Andrew Ford introduces his new electric guitar concerto for Zane Banks and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Work Raga
ComposerAndrew Ford
Scored forElectric guitar and orchestra
Commissioned byKim Williams, ASO, Adelaide Guitar Festival
PremiereAugust 13, 2016
PerformersZane Banks, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey

I have been wanting to compose an electric guitar concerto for so long – at least since the late 1990s – that I can’t recall the exact genesis of the idea. What I can say is that the piece has always been called Raga, and somewhere behind it all lies the Grateful Dead.

I am more an admirer of the Grateful Dead than a fan, and what I admire is (was) the band’s stamina. They took rock and roll and made it long. This is not the same as inflating it like a progressive rock band. On the contrary, the Dead remained a rock band – no glitter, no interpolated bits of Bach – but they saw the possibilities of the art, how you could stick pretty close to your three-chord last, yet create something that was epic in scale and heroic in nature.