The Commander-In-Chief Discusses Zigeunerweisen Guitar Duel and Gear

CommanderMany guitar fans know about the Commander-In-Chief from the amazing guitar duel she recorded with Thomas Valeur.

The video, which was featured earlier this month on, has since gone viral in guitar circles. It came in at No. 4 on our list of the Top 10 Viral Guitar Videos of 2013.

The duo met last summer at a music festival and decided to collaborate on Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen Op. 20, an extremely challenging piece of music, particularly because it was written for violin and orchestra.

The Commander-In-Chief is also a classically trained opera singer and has harnessed her guitar skills in master classes with Steve Smyth (Testament, Nevermore). She also worked with producer Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Hellyeah, Damageplan) on her debut EP, Evolution.

I recently spoke with her about the physical and mental preparation it took to create the guitar duel. We also discussed her gear, influences and more.

GUITAR WORLD: How did you and Thomas Valeur connect, and what inspired you to take on such a challenging piece of music?

We met at the Bergen International Festival in Norway, where we shared the stage. Thomas first thought we would cover something more mainstream, but I wanted to play something classical and step into a different world for a change. I grew up listening to Itzhak Perlman’s violin recordings and the “Zigeunerweisen” was always a favorite. I normally don’t play other people’s music, but it was very motivating to work on something this challenging.

You can read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
The Commander-in-Chief by Clicking Here

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