Recordings by Guitarist Byron Paul Tomingas


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BT Matters of the Heart CD.jpg

Man La Mancha CD.jpg

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Boccherini & Vivaldi


In Concert


Man la Mancha

Winter Solstice




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Byron Paul Tomingas Recordings

CD’s Exclusively Available at Performances


An apology; I never include details about the performances with my CD’s, primarily because there isn’t enough space to say all the things about the music being presented that they deserve.  However, this web site will attempt to fill that gap and hopefully enhance your musical experience with these wonderful songs that I so adore.  Also, you won’t find these CD’s available commercially, why?  Because I want you to come to my concerts and hear my cherished Oribe guitar singing songs exclusively for you at that moment.  Wonderful moments should be collected and experienced to their fullest so indulge with me, make it an occasion and keep these CD’s as memories of a special, fleeting moment in time that will all too soon pass away.









The Book:

Don Quixote by

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


The Musical Play by

Dale Wasserman,

lyrics by Joe Darion & music by Mitch Leigh



Solo Guitar Arrangements by Byron Paul Tomingas

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Not for resale



The musical arrangements for solo classic guitar follow the emotional flow of the play very closely.  If you haven’t seen the play, make it one of the “must do’s” in your life or at least read the book and it will vastly enhance your listening experience.  This CD is Flamenco in nature




Man la Mancha Guitar Solo’s

Recorded in 2009 in Jackson Hole


A long time ago in California, I played the guitar part for the Western Stage Production of Man la Mancha musical. I really didn’t want to play the last chord on the last night of the show as I didn’t want it to end; this show is as fun to be a part of as it is to go see.


The story, by Cervantes, is one of the great milestones in literature, the play is one of the most popular theater productions, and then to top it off, it has that exciting, enchanting music by Mitch Leigh.


When I moved back home to Jackson Hole which has a very fine theater and resident Theater production troupe, I kept watching for them to advertise Man la Mancha and after a couple of years they finally did, so I jumped on doing the guitar part and we all had a wonderful time.


The Guitar part critically important to set the mood for each song with its exhilarating Flamenco rhythms and emotional melodies. However it can be done very badly by guitarists if they are focused on what other musicians will think rather than trying to get the guitar score to sparkle.  What I’m talking about is an electric guitar hates open strings and an acoustic guitar loves them.  An electric almost never plays an open string as they ring far louder and with twice the sustain and tone of notes that are held by a left hand finger.  Therefore electric guitarists are even arrogant about never playing simple chords that use open strings and Jazz guitarists are often used to playing in keys that don’t use open strings.  An acoustic guitar on the other hand is just the opposite and is at its best when it can utilize open strings to increase sustain, volume and tone.  The great classical guitarist Narciso Yepes even used a ten string (Laudarra) guitar mostly so the low open strings would help it resonate via overtones (from a conversation I had with Maestro Yepes in the 80’s) This is especially true in Flamenco to really get that “zing” into the sound of the guitar.  Now, a significant point is that the orchestration for Man la Mancha was written by a keyboard composer who wrote theater music for good sight reading Jazz players, that means a lot of Brass and Brass means a lot of Flat keys which means – no open strings on a guitar can be used, the opposite of what a Flamenco guitarist needs.  So, how do you get a Flamenco sound in this score?


