Peter Fletcher wants to expand the audience for classical guitar.
That's why Fletcher performs everywhere from concert halls to places like the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, where he will play a free concert on Tuesday.
"A lot of people who don't know a lot about classical guitar at all will come, and it's a good way for me, in a small way, to widen the audience," Fletcher said during a telephone interview from Topeka, Kan. "There are three types of listeners - the type who loves classical guitar, the classical music lover who doesn't like classical guitar and the type who loves music but doesn't know anything abut classical guitar. The third group is what I'm most interested in."
Fletcher's interest in classical guitar started when he was a child. He began taking lessons at age 7, took a week-long master class with Andres Segovia's teaching assistant before he was a teenager and made his formal debut at age 15.
Since earning his master's degree in music from the Eastman School of Music in 1995, he has played prestigious venues nationwide. He made his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2007, where he has performed several times since and will return in 2015.
His current tour is in support of "Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)" (Centaur Records), which features Fletcher playing his transcriptions for classical guitar of Grieg's piano music. It is Fletcher's third album devoted to transcriptions of a composers' work, following recordings of music by Federico Mompou and Erik Satie.
Grieg's music was well-suited to interpretation on the classical guitar, he said.
"These all feel like really good guitar pieces," Fletcher said. "These work better than other pieces I have that were written (specifically) for the guitar."
Transcribing classical music for guitar can be a challenge, Fletcher said. At this point, he usually has a good feel early on for whether a classical work will lend itself to being transcribed for guitar after listening to it and looking at the original music, but there still are occasions where he won't make that realization until after he's attempted a transcription.
"Sometimes you realize, this is not meant to be played on guitar," he said.
In addition to selections from the Grieg album, Tuesday's concert will include the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts," transcribed by John and B.J. Sutherland; works by Niccolo Paganini, Michael Praetorius and Isaac Albeniz; and several transcriptions of Johann Sebastian Bach, including "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," originally transcribed by Rick Foster for Christopher Parkening.
"Sometimes a transcription is so good everyone plays it," Fletcher said of Foster's "Jesu."