Philip Rosheger by Ben Bolt
When I first met Phil was in Alicante in Dec. 1971. I had tried to get lessons with José Tomás from Miami. I wrote him, he didn’t write me back. I bumped into Segovia at the American Embassy, while he was getting his visa together to tour the states. I was invited to Concha Espina #61. This was Segovia’s condo in Madrid. Later I found out, it’s where Phil took numerous lessons with “El Viejo” the old man.
Segovia seemed curious about me, and so he helped me. “Why aren’t you studying with José Tomás?” I told him I tried, I wrote him, and he didn’t write me back. “You tell him I said to take you”. Being from a big city (Miami) I replied, “How will he know I’m telling the truth?” Segovia was something folks, “you tell him I said, he will take you”.
The reason I mention this moment, is because of the best thing that came from my meeting with “El Viejo” was not Tomás, but Rosheger.
Even though I didn’t study with Phil professionally, he’s the one that helped shape my sound to what it is today. Phil was the first classical guitarist I knew in Spain that had a fan club. Students that were studying with teachers like Tomás, Segovia, and Rodrigo were held spellbound. When you listened to him play, it had an emotional intensity I remember to this day. These are the three most memorable memories of my friend, Phil.
The Segovia concert in Alicante:
I had never seen Segovia play. Tomás had a drawing for front row tickets and Phil won, I lost (back row). My buddy knew I was disappointed so he offered his ticket to me. He gave me his ticket for mine, without hesitation. Then he proceeded to tell me “sometimes you can build things up in your mind, and when you finally get to be there, it’s not what you thought”. I was eighteen at the time, he was twenty two. I still didn’t know about his lessons with the old man yet. I learned a lot that night, but not from the one who gave the concert.
Phil wining the 1972 Santiago competition:
Phil invited me to stay with his family outside of Madrid the week before Santiago.
I got to see him practice countless hours, drink the best Spanish wine, and break bread with his family. We took the train from Madrid to Santiago. On the train we met several of his old friends from all over the world. At the end of the class came the contest. He played perfect! He was on, and everybody knew it. He won! I got to go to Madrid to watch him pick out his prize, a 1972 Ramirez concert guitar. Just the two of us were there. These moments are my best memories with Phil.
The Segovia Master Class in Madrid 1973:
It was at this time I learned who Phil was in the Segovia pyramid. Very high he was. After he played, Segovia clearly remembered him from past lessons. He gave him a full scholarship, etc. But the thing I remember the most, was the old man’s face completely dropped in awe as Phil’s vibrato filled the room! God what a sound he had that day!
Now, enter Rosheger the composer. “I wish my friend all the best as he explores this final frontier of his imagination, which has no limits.”