A little diversion here from the topic, do you know why brass instruments prefer flat keys?  It’s so they can read the notes as if they were in good old simple C.   Before they invented valves to change the length of the pipe and therefore the pitch, they used to use different lengths of pipe called “Crooks” by pulling one curved section out and sliding a new one in place that was a different length which would change the pitch of the whole instrument. With each Crook and a change in how you blew into it, you would get 4 or 5 different easy to play notes, song’s usually need 8 notes or more. So as not to confuse the player, their music was all written as if they were playing in C whether they had the Bflat crook in or not.  When valves were invented of all the stupid things, they kept the transposed key of C being Bflat instead of C being a C. So all the other instruments that play with Brass players have to play in Bflat and Eflat more often to make it easy on the Trumpets and such.  Sounds ridiculous to me, but there are many things much worse than that in music; just ask me about the “great mistake”, the musical alphabet or missing keys on a piano sometime or the chord construction number system.  It should be said though that each key can have a mood associated with it, that has more to do with the resonance of the instrument playing it, for instance if a guitarist plays in a flat key the mood is very dark, perhaps depressing or anger brewing under the surface because the instrument doesn’t resonate with sympathetic notes, duller might be another label you could give it and that will probably bring war cries from the Jazz camp or pianists who love the mood of Bflat or even a Jazz guitarist, but remember those guitarists are using electric instruments with artificial tone enhancements but that makes open strings a disaster, too much sustain, too much resonance so electric’s avoid them.  But, acoustic instruments need open strings to enhance the tone.  That probably sounds like I’m against amplifiers, I used to play in bands through school and college and had a whole arsenal of tone bending stomp boxes, you can get a huge range of color and mood from these things and it’s an art form of its own finding a new attractive sound, I also minored in electronic music at CalArts with Morton Subotnick,(of Kurbrick’s movie “2001” soundtrack fame & many modern compositions) and I often use amplification with my acoustic depending on the situation.  I’m certainly not insulting anyone, just stating facts, there’s appropriate place for most everything and history is not always logical but that gives it personality.


There is of course a simple tool used by every respectable Flamenco guitarist called a Capo or Capistado.  It ties on the neck effectively shortening it so you can have different “open” strings even if you have to have your fingers way up on the neck, you can still hit or have a sympathetic string resonate.  However, then it appears to the guitarist, just like the transposing trumpet player, that he’s playing in a different key.  That means all the written music needs to be transposed which is a big job on a score as big and varying in detail as is la Mancha.  In any case the arrogance of many technically strong guitarists take pride in playing this score with bar chords held by the index finger rather than use a capo, plus then they don’t have to transpose all the music which is a lot of work as it is a lot of music but they lose the most important aspect, the zing of that Flamenco sound.  They might be very surprised to see me, a classical guitarist, do this score, as a Flamenco guitarist would do, I use a Capo a lot.  So, for me, a great deal of the time spent in preparing was selecting the right key for the guitar to play each song in and finding ways to get more Spanish Flamenco sound out of the score.  Additionally, as people were singing this, you had to be prepared to switch keys up or down, on a guitar, that can change everything that you had learned as it might force a completely different chord pattern sequence.  Aldonza’s main song was in particular giving me fits; I just wasn’t finding the solutions I needed to make that song ring with aggression and excitement.


There was also the issue that the composer would start each song off with a hot Flamenco type rhythmic pattern, each one slightly different from the one before so it was very easy to start the wrong rhythm which would foul everyone up.  The composer also used rare time signatures trying to get an exotic sound such at 7/8 or 5/4 or he would start with a measure of ¾ and then switch to 4/4 and then back to ¾, he would then indicate that he wanted a Rasqueado type strumming done within that framework.  I spent many nights for weeks up until 3am trying to get the starts correct and the keys sorted to the best possible solution.   The chords were written in studio orchestra style which means it was handwritten standard staff line notation for single line notes and a chord name and rhythm indications.  I had forgotten how hard this score was, it changed the accompaniment for each pass through the melody unlike most songs so you really had to read this thing or it made for a huge amount of memorizing.


