Tom Kerstens is a major figure in the guitar world. He is highly regarded as a versatile performer on modern and period instruments and is an influential champion of the guitar in his roles as player, recording artist and artistic director.
Tom emerged onto the international concert platform in 1987. He regularly performs at the UK’s most prestigious concert halls such as Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, and Kings Place in London and at The Sage, Gateshead and St. George’s, Bristol. He gives annual performances in European capitals such as Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam and Paris. He also tours the US and South America.
Since 1995, Tom Kerstens has been Artist Director of IGF (the International Guitar Foundation). IGF’s festivals in London, Bath and Gateshead are amongst the foremost in Europe. He has commissioned over 70 new works for guitar, three of them concertos, from leading and emerging composers. Tom has created international competition for young guitarists and has established publishing and recording companies to support IGF’s work.
Tom Kerstens’ acclaimed solo guitar recordings have been selected for five consecutive years by Gramophone magazine’s Classical Good CD, DVD and Download Guitar. Classic FM magazine rates him amongst the ‘100 best artists’ in the world of classical music, on of only five guitarists to be included. As BBC Radio 3’s CD Review puts it: “he is in a rather difference league”.
Tom Kerstens’ recordings for BGS Records include Black Venus – new music for guitar Vol. 1 (2001) and Standing Wave – new music for guitar Vol. 2 (2004). They include commissions from Joby Talbot, Graham Fitkin, Howard Skempton, Giles Swayne, Errollyn Wallen and John Metcalfe. Then can Danza – the music of dance (2005), a collection of old and newly commissioned dance miniatures and Goya – The Music of Enrique Granados (2008) played on a period instrument. He is currently recording a new album of Albéniz music.
In 2001, Tom released Zapateado an homage to Rodrigo for BGS which celebrated the centenary of the great Spanish composer and includes new works written in tribute to him. Cecilia Rodrigo awarded Tom the prestigious Joaquin Rodrigo Commemorative Medal for his ‘outstanding contribution to the dissemination of Rodrigo’s work’, an extremely rare distinction.
Collaborations have included many leading UK and European orchestras and ensembles. He has recently formed his own ensemble, G Plus, which is dedicated to performing especially commission new work. Utopia is G Plus’ debut recording.