Tom Kerstens is a major figure in the guitar world, highly regarded as a versatile performer on both modern and period instruments and an influential champion of the guitar in his roles as player, recording artist and artistic director. He was recently chosen in Classic FM’s list of the ‘100 best classical artists’ and hailed as a “refreshing musical explorer”.
Kerstens’ reputation has taken him all over the world, his concerts featuring at many leading festivals and touring worldwide. He appears regularly at prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Kings Place, The Sage Gateshead and St George’s, Bristol. He also appears in leading European capitals with regular performances in Rome, Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam. He also frequently tours the US and South America.
Since 1995, Tom Kerstens has led IGF (International Guitar Foundation) as Artistic Director, bringing with him a passion for the guitar’s heritage and a genuine commitment to its future. IGF’s main showcase festivals in London, Bath and The Sage Gateshead have established themselves as amongst the foremost in Europe and have confirmed Kerstens’ reputation as an artist of rare qualities. He has commissioned over 70 new works for guitar from many leading composers including three concertos. He has also created major international competitions for young guitarists and has established publishing and recording companies to support the work of IGF.
Kerstens’ latest recording projects include a series of new works for the guitar recorded for BGS Records, including Black Venus – new music for guitar Vol. 1 and Standing Wave – new music for guitar Vol. 2. These recordings feature leading British composers such as Graham Fitkin, Howard Skempton, Philip Cashian, Joby Talbot, Giles Swayne, Errollyn Wallen, Gabriel Jackson, John Metcalfe and others. These were followed by Spanish music projects such as Goya the music of Enrique Granados (2008), and España, the music of Isaac Albéniz (late 2011), the latter two performed on a period instrument, a copy of Torres guitar of 1888.
Cecilia Rodrigo awarded him the prestigious Joaquin Rodrigo commemorative medal for his “outstanding contribution to the dissemination of Rodrigo’s work”, a rare distinction awarded to a select few only.
Collaborations have included a host of leading British orchestras and ensembles and in addition he has recently formed his own ensemble called G Plus which is dedicated to especially commissioned new music for guitar in a varying chamber ensemble context. Composers who have written for the exciting line up of two guitars, strings and percussion include Joby Talbot, Max Richter and John Metcalfe. The G Plus Ensemble’s debut CD Utopia was made in Peter Gabriel’s famous Real World studios and was released in May 2010 to great critical acclaim.