The Rasqueados are another place where most theater guitarists fall down, the technique is not something you can learn overnight like a new chord, few Classical guitarist can do it, the Romeros’ can, most Jazz guitarists can’t do it but they can read music and Flamenco guitarists usually can’t read music and remember this score is intense in requiring the guitarist to read well but they have great Rasqueados.  The Rasqueado technique uses very weak muscles that have never had to work against resistance and they have to act extraordinarily quick in perfectly timed sequence plus each finger is a different length, weight, nail shape and has a different muscle arrangement, they have to travel all the way across the strings before the next one starts.  You can substitute traditional strumming but you instantly and very obviously lose that distinctive Flamenco quality.  This show and story is about Spain, people in prison, pride, honor, striving for chivalry, Gypsies, how can a guitarist live with themselves if they take the arrogant and ultimately easy way out on the sound using bar chords and regular strumming, the actors might as well not wear any period costumes.  Fortunately for me I knew several Flamenco guitarists such as Morrie Mizrahi, Phil Boroff, Peter Evans and Jesus Cortez early in my career, had seen some of the very best Flamenco guitarists in concert and learned how to do a good Rasqueado a long time ago and incorporated into my playing of many songs as it adds such a thrill to a strum.


Here’s a funny, as I mentioned, I was up until 3 am many nights before the first performance, mostly as I just could not seem to find a good solution for Aldonza.  It’s an aggressive song where she’s mad at the world for being so cruel and heartless and how Don Quixote had ruined her life by showing her kindness and making her think that there was hope which in turn had stripped all her defenses away and then she had been terribly abused.  She’s lashing out at him raging about the injustice of the world.  It’s in the worst possible guitar key and once again the guitar starts this thing.  And in the middle of the song, it changes key by a half step to add more frenzy and it was the second worst key for the guitar.  As I battled away with this song night after night without a good resolution and the show approaching, I was beside myself, it just wasn’t coming out with the quality it deserved.  Then I hit on a possible solution, but I had many such moments that couldn’t survive the entire song, and then suddenly out of all the stress and effort, suddenly my hands tore into the “Shock Relief Rag”, I had of course never played it before, in fact is had not been written before that moment and too was not even in a good guitar key, in fact it wrote itself on the spot, the hands just took over and away we went.  I often call it the Duesy Rag as it has so many car horn sounds in it I have this story line image in mind of a car aficionado transported back in time to the days of the Duesenberg automobile.  Anyway, it’s a great little Rag, and I dearly love it, I had considered including it on the album but decided against it.  I wanted to play that instead of work on Aldonza (my thoughts were that moment that Aldonza was a bitch which had a fun double meaning).  In any case, during that, I hit on the solution for Aldonza, so opening performance that’s the way I played it.  It’s scary before each song because as I say, the guitar starts most of them with a lot of aggression, and if you do dum te da, dum te dah burumm burmm instead of te da burumm te da, you would destroy the performance.   There is so much that has been learned more than one way like Aldonza so remembering which one in what key was it that solved the problem?  Lots of tension and you REALLY have to concentrate.  So, my solution for Aldonza worked and in fact worked very well, I played it that way for the next three performances and then on the fourth performance, I realized, that’s the same exact solution I came up with all those years before when I had done this in California but I had forgotten the solution.  I wrote it down this time.







The show broke attendance records and had an incredible set that was stunning, Aldonza (Katy Deal) and Sancho (Chris Wright) were outstanding in every regard.  It was also great having a conductor (Michael Tilley) (the 3 handed music director, see picture) who trusted me to get the best sound out of the guitar parts and made the solo’s possible.  0205101916.jpg

My view in the Orchestra Pit after the first song, I was on stage in costume for the opening Flamenco dance trying to protect my precious Oribe Flamenco guitar from all those degenerate prisoners and then dashed away when the guards came to haul some poor hapless soul to the inquisition or gallows.




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The opening sequence starts with a Flamenco solo as the curtain rose, then Emmy started a Flamenco dance later joined by the terrific singer Ben Medina (to the right of me in this picture, on the far right is Aldonza played with such perfection (as she did with Patsy Cline in another production) by Katie Deal,




Here are some photos of Emmy DeGrappa our wonderful Flamenco dancer:





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Curtain Opening Flamenco Dance


