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Australian guitar duo serenading Aspen

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Miles Johnston and Ziggy Johnston
Classical guitarists Miles Johnston, left, and his brother Ziggy play in sync.

Miles and Ziggy Johnston are brothers, and exceptional classical guitarists, too.

They come from a long line of great Australian guitarists.

John Williams — not to be confused with the film icon of the same name — is Australian.

The brothers Johnston are studying this summer with Sharon Isbin at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Their given names are Miles and Ziggy, and no, Ziggy, is not a nickname.

It actually says Ziggy on his birth certificate, credit for which goes to their parents and, in part, that David Bowie song.

“They were, I guess, hipsters in a way," Ziggy said.

The Johnstons’ parents are avid amateur musicians.

And they are the ones who launched their sons into the world of classical music.

Knowing each other well and spending a lot of time rehearsing have helped Miles and Ziggy in their give and take while performing together.

They had brought their guitars to the interview, so I challenged them to change tempos suddenly to see how well they could follow each other on the Beatles' "The Fool on the Hill."

They squabbled like true brothers after the first unsuccessful take, but then did a beautiful rendition of the pop classic complete with major tempo shifts a minute later.

They often include Australian composers on their programs.

The Johnstons, who are studying guitar this summer with Sharon Isbin at the Aspen festival, will perform various recitals in Aspen throughout this month.

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Classical music reporter Chris Mohr has loved classical music since he was twelve. “And I owe it all to radio,” Chris explains. “I grew up in a farm town east of Cleveland. One day I turned on the local classical radio station. They were playing Vivaldi, and it was like the gates of heaven opened up to me!" Chris is also a composer, and is working on a 53-note-to-the-octave oratorio, "Melodies of the Shoreless Sea." This is his ninth summer working for Aspen Public Radio.