Classical guitarist Marcin Dylla gives recital tonight at Holsclaw Hall. His two-month tour will end at Carnegie Hall.


Polish classical guitarist Marcin Dylla is about to mark a career milestone: His Carnegie Hall debut.

It will come in April, at the end of a nearly two-month U.S. tour that brings him to Tucson tonight for a recital at Holsclaw Hall.

He knows he should be giddy with excitement, but the 36-year-old said he is approaching it as he does all of his concerts.

"I focus on the music. I don't want to think too much about the career and the politics of what's behind it," he said in near perfect, but heavily accented English during a phone call from California last week. "I'm really happy and really excited, but I am who I am. It's not going to change who I am as an artist, a musician."

Dylla's Tucson encore comes nearly six years after he came here fresh from winning the 2007 Guitar Foundation of America Competition. The prize included a whirlwind American tour with Tucson on the itinerary.

"I'm really excited to come to Arizona again. I have good memories from Tucson," Dylla said.

In the years since, Dylla has grown artistically. He's branched out as far as repertoire, which has strengthened his artistry, he said.

"It's always a big compliment for me when I hear that last time was great, but this time ... you showed progress, or you changed, or it's a completely different you," he said. "If I am listening to an artist, I would like to see his rich personality. Which means that each time he is a little bit different because of using a different language with different compositions."

His program this time out includes his first-ever performance of Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg's 2004 piece "Mano a Mano." Lindberg was the composer in residence for the New York Philharmonic from 2009 to 2012.

As far as Dylla knows, he's the only one to perform it, aside from the guitarist who premiered the piece. He said he also believes the work has never been played in America.

"It's a modern piece. The language is quite sophisticated. It's 15 minutes long, so it's a big piece. It's very intense," he said, calling it the highlight of his program.

Dylla has been practicing the Lindberg since last September, working out the technical aspects as well as the arching picture of the piece.

"This is sometimes the most difficult (thing) in modern pieces, that you see the whole picture and you're not just playing note by note," he said. "Of course the first performance is often scary and risky, but you have to work through it."

Dylla describes "Mano a Mano" as an avante garde work that is "completely crazy. You definitely can follow some phrases, motifs."

"When I read about (Lindberg) and his style, you could misconstrue his style as hidden tonality. There is no tonality but from time to time he delivers some motifs and phrases ... where the music is more sophisticated and you still can find out the logical consequences of it," he explained. "It's also very easy to understand expression and energy. It's not boring and blah, blah, blah for everyone. It's clear for everyone."

Dylla, who lives in Poland, travels around the world. This year he will play concerts in China, Thailand, Europe and Mexico.

But he said he loves American audiences the best.

"I think they know what they want, what to expect," he said. "The (guitar societies) attract music lovers. I have a feeling every time that I am playing for a professional audience."

If you go

• What: Guitarist Marcin Dylla in concert.

• When: 7 p.m. today.

• Where: Holsclaw Hall, North Park Avenue at East Speedway on the University of Arizona campus.

• Tickets: $25, $20 for Tucson Guitar Society members, $15 for students.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.