Nigel Westlake will conduct the world premiere of his new double guitar concerto,  Towards Takayna, which he wrote for Slava and Leonard Grigoryan, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The composer speaks to  Limelight about writing for guitar, the evolution of the concerto, and how he has found inspiration in the Tasmanian wilderness.

Nigel Westlake

You’ve had plenty of experience writing for guitar – how has your relationship with the instrument evolved?

I’ve always been very much encouraged by guitarists, who are always on the lookout for new work, and from my very early pieces which were written for Timothy Kain and his group Guitar Trek – the quartet. It’s strange being a non-guitarist writing for guitar, there’s a lot you’ve got to be a bit careful of in terms of playability and making it player friendly for the people who you’re writing for. Guitarists – all of the conscientious ones – they’re trying to build up the repertoire and kind of commission new works and find new ways of integrating the instrument into different contexts, whether that be with orchestra or different ensembles. So it’s new frontier stuff in a way, which is quite exciting, and...