composition with Guenther Kahowitz.  His education continued in Manhattan with jazz master Walter Bishop Jr. 

Mr Coppola’s album Return of the Hydra was chosen as a top ten pick for 2002 in Coda Magazine. His original composition “Movin” was a runner up in the 2002 John Lennon Song Competition. He performs at national guitar shows, festivals, concerts and intimate New England venues. He performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2011, the renowned Blue Note in New York City last year, the Iridium as a guest of the great Les Paul, Knickerbocker, The Chet Atkins Festival and the National Guitar Museum, where he played with many extraordinary guitarists such as Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins, Harold Alden, and Stephen Benet.

In 1980, Mr Coppola won first place in the Ovation Guitar Company’s national competition. Lately, he has been performing with his 16-year old prodigy daughter Michaela, who is the Connecticut High School All State Jazz Guitarist.

Now in its sixth season, Flagpole Radio Café was created by Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and Barbara Gaines in conjunction with Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. It features music by Jim Allyn and The Flagpole Radio Café Orchestra (Rob Bonaccorso, Rick Brodsky, Howie Bujese, Dick Neil and Francine Wheeler), radio style comedy sketches by the Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre (Mr Blanco and fellow performers Barbara Gaines, Kate Katcher, and David Wheeler), and appearances by guests artists of accomplishment if not renown.

After four years of performances, the show took a hiatus in the shadow of the Sandy Hook shootings of 12/14. Ensemble members Francine and David Wheeler lost their son Benjamin that morning.

The tragedy reunited the ensemble with Peter Yarrow, who produced A Family Concert of Caring, Healing and Togetherness at The Ridgefield Playhouse with the intent on bringing a measure of peace to the greater community as well as contributing to the broader movement for non-violence in our country. The ensemble, especially Mrs Wheeler, was prominently featured in the presentation. A one hour version of this concert was subsequently broadcast on PBS in New York this summer, and shortly will be available to PBS stations throughout the country.

Flagpole Radio Café launched its new season last month with a return engagement by harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. Performance dates for 2013-14 are also planned for December 7, February 8, March 22, and May 17.

For additional information call 203-364-0898 or send email to info@flagpoleproductions.org.


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