Guitar player Mak Grgic and cello player John Sant'Ambrogio will put on a Duel of the Strings on Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

Courtesy photo

Guitar player Mak Grgic and cello player John Sant'Ambrogio will put on a Duel of the Strings on Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

Steamboat's Chief Theater to host Duel of the Strings

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Past Event

Duel of the Strings II: Featuring Mak Grgic and John Sant'Ambrogio

  • Friday, April 4, 2014, 7 p.m.
  • Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $5 - $20

More

Past Event

Duel of the Strings II: Featuring Mak Grgic and John Sant'Ambrogio

  • Saturday, April 5, 2014, 7 p.m.
  • Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $5 - $20

More

— John Sant’Ambrogio and Mak Grgic sat inside the Chief Theater on Thursday tuning their respective instruments.

photo

Courtesy photo

Guitar player Mak Grgic and cello player John Sant'Ambrogio will put on a Duel of the Strings on Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

photo

Ken Lee/courtesy

Cello player John Sant'Ambrogio along with guitar player Mak Grgic will put on a Duel of the Strings on Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

It was a music lesson in itself.

Sant’Ambrogio began on his cello. One note led to another while Grgic sat and listened intently with his guitar.

Eventually, Grgic broke out a nail file to manicure his nails.

“I bet you’ve never seen a man do this,” he said.

Then they started, and there was hope in the empty theater that it wouldn’t end.

The cello and the guitar play off each other in a unique way, a couple of close brothers ganging on the younger sibling.

“It’s an incredible combination,” Sant’Ambrogio said.

The two will debut Sant’Ambrogio’s new venture, The Friends and Family Concert Series, this weekend.

Duel of the Strings with Sant’Ambrogio and Grgic will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

Tickets are $20 for adults or $5 for students. They are available by visiting www.chieftheater.com or at the door if available.

“The mentor-mentee relationship provides a lot of positive learning experience,” Grgic said. “Of course, it’s just plain fun.”

The partnership took shape three years ago at a festival in Lancaster, Ohio. Grgic was playing a solo show outdoors, and Sant’Ambrogio was taken aback by the young man's talent.

He approached him, and they talked about doing a show.

Grgic eventually ended up out in California, where Sant’Ambrogio was, and the two connected for several shows.

In total, they have done seven together.

“He’s an incredible artist and guitar player,” Sant’Ambrogio said. “He’s probably one of the best in the world.”

Grgic grew up in Slovenia and started playing guitar at age 11. He initially didn’t want to play the guitar, but his father’s wisdom took over.

“Dad just said the guitar is cool,” Grgic said.

Grgic is getting his doctorate in music from the University of Southern California. He said he likes the guitar, but in the classical community, the guitar usually is just a soloist.

One of the unique aspects of the performance is that the duo play the Vivaldi sonatas together. The part of the guitar usually is done on a harp, but Grgic’s incredible ability along with Sant’Ambrogio’s strong cello sound make the sonatas really pop.

“It really should be for everybody,” said Sant’Ambrogio, who is planning the second part of the series in May. “I think everybody will find something in it they like.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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