Guitarist, composer, arranger and conductor Peter Blanchette is known around the world as the inventor of the 11-string archguitar. His extraordinary repertoire of internationally acclaimed arrangements and compositions spans from the medieval, renaissance and baroque music to World Music, New Music, and his own original pieces. He performs and records in solo recital, and together with Mané Lareggla (of Madrid, Spain) as Archguitar Duo. Blanchette and Archguitar Duo also record and perform with selected other instrumentalists to form the Virtual Consort. Blanchette has been heard on hundreds of recordings, film and television scores, public radio in the US, Canada, Europe and across Asia, on his own 17 archguitar albums for the Dorian label and his own imprint, Archguitar Music. Listen here to Blanchette's archguitar recordings.
Check out the Archguitar Youtube Channel here.
O'Carolan: Si Bheag, Si Mhor arranged and performed by Peter Blanchette. Carrion de los Condes, Spain.
Bach: Gigue (from Partita I for Keyboard, BWV 825) with Elliot Gibbons
Bach Birthday Celebration, Arlington Street Church, Boston - (WGBH broadcast)
Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata K. 380 with Mané Larregla as Archguitar Duo
A Bach Specialist
Since his late teens, Blanchette has been devoted to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He has made archguitar arrangements of hundreds of the Bach's music composed originally for solo violin, solo 'cello, and lute , as well as archguitar duo arrangements of keyboard and orchestral works.
Kirsten Swanson wrote in the CVNC Charlotte Journal about Peter Blanchette's performance at the Bechtler Museum of Contemporary Arts' Concert Series:
"The ornamentation and rhythmic intricacies in the Courante were so creative that they gave the impression that Blanchette was composing the music on the spot. Each phrase was a new delight. He highlighted and danced rhythms that I had never heard before in the music. After a short pause wherein Blanchette joked about how hard the Courante is (the entire concert was performed by memory), he continued with the Sarabande, which left me crying and speechless from its serene beauty."
Blanchette is a veteran performer at such high profile venues as NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and has performed in nearly all countries in Western Europe, from Norway to Portugal.
Bach: Fugue Nr.2 from The Well Tempered Clavier, Book II. Pandemic Lockdown Project 2020-2021
Music arranged and video produced by Peter BLanchette
Bach: Sarabande, from Suite No. 1 for 'cello solo -
Bach/Busoni: after Chorale Prelude, "Ich Ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ" BWV 639
Arranged by Peter Blanchette, with Mané Larregla as Archguitar Duo.
Bach: Gigue, from Suite No. 5 for 'cello solo - Palencia, Spain
A recipient of the Massachusetts Council Artist Grant in Music Composition, Peter Blanchette is a composer whose music has been featured in films and television for over 20 years. Credits: HBO's Sex and the City, Cannes Palme D'Or nominated film Illuminata, (directed by John Turturro), commissions from the Dingle Film Festival and the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts for new scores to three of Buster Keaton's silent masterpieces: The General, the Navigator and Steamboat Bill. Jr. His albums receive heavy radio airplay on “Sunday Baroque,” “The Thistle and Shamrock,” and on Spanish television's Antenna 3.
Below, an excerpt from Buster Keaton's 1928 silent film masterpiece, Steamboat Bill, Jr., with a new score composed by Peter Blanchette, and performed by the New, Silent, Black and White Quintet. Blanchette's score was premiered at the Dingle International Film Festival in Dingle Ireland, 2010.
Blanchette is also the founder (2009) and former Artistic Director (2009-2018) of the Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra, a true avant-garde community orchestra, comprised of more than a dozen adventurous acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. Located in Northampton, Massachusetts, HVGO, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, continues to serve the Pioneer Valley community (under its Artistic Director Joe Ricker), as it creates new and beautiful music that could only come from such an eclectic melange, inspiring musicians to work together who might otherwise never collaborate. HVGO has also partnered with Holyoke Summer Strings to bring free, guitar ensemble lessons to Holyoke Massachusetts elementary school children. Learn more about HVGO here.
The Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra performs J.S.Bach Adagio for Organ, BWV 514 (b)
Arranged for guitar orchestra, conducted by Peter Blanchette.
Live at Smith College , Northampton, Massachusetts, 2015.
Video by Paul Odgren.