THE MODEL OF A MODERN-DAY GUITAR VIRTUOSO
“Gifted. Imaginative. Expressive.”
~ The New York Times
“A guitarist to keep an eye on!”
~ The Washington Post
“Mak’s playing sparkled with intense fire, giving life to even the smallest notes in music. His musical approach is multifold and tends to diverse musical styles and genres with playful beauty.”
~ Yengcheng Newspaper (Guangdong)
“Grgic showed superb virtuosity in his performance, showcasing an especially wide dynamic range - from pianissimo to forte. The extraordinary technique of the right hand conjured up a pianistic quality in the playing, where the themes were clearly evoked, accompanied by quieter chords, regardless of register.”
~ Newspaper Vecer (Slovenia)
The expansiveness of Mak’s repertoire winds its way through a dizzying array of approaches, from music of the baroque and renaissance (for which he received praise from Washington Post) to music of a cinematic nature, ethnic music of his native Balkan Peninsula, and extreme avant-garde and microtonal music. His first solo release on Marquis Records entitled Cinema Verismo explores adept guitar arrangements of music from the movies. His latest recordings, Balkanisms for Naxos Music and MAKrotonal for MicroFest Records, an album produced by the Grammy Award winning producer John Schneider, explore a vast repertoire spanning ethnic music, microtonal newly-composed music and early music on re-fretted instruments.
Grgic spent two years as a Young Artist in Residence at The Da Camera Society of Los Angeles. Aside from chamber music, solo performances and school outreach as a part of this residency, he co-founded a contemporary octet called DC8. This ensemble performed and commissioned new works from Michael Gordon and Nina Senk as well as stellar established contemporary works by Davidovsky and Sciarrino. The DC8 ensemble was proclaimed as an “inspiring addition to the contemporary music landscape in Los Angeles” by the LA Times.
Mak continuously collaborates with many esteemed musicians, such as JACK Quartet, Martin Chalifour (Concertmaster, LA Phil), Jay Campbell, Joshua Roman, The Assad Brothers, Ashley Bathgate (Bang on a Can All-Stars), and John Sant’Ambrogio (St. Louis Symphony Orchestra). Grgic is also a founding and active member of Duo Deloro with Adam Del Monte and FretX Duo with Daniel Lippel, the intrepid guitarist of ICE Ensemble. `
As a soloist, both with orchestra and in recital, he has performed at numerous venues worldwide. Some of these are Allegro Guitar Society, Sarasota Guitar Society, Portland Classic Guitar, Austin Classical Guitar (in recital with Martin Chalifour), University of Las Vegas in Nevada, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Newman Center for Performing Arts, Denver, Strathmore Hall in Maryland, Pepperdine University as a guest of Christopher Parkening, Portland Classical Guitar, the Minnesota Guitar Society, Guitar Festival Mikulov, Northwest Guitar Festival, Piran Music Nights and The Sounds of Six Strings, Cankarjev Dom, Slovenia, Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Croatia, Jeunesse Musicales - Kulturwoche in Vienna, Arts at the Park in NYC, the New York Classical Guitar Society, Microfest in Los Angeles, Van Dekker House in California, The Beyond Microtonal Festival in Pittsburgh, Guitar Art Summer Fest, and in Korea at the Music Now Festival.
Other engagements include performances and residencies at the Grande Auditorium di Espinho, Espinho and Teatro di Fafe, Fafe Municipality in Portugal; Teatro Cervantes de Bejar, Salamanca, Castile-Leon in Spain; International Music Council of the European Broadcasting Union in an all-instrument “New Talent” Competition in Bratislava representing the Republic of Slovenia as well as The Dallas Opera with Chamber Orchestra in performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse; a Berio Sequenza Marathon at Monk@Space, Koreatown, LA; Kitchener Waterloo, Canada; Slowind Festival; Academia Philharmonicorum, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Sarajevo Music Academy, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Zurich University of Arts, Zurich, Switzerland; Paris Guitar Foundation, Paris, France; Guimarães International Guitar Festival, Guimarães, Portugal; NAMM Show, Anaheim, California; Triangle Guitar Society, Raleigh, North Carolina; Dumbarton Concerts, Washington D.C.; Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Hong Kong International Guitar Festival; Lancaster Music Festival and many more.
In the recent past Mak has showcased an innate affection for entrepreneurial work. This has resulted in directorship roles at EuroStrings, the European Guitar Festival Collaborative; Zagreb Guitar Festival and Roots & Notes Interactive Music Festival in Croatia; Music@RushHour in Los Angeles; and Acoustic Caffeine Concert Series in cooperation with Arts Brookfield. He also serves as director of the Elemental Guitar Program in Santa Monica and as adjunct faculty at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles.
Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, he studied guitar in Zagreb with the revered Ante Cagalj at the Elly Basic Conservatory of Music and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree with Alvaro Pierri at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria. He finished his Doctoral Degree at the USC Thornton School of Music as a student of William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Brian Head, artistic director of GFA. This year he begins an artist diploma program at USC, where he is the first guitarist in the university’s history to receive such an honor. When he is not involved in music, Grgic helps fundraise for Bosnian children with financial difficulties. He proudly plays and endorses an array of fabulous concert guitars made by German Antonius Muller, Chinese master luthier Hanson Yao, Bosnian Slavko Mrdalj, Slovenian Samo Sali and a historic 1966 Jose Ramirez. All of this in addition to other corky and wacky re-fretted and remodeled guitars.