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Classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić weaves some baroque tunes at Warwick Arts Centre tonight (Saturday)

Acclaimed classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić makes a much-welcomed return to Warwick Arts Centre this Saturday (9th March) with a baroque programme, conducted by Johnny Cohen and backed by the Arcangelo chamber orchestra. He tells Gill Sutherland about falling in love with the guitar when he was a child living in Montenegro

What people can expect at the concert of Warwick?

Well, I’m very much looking forward to being back in Warwick with something completely different to what I’ve come with before and this is a project with Jonathan Cohen and his baroque ensemble Arcangelo, which is something that we’ve been enjoying touring and working on over the last year.

Miloš Karadaglić: Photos: Lars Borges
Miloš Karadaglić: Photos: Lars Borges

We’ve just recorded an album of music (2023’s Baroque) and explored this genre of music, so putting it in a concert programme and touring it all over the place has been amazing because I get to experience the music with the audience. We’re touring everywhere and I have just loved every minute of it.

How is baroque defined and what its appeal is - what does it give people?

So baroque is all about contrast; it’s about light and shade; drama and peaceful moments. It’s. The word baroque was derived from the Portuguese world word for pearl. And if you think of those Baroque pearls and how different each and every one of them are, with each different curve and colour, there is that contrast. It is really the pinnacle of expression in humanity.

How is it playing baroque on guitar?

It’s slightly more complicated because modern guitar didn’t exist as in baroque times. The closest back then was a lute. The lute is more like a cousin of the guitar rather than a sister or brother. The guitar today is so different, so getting into the repertoire and searching beyond the few handful of composers that are normally associated with being played on the guitar to find a baroque voice.

So it’s an instrument that didn’t exist in the baroque times, but it also gives you an opportunity to showcase how universal and how timeless this music really is. Some of the pieces they feel as if they could have been written yesterday and yet they were written some 300 years ago. I’m just so incredibly intoxicated with baroque, because there’s just everything there and fits the guitar like a glove.


You’ve explored different musical genres with the guitar, what’s your next challenge?

Well, it’s funny you say that because that’s exactly the process right now is figuring out the next chapter and the next album and where that takes me. I feel somehow more connected to the very core of the repertoire and the core of my artistry. And that really takes me into the deepest depths of old classical guitar repertoire, and baroque was the first sign of that.

You live in London now, but you grew up in Montenegro. What was your childhood like and how did you first start playing guitar?

I’ve lived in London for 24 years and I just love being here, it’s the greatest city on earth. Music is so life-changing and that’s the reason I am here, it gave me everything.

I grew up in Montenegro in the 90s and you know it was at the backdrop of very, very big civil war when the world outside was absolutely terrible and I found an escape with music.

My family was incredibly supportive. Someone asked me what have been my luckiest moments, and I actually realised that the biggest luck I ever had in life, and the only true luck, was to be born the son of my parents.

They encouraged me and they were mad enough to believe and allow – at a time when it was virtually impossible – me to go to London to study to fulfil my dreams and my potential, and then everything else was up to me. I was given a scholarship and was at the Royal Academy of Music and these were the best years of my life.

I still have family in Montenegro. And I have set up a musical foundation, because now I’m in position to be able to support young musicians from the region with scholarships – and pay something back in the same way I was helped, it’s incredibly rewarding.

Why was the guitar the instrument for you?

Well, the guitar was just there. As a child I was always very musical and curious, and felt things deeply. A guitar just happened to be there at home, and the moment I found it, it became my best friend.

Tell us about your guitar – and how many you have.

I play a guitar made by an Australian guitar maker called Greg Smallman, and the reason I love this guitar is because my big hero, John Williams, discovered him in the 1990s and has ever since played his instruments. This guitar is like my Ferrari because it’s just like it goes faster and smoother than any other.


You travel all over the world, where are your favourite places you’ve played music?

I really do love playing around the UK because of the audience and their appreciation; they are so special, genuine and honest. North America is exciting, and Japan literally has the greatest concert halls on earth.

And finally what was the last thing that really wowed you?

The retrospective exhibition of photographer Ed Burtynsky’s work at the Saatchi Gallery (on until 6th May). He does huge photos of nature and pollution up close. It is such an extraordinary exhibition it left me with so many unanswered questions about how you can find beauty in something so devastating - it really blew my mind.

Saturday’s concert starts at 7.30pm; there is a pre-concert talk. Book tickets at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

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