Robert Fripp, the vanguard guitarist who founded King Crimson and collaborated with such artists as David Bowie, Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel, will present a unique concept/concert Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at George Washington University's Marvin Center.
The League of Crafty Guitarists, an ensemble of 18 acoustic players enlisted from Fripp's ongoing guitar seminars at Claymont Court in West Virginia, will perform in the Colonial Ballroom, encircling the audience. Because of the logistics, only 250 people will be able to attend each concert.
Fripp is full of surprises, and this will certainly be one for his students. "They don't know they're giving the concert," he says brightly. "They won't know until a day or two before."
They may suspect, though, since by Saturday, they will have had two other challenges: performing live on a nationally syndicated radio show for NPR ("they'll have 24 hours to write an evening's music, rehearse it and play it") and recording an album on Monday with a 24-track mobile truck ("they will probably learn that on Monday morning").
Fripp's teaching techniques are as eclectic as his playing. "We suggest that at a certain point, music and the musician are not enough; to develop their relationship with music, we have to introduce a third element, or quality, and that is the audience. And in this presentation the audience has every bit as valuable a role to play as the music and the musicians. Still, it's not often in teaching situations that students are given an opportunity to perform in a real context, not just for parents politely applauding. There's nothing like exposure to public ridicule to galvanize their attention."
The concerts, at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, promise to offer something for rock/new age/guitar music fans, and Fripp says that with "significant risk and in the room that that allows, something remarkable might happen."