". . . refined and technically immaculate."
-Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar
"Koonce immediately assures the listener . . . that he is a player of refined and well developed tone and clean technique. . . . an ideal performance. . . . I admire the professionalism which has created the necessary sense of easiness about the performance.
-Chris Kilvington, Classical Guitar
"An outstanding program that has been a sheer delight to listen to . . . first-rate musicianship . . ."
-The Allegro Quarterly
"Most of the festival participants had heard Segovia's recordings of ten solo guitar excerpts from Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Platero y yo, Op. 190, but few had heard the work as it was intended - with a narrator reading the Nobel prize-winning poetry of Juan Ramón Jiménez. Guitarist Frank Koonce and narrator Don Doyle, a professional actor and storyteller, presented a charming and moving performance in English of seventeen pieces (out of a total of 28) drawn from one of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's finest works - surely one of the highlights of the festival."
-Richard Long, Soundboard Magazine
"The performers... have put together a well thought out production, bringing their substantial talents together to great effect... they have lavished attention on every detail and nuance of the score. Koonce is especially effective in establishing a subtle and ever-changing emotive context for the text. His technical facility more than meets the demands of the rigorous solo guitar part.
-Richard Greene, Guitar Review Magazine
Platero & I, originally in Spanish (Platero y yo), is a captivating book of prose by Nobel Prize-winning poet Juan Ramón Jiménez. Dedicated to a little donkey named Platero, it shares the experiences of Jiménez and Platero, to whom the poet confides his deepest thoughts and observations about daily life in southern Spain at the turn of the 20th century. Verses from Platero & I were set to music in 1960 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Both the text and the music, independent of one another, are highly expressive and moving; but together, the become a little-known masterpiece.
Frank Koonce is internationally acclaimed as a performer, teacher, and writer. He holds degrees from the North Carolina School of the Arts and from Southern Methodist University, studying first with Jesús Silva and then with Robert Guthrie. In 1974-75, he was a Fulbright Scholar and performer in Italy where he also studied with Sergio Notaro and Alirio Diaz. Mr. Koonce's creative output includes an authoritative guitar edition of Johann Sebastian Bach's complete solo lute works and the world-premiere recording in English of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's "Platero and I" for narrator and guitar. He has also recorded an album entitled "A Southwest Christmas" with the Phoenix Bach Choir (Soundset, SR 1005) and is featured in a live concert video with the renowned composer/guitarist, Nikita Koshkin (Mel Bay 99231VX). As a founding partner of Soundset Recordings he has helped produce other classical compact discs, including a premiere recording of works by Alan Hovhaness with the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra and the first two recordings of Nikita Koshkin. A Professor of Music, Frank Koonce has directed the guitar program at Arizona State University since 1978. He was Director of "Guitar Festival 1987" an international event jointly sponsored by the Guitar Foundation of America and the American String Teachers Association, and has since served as Chair the GFA Advisory Board. He is an active performer, with recitals to his credit in England, Korea, Macedonia, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, The Czech Republic, Austria, and throughout the United States.
Don Doyle is a nationally recognized storyteller, a professional actor, a director of theatre and opera, and a Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Arizona State University. He is the recepient of The Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (Artists and Educators Serving Young People), and has been presented with the Medallion of Merit Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. Dr. Doyle has served on the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Association. He received degrees from the Goodman School of Drama and Arizona State University, and a doctoral degree in theatre from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Doyle is on the Artists Roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.