The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

May 10, 2013

OU guitar professor performs at Norman Depot

NORMAN — University of Oklahoma guitar professor Larry Hammett is performing from his new solo record with trio accompaniment at Norman Depot May 12

For Larry Hammett variety is the spice of life.

Though the University of Oklahoma guitar professor is recognized as an expert in classical and jazz guitar, he doesn’t limit himself to those spheres of sound. Hammett is sharing his music during a concert 7:30 p.m. May 12 at the Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave.

“It’s satisfying that I can play a concerto with the orchestra, blues in a club with the boys, lute for some opera singers or guitar with my daughter’s country band,” he said. “It’s the ability to not be stuck in a genre and that gives me a great deal of pleasure.”

Hammett’s fondness for exploring music has naturally lead him outside strictly academic circles. Norman has fine concert halls like OU’s Catlett Music Center, and then just a walking distance away, The Deli is a watering hole where punk rock, crustabilly or hayseed twang is played every night of the year.

“There’s a healthy relationship between the university and those not directly associated with it,” Hammett said. “Dr. Richard Zielinski, OU’s director of choral activities, has created a partnership with the Norman community and puts on these huge presentations at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts.”

That’s the classical side but Hammett’s not exclusively high-brow when it comes to playing music and making a buck.

“I encourage my students to play with guys on the street,” he said. “I hook them up together if I see that they’re like-minded people. Also, we bring local musicians such as Jahruba in for events such as the Masala World Music Series.”

He cited OU jazz professor Jay Wilkinson as being the sparkplug for inviting Ivan Peña, whose ensemble played last year’s Jazz in June, to an upcoming university showcase.

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