'Jonel Boljanac' born 9/15/1969 Vladimirovac, Vojvodina (Serbia) is a neo-classical virtuoso guitarist, known as the only guitarist in the world publicly displaying multi-octave 'No Sweep Arpeggios with alternate picking' at high speeds with plectrum and is composer and performer of the fastest electric guitar composition 'The Phoenix Opus' recorded in 2002, the piece is all alternate picked with no hammer-on or pull-offs (economy picking), Tempo is Presto 200 beats per minute Time signature 8/64, Average speed is 20 notes per second, at highest and fastest point during the solo reaches 26.5 notes per second & scans 4 octaves. Founder of the band Lightning Tree 1996-2000. Inventor of 'Baroque Guitar Tuning' (A=421Hz, G C F A# D G).
Jonel moved to the United States at age 3 with mother Elena, grandmother Marija & grandfather Petar. Lived in Chicago, Illinois then moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1978. Received his first guitar at the age of 7 from his uncle Djura who brought over an acoustic guitar to occupy him while waiting for his mother to return from Italy. As a child was mainly influenced by Romanian and Yugoslavian folk music parents would play around the house, and also music on TV: Elvis, Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk. After seeing the movie Star Wars listened to the soundtrack by John Williams every night for over a year. Obsessed with guitar began playing 8-12 hours a day in his teens and analysed in extreme detail every technique of electric guitar especially focused on speed. Early rock music influences from ages 10-13 were Angus Young of AC/DC, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Alex Lifeson of Rush. Mid teenage main influences from ages 13-16 were Al Dimeola, John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen, Akira Takasaki along with the classical music of Bach, Chopin, Lizst, Beethovan, Rachmaninov and Vivaldi. Listening to piano and harpsichord focused Jonel on playing linear high speed scales and developing all alternate picked arpeggios to sound even in attack and timbre with mastery achieved by age 17. Instead of learning only songs or solos from his influences he focused more on their styles and strong points or unique forms of expression and was focused mainly on original compositions mostly of a virtuosic nature. Because of the focus on original instrumental music Jonel turned down many offers to play in local bands. His first serious live performance was with the band Playmate at the Sahara Club with a crowd of over 500 people at the age of 17, after several months he left due to creative differences. Over the years played with a variety of projects and bands but there was always difficulty finding and maintaining musicians in the Cleveland area with proper skills and interest to work on original music and instrumentals. This lead to release his own symphonic studio demo with the help of keyboardist Tim Bradford at Harvest recording studios in 1991.
Elena legaly added his grandfather's last name Mandres to his, there are recordings with both Jonel Boljanac and Jonel Boljanac-Mandres is used, today mainly goes by Boljanac. Although born in the former Yugoslavia the family is Vlach/Romanian. Other musical interests include compositions for Pipa and Liuqin (Chinese Lutes). Influenced by a variety of music but with a natural affinity towards instrumentals and classical music and open to experiment has allowed an eclectic body of music established that is multi-genre and crosses borders, also has recordings with written lyrics and vocals.
Formal lessons started in a guitar class at Cranwood elementary school, of which the class performed together in a talent show. Lessons were taken from staff and customers of West Park music, a music store in the Kham's corner area of Cleveland. Through the store he met Gary Rice a local composer and music instructor who works with local schools and gave him private guitar lessons. At the suggestion of West Park music he began to study with the late jazz virtuoso Ralph Russo at Russo Guitar Conservatory. Also studied with classical guitarist Tom Olson at Baldwin-Wallace college.
In the early 90s considered becoming an orthodox priest because of an interest in religion, mythology and the Bible since early childhood. His family were religious with a strong basic belief in God, but not fanatical. After realizing differences with common dogmatic institutional religions and biblical interpretations became ordained by a non-denominational church and received Doctorate in 2002. Endorser of the Chronology of Anatoly Fomenko of Moscow University and the Mathematics of Peter Plitchta of Deutchland. Vegetarian since 1998 and supporter of numerous animal rights organizations including PETA. Also practitioner of Alternative Medicine and Naturopathy since 1987.
Recordings Lightning Tree - Volume 1, released 2000. Lightning Tree - Time Helix, released 2000. Jonel - Enlightning, released 2003. Also has remixed a variety of songs from other commercial artists and added heavy guitar rhythms and virtuosic solos, videos and recordings are online. Music is available on itunes, cdbaby and Snocap.
Instructional Video: Virtuoso Electric Guitar Technique, released 2003. Only instructional that shows how to do no sweep all alternate picked arpeggios as well as other techniques for guitar virtuosity.
websites: http://www.myspace.com/jonelboljanac http://www.youtube.com/user/asherasatorSource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonel_Boljanac