I Man la Mancha






I’m only thinking of him


What does he want of me


Little Bird

Little Bird Jokers


To each his Dulcinea


Aldonza Underscore


Dulcinea Reprise


The Impossible Dream


Exit Music recap










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Now, (finally!) about this recording I’ve made; I don’t disengage well from anything I like and I loved doing Man la Mancha as you can probably tell, there was a lot of emotion and effort poured into it.  I had already done several arrangements of the songs for solo guitar for the theater production like Aldonza’s Reprise where Don Quixote is dying and she’s singing to him, and a solo version of “The Impossible Dream” while Don Quixote’s is talking to himself preparing to become a Knight.  So it was inevitable I would start doing the rest of the songs in the months following the end of the production.  That summer for my annual Birthday Concert I played the entire set and made it the Man La Mancha Solo’s CD release party, introducing each song with a synopsis of what was happening in the play.  I’m particularly happy with how closely the arrangements follow the play and keeps the Flamenco feel, humor at the right time, sleazy sections for the introduction of the “been there, done that, seen everything rotten that a man can be” Aldonza who is seen by Don Quixote as the pure and innocent Dulcinea.  The chatter sections where Don Quixote’s family is plotting to throw him in a nut house to avoid being embarrassed and they are singing “I’m only thinking of him, I’m only thinking of him”.  If you know the play or the Cervantes book well, then you will get a lot more from this recording.  My whole purpose was to convey the mood as it flowed through this, one of the greatest musicals of all time and one of the most significant books in literature.


Byron 26.June.2011 Jackson Hole, WY


Curtain Opening Flamenco Dance

This was written to be highly improvisational so it will sound quite different with whoever plays it.  Usually this score has two guitars so I adapted little fill runs in between the chordal passages.  I didn’t know we were going to have a dancer and singer with it until a couple of days before and they had been practicing with a recording of one of the famous stage productions so suddenly I had to formalize it so we could play in sync, that was painful to do at the last moment.  We got one private rehearsal and then the Dress Rehearsal with cast and crew, then the show.  The dress rehearsal I was way out of sync with the dancer but for the show it came together although I played a mild version, not so many Flamenco flare runs as compared to the last show.


CD Graphic Design by Tomingas

Rosetta and Guitar by Jose Oribe

Photo of Byron by Oribe

Photos of Byron in the theater production by Persis Anne Tomingas (daughter)




1)   Ma Vlast

2)   Ode to Beethoven

3)   Boo’s Requiem

4)   Oribe Fandango

5)   Tanza  Bizzare

6)   Bad Boy

7)   Minor Gallop

8)   Elements Suite

a)   Accordance

b)   April Depth

c)    Color & Spin

9)   Dark Eyes


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Recorded live at the wonderful National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole February 2007 on blizzard day that had roads closed but still they came and we all had a good time.  Each song has its own story, click to hear an excerpt while reading  about the song:



Live in Concert


Ma Vlast, sort of; when a new idea shows up unannounced as it often does, you don’t know if it’s a memory or an original thought, all songs are similar to existing songs or they would sound atrocious to your ears, there are blends of notes that convey a mood and then a little something comes in to sway your sense of balance so you go a new direction, that in turn leads you elsewhere until finally after a marvelous musical journey you return to home.  How you blend the pathways and covey the mood shifts is the magic.  The better art works do a similar thing with your eye, taking it on a journey of light and shadow.  When composing, you try to follow what feels like the logical path that it wants to go and indeed sometimes it reminds you of something and let it develop, but it might be years before you run across a similar idea that came from someone else.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter, other times you will consider it to be a variation or fantasy on a theme by someone else. That’s the case with this melody however my version is very different rhythmically and mood wise, so what to do?   I added more elements from Smetana’s work which was based on folk themes and kept my main them intact considering it to be a throwback to the originals and a fantasy on Ma Vlast.


Smetana wrote his defining work called Ma Vlast for symphonic orchestra, a story about a storm in the mountainous peaks, and then taking a walk up into the mountains as the storm broke but still threatened.  The sweeping beauty of that walk is emotionally conveyed through music, you can hear the wind rising and falling, nearly taste the beauty of the fresh air, every so light and delicate rays of brilliance on wet stones and fresh flowers.




