Even before the performance began at the Venue Fine Art & Gifts, attendees could hear the soft sound of the guitar.
Eli Schille-Hudson, a student in the Jacobs School of Music, sat in the midst of the Ekphrasis pieces and poems still up at the Venue as he warmed up for his “Bloomington Unplugged” show Tuesday evening.
The intimate group of about ten people filled the main gallery, where Schille-Hudson, a classical guitarist, played works that covered a wide range of styles and geographic locations.
The first piece Schille-Hudson played was the work of Mauro Giuliani, a 19th century musician, with three movements making up the piece. Before each part of the performance, Schille-Hudson explained a little bit about what he was going to play and strummed lightly at the strings.
“The first one is kind of a traditional keyboard, sonata-sounding, the second is like a church hymn and the third one is fast,” Schille-Hudson said.
Dave Colman, curator of the Venue, expressed pride as Schille-Hudson took a moment between songs.
“Whenever I hear you play, I think I’m privileged,” Colman said.
Schille-Hudson held his guitar in a sort of embrace and played with a delicate touch at some times and at other times strummed harder and created a more intense sound.
The second part of the show included work by Allan Willcocks, a lesser-known classical composer, who crafted a 12-study collection that Schille-Hudson said he discovered online. The videos he found showed Willcocks’ pieces played by Tilman Hoppstock, a current German classical guitarist.
“I came across them on YouTube and fell in love with them like that,” Schille-Hudson said. “So much so that I decided to play a couple of Willcocks things for my recital this year.”
The impressionistic style of the pieces inspired Schille-Hudson to study under the guidance of Hoppstock in Germany this summer.
“The pieces have taken over my life, and I hope they do the same for you,” Schille-Hudson said.
The third section included more impressionistic pieces from Joaquin Turina. Schille-Hudson said these pieces differed from the first set of the same style because of the Spanish and flamenco influences.
Tori Champion, a senior, brought friend Susanna Herrmann, who was visiting from Washington, D.C., to the show. Champion said she had been to the Venue to look around but had never attended their Tuesday evening events.
“It was beautiful, it’s really nice. I’ve been to a lot of Eli’s shows in larger concert halls and he is practicing in our apartment quite a lot,” Champion said. “This is the first time that I’ve been to a performance that’s in a more intimate setting.”
Herrmann said Schille-Hudson’s talent was apparent throughout the show.
“He obviously knew exactly what he was doing,” Herrmann said. “He did a great job, he’s a great performer.”
For the end of the performance, Schille-Hudson chose a piece he wrote inspired by his hometown of Bellingham, Washington. The piece, titled “Good Night,” reflects the relaxing feeling of evenings throughout the town.
“Nights in Bellingham are special because it’s right on a bay, Bellingham Bay, and there’s a boardwalk that runs right at the center of the whole city. Down over across the bay are the San Juan Islands. The sunsets on the boardwalk are really something to behold, even for locals,” Schille-Hudson said.