"When I was really young, like 5 years old, I wanted to play the guitar. For no apparent reason, I just loved the idea of the guitar and wanted to play," said Fletcher, who has released six CDs on the Tower Hill and Centaur labels and will provide a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in April. "So when I was in first grade my mother got me a baritone ukulele, which for a kid that kind of feels like a full-size guitar. ... So I would strum chords and sing. I thought that's what it was all about, just strumming chords and singing. I loved it.
"But when I was in third grade, my mother got me a full-size guitar, a classical guitar. And my teacher John Sutherland, who still teaches at the University of Georgia, told me when I was in third grade if I started with the classical style then other styles would come easier. So classical would give me a base, kind of a starting point. So I started with classical and loved it. I just fell in love with it and stayed with it and never really wanted to play other styles."
Included in the classical guitarist's upcoming concert tour will be a performance at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 850 Douthit Ferry Road in Cartersville. To be held on July 23 at 7 p.m., the presentation will be free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
"I grew up in Atlanta," said Fletcher, who now resides in New York City. "And it just so happened in 1986 when I was in [high school], The Etowah [Creative] Arts Council booked me to give a concert [in Cartersville] as part of a 'Fandango' that they had. And this 'Fandango' was to kind of showcase Latin American art and dance. So I gave a 30-minute recital, which contained Spanish music and South American music.
"I'm very excited," he said about the opportunity to return to Cartersville. "It's a charming town. I have a lot of fond memories because of the performance I gave when I was in high school. The church that I'm performing at has beautiful acoustics. I tour a circuit that's nationwide. It's all [the] 48 [contiguous] states and I give, I think, about 120 concerts a year. And it's a circuit that includes guest performing for guest art series and performing arts centers and arts councils, libraries but also a number of churches. And there's a lot of churches that have well-established concert series that have been going on for decades and usually churches have very good acoustics. They normally have a lot of hard surfaces and it's good for classical guitar because a little bit more reverb gives the guitar a little bit more body."
Fletcher's upcoming concert will offer a combination of standard classical guitar pieces, new music from composers and transcriptions from other instruments, such as the piano. Some of his repertoire will include J. S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" from Cantata No. 147 and "Chaconne in D minor," two pieces from Maurice Ravel's "Mother Goose Suite," Francisco Tarrega's "Recuerdos de la Alhambra," "Koyunbaba" by composer/guitarist Carlo Domeniconi and selections from Spanish composer Joaquin Turina. The second half of his program will feature selections he has transcribed from pianist Edvard Grieg, which will be released on a CD by Centaur Records in 2013.
"I've known Peter since he was a seventh-grader," said the Rev. Daniel Stack of St. Francis of Assisi Church. "I was his religion teacher at Christ the King School in Atlanta ... and I've [sort of kept in] touch with him over time.
"But I frankly can't remember how we arrived that he was going to be in the area and would be visiting his parents as well. So we talked about the possibility of him coming here and doing something here. ... [To see him have a] career in professional music, it's wonderful. It's the best."
For more information about the Cartersville concert, individuals need to contact St. Francis of Assisi Church at 770-382-4549.