Graphic Design by Tomingas






1.    Bésame  Mucho

2.    Ma Vlast

3.    Shostakovich Romance

4.    Spanish Romance

5.    Today



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Matters of the Heart

Recorded in 2008 in Jackson Hole.

A collection of my favorite songs of passion and heartbreak.  The artwork is of two Nebula’s that became so attracted to one another that they are tearing each other apart and merging into one entity.  Not that unlike the tides of emotion that enraptures us when our hearts have been captured.

There have been three different editions of this album with slight changes in the song selections.  I am often asked to play for a wedding and I like weddings, it’s a happy time with the future glowing.  So I sometimes make slight alterations when a particular song has been requested.  I now have a Wedding CD and won’t be modifying this album anymore unless it’s to balance the engineering on it.

It probably goes without saying but I never learn a song as a filler, each song has come to me out of the blue and wanted to be played.   I don’t always go back and examine the original, sometimes I haven’t heard the song in decades and so I play how it wants to be played.  I spent years doing note perfect transcriptions of works to play on classical guitar and that has its own rewards but most of these simply appeared on my instrument without any bidding.



Graphic Design by Tomingas

Rosetta by Jose Oribe

Photo of Byron by Oribe





Holiday music for Christmas. This album is dedicated to my mother Hallowese (Hailie) who taught me to love Christmas and she always made certain that it was a special moment.

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About the Cover Art


That’s me and Bobo standing in the background, there was also a Ukulele just off to the upper left of the picture and a set of Bongo drums which I still have. 




Seasons Salutations

Recorded in 2010 in Jackson Hole


I was raised in a very small town with very big winters, I always joke that I was born sometime during the last great Ice Age because I as I recall, the winters were more significant back then!


Last winter, I had the great pleasure of walking through the attic of my memories, and they go all the way back to age one, for the Historical Society of Jackson Hole at their Olde Tyme Christmas event.  I made a DVD of it for family and friends.  I spoke about winters and some of the Christmas’s I had spent here as a little boy.



Graphic Design by Tomingas


Chamber Music by

Vivaldi & Boccherini

Recorded in 2011 in Jackson Hole


 Vivaldi Concerto in D Major for Guitar & Strings

Boccherini Fandango Quintet for Guitar & String Quartet


About the cover art; the Rosetta (the ornamental design encompassing the round hole of a classic guitar, this one is by Jose Oribe and is on my beloved Flamenco instrument, the “Oribe Fandango” was written for this guitar and the many magical moments we shared together.  Rosetta’s are made of very tiny squares of colored wood, up in the range of 20,000 squares, are assembled together to create a pattern through one of the many magical techniques of the Luthier.


Boccherini & Vivaldi


To do honor to the era of music that I was playing, I inserted a Rose from the Stradivari Guitar (yes, there are two complete instruments still existing and one fragment) This one is at the Macon Georgia Guitar Museum.  Often there were professional Rose cutters that sold them to Harpsichord and Lute makers and likely this is the case here rather than Stradivari carving the design, but maybe not….  You might notice that the strings are double coursed in the Stradivari as was the tradition in that time period and also that there are only FIVE courses instead of six.  The high E string was added later and about the same time they went to the new method of tuning that is such a disaster in other ways, they wanted to add that higher top string but the tuning used to be entirely across the fifth fret, but it made basic chords difficult with six strings.  Somebody came upon the idea that if you tune the 2nd highest string at the fourth fret, chords were easier to play.  But that also created a whole series of problems in scale pattern consistency.









































Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)





Antonio Vivaldi,  (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741)

Known as the Red Headed Monk (il Prete Rosso) also known for stopping in the middle of a sermon when a musical idea came to him, running into a back room and jotting it down, which was of course frowned on by his church however he maintained that it was ailments that kept him from standing so long during the sermon that made him retire to sit down and he just jotted a few notes while recovering.  He was extremely prolific turning out many works on a consistent basis as part of his duties teaching at an all girls school.  He once prided himself on how long he had taught there and “Never a scandal” however if you read the book “Vivaldi’s Virgins” you might find the rest of the story. He would organize concerts and his students would present the latest Vivaldi composition.


Concerto for Lute & Strings adapted for guitar by Emilio Pujol and further enhanced by B. P. Tomingas, primarily dropping the low E to a D and adding chordal strums during the Finale’s tutti.



Vivaldi as only he can sound, exciting exuberant and full of clever ideas.  I have played this work many times with many ensembles of various sizes and it’s always been a joy.  However, this is the first time I’ve used the alternative tuning for the low E string and brought it down to a D.  I’ve always thought that would be logical as this work is in D and it would give extra clout to the guitar in fulfilling in its part in the ensemble.



We played this as the old fashioned type of Largo popular when Vivaldi was alive which was very slow and dreamy.  That approach requires some problem solving for the Guitarist as long sustained notes are next to impossible on a percussive instrument, we hit the string and it begins to fade immediately and rapidly.  As I had recently completed two arrangements of long sustained note songs and found new ways to extend the legato feel, so I had several new ideas on how to approach this movement.






Luigi Boccherini (Lucca, Italy, February 19, 1743 – Madrid, Spain, May 28, 1805) 


Italian born, a virtuoso cellist, trained in the royal courts of Rome but he moved to Spain and spent the majority of his career there.  He was noted for being able to play violin parts on his cello in the correct violin registers through the use of string harmonics.  Indeed, he was acclaimed for raising the level of the cello in ensemble works as he wrote demanding parts for them.  While his musical basis is very classical he seemed to enjoy bringing Spanish folk and Gypsy elements into his music.  An amateur guitarist commissioned a series of Quintets for strings and guitar which gave Boccherini the opportunity to show off the cello playing Flamenco guitar sounding techniques as well as being able to add a percussive instrument (the guitar) into his music and contrasting the cello and guitar.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely he ever got to hear this work or any of the others performed or at least no record of such a performance has ever been found.


Boccherini expressed doubt that this work should be played outside of Spain as he was afraid it would be played too “classically” and reserved.  While it certainly contains stately passages, it all leads up to a Fandango so there are hints scatter throughout that things are going to get exuberant later.  Unlike the Vivaldi which can be played missing either the guitar or one of the violins and still sound complete, the Boccherini absolutely relies on every instrument participating to make the music flow.  In addition, this work is about twenty minutes long where the Vivaldi is half that.


When I started work on this, I went back to a very old original edition by Heinrick Albert who is credited as “re-discovering” the Quintets for Guitar.  As Boccherini had predicted the common editions used and performances today are very “classical” in that they are very reserved. Guitarists are living with the legacy of the great guitarist Segovia who became exceedingly conservative in his tastes as his fame rose and considered Flamenco to be a plague on the land and that his (Segovia’s) way was the only way which is perfectly understandable.  Segovia took the equivalent of a bar room instrument into the concert halls of the classical world, so very radical but he compensated by developing highly conservative musical tastes and a domineering attitude.  As he is one of the few to ever become a household name and every guitarist followed doctrine closely, even programming their concerts exactly with the repertoire that Segovia used. I approached the Fandango as it is in Spain, with wild abandon, I rather doubt Segovia would approve but I would like to think that Boccherini would.


Allegro Maestoso

Stately and majestic but with small hints of Flamenco in little scales runs and guitar chords used for emphasis.



A lovely work using the guitar with strings in wonderful blends


Grave Assai & Fandango

A slow introduction with the guitar and violin  trading parts.  Then the fireworks begin with the Fandango.  The cello is given many opportunities to evoke the mood of the Spanish dance.  The guitar gradually moves closer and closer to wild abandon.  The solo section for guitar is using Boccherini’s notes as the basis for register however I included as much of the Flamenco mood as I could through that section which is setting up the work to it’s exciting conclusion.








Graphic Design by Tomingas

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)