IN-SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES & GUEST ARTISTS. Pillar 3 of Lead Guitar’s model is to inspire students through up-close connections to global artists right in their own schools. We believe, and have seen, that children recognize excellence and beauty when they hear it — and a guest artist visit right at their school shows them their music-learning is seen and valued. We’re also excited to connect students to artists that are truly passionate about education and believe that music is an important gateway to self-actualization for every young learner.
We are proud to partner with other non-profit organizations and arts presenters — like the Guitar Foundation of America, Tucson Guitar Society, Phoenix Guitar Society, and The University of Arizona — to contract touring artists as they perform concerts near our partner schools. Recent Concert Artists have included the Brasil Guitar Duo, the Beijing Guitar Duo, European Guitar Quartet, Raphaël Feuillâtre, Leon Atkinson, Iliana Matos, Bokyung Byun, Alex DeGrassi, and Grammy-winner Andrew York.
Lead Guitar would like to thank all of the guest artists over the years for your engagement with young Lead Guitar students and passion for outreach.
Molly Miller (Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas)
Zach Filkins (One Republic)
Sergio Vallín (Maná)
Bejing Guitar Duo
Alex de Grassi and Andrew York
Richter - Uzur Duo
Freddy Vazquez/George Ramirez Duo
Carlos Rafael Rivera
Emmy-winner Carlos Rafael Rivera is the composer of the music for the Netflix series’ The Queen’s Gambit and Godless. A protégé of RANDY NEWMAN, he earned a DMA in Composition at USC’s Thornton School, where he studied with Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke. As a guitarist, he has performed onstage as opening act for The Who at the Hollywood Bowl; recorded studio sessions for Island/Def Jam, and Universal Records; and had songs featured on NETFLIX’ FIREFLY LANE, ABC’s SCRUBS, MTV, and VH-1.
His music has been acclaimed by the Miami Herald, the San Francisco Examiner, and the LA Times, helping establish him as a composer with the unique ability to incorporate a large diversity of musical influences into his captivating compositions, which reflect his multi-cultural upbringing in Central America and the United States.
Zach Filkins- OneRepublic
American musician. He is a guitarist for the pop-rock band OneRepublic. A significant part of Filkins's childhood was spent intensely studying classical guitar in Barcelona, Spain. Filkins attended Colorado Springs Christian High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he played for the school soccer team. It was at the high school that he met future bandmate Ryan Tedder during their senior year. During a drive home, Filkins and Tedder were discussing their favorite musicians and decided to form a band. They began performing in a group called 'This Beautiful Mess' with a few of their friends, playing small gigs attended by friends and family. After the end of their senior year, Tedder and Filkins parted ways, each attending different colleges.
Filkins plays guitar and sings background vocals for the band. In addition to guitar and background vocals, he also aids friend and co-founder, Ryan Tedder, in writing and composing music for the band. Filkins shares writing and composing credits on the songs "All Fall Down", "Prodigal", "Say (All I Need)", "Sleep", "Something's Not Right Here", "Stop and Stare", "Tyrant" and "Won't Stop".
Arriving in Aguascalientes, he had his first contact with music when he became part of a local student musical arrangement. At the age of ten, he began to feel attracted to bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors. At thirteen, he received his first salary as a musician, when he began to give private guitar lessons to other young kids in his same age group. He formed the band "Wando" with his siblings Rocío and Fernando Vallín, and Emilio. "Wando" won first place in the contest "Valores Juveniles Bacardí" in 1993 in the group category with "Puedo gritarlo frente a ti". (Ana Bárbara won first prize in the singles category in the same contest).
During a Luis Miguel concert, Sergio met guitarist Kiko Cibrián, to whom he gave a copy of his guitar demo. The demo passed from person to person until it reached Fher Olvera, Maná vocalist, who was looking for a guitarist for the band after the departure of Ulises Calleros and César "Vampiro" López. Olvera was greatly impressed with Vallín's style and asked him to audition. Fher was very pleased with Sergio's audition, telling Sergio: "eres un bombon asesino", meaning "he's really good". Vallín was chosen after trying out more than eighty guitarists and since 1994 has formed part of Maná.
Molly Miller- Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas
She’s one of Los Angeles’s most sought-after musicians, recording and touring with artists such as Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, Donna Missal, and Morgxn, at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall, Coachella, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. In her feature in the renowned magazine, Guitar, Michael James Adam notes, “she slings the guitar like a wordsmith, wry and sarcastic with a playful slant and flows from hushed whisper to bursts of elation with aplomb”. Miller is featured on Jason Mraz’s 2018 album Know and his forthcoming record, out in Summer 2020. She is in the house-band on The Bachelor’s newest ABC primetime show, Listen To Your Heart. Soon after earning her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California in 2016, she became the chair of the Guitar Department at Los Angeles College of Music, a position she still holds. When Miller’s not on tour, running a guitar department, or in the studio, she heads her own trio, Molly Miller Trio, showcased on NPR’s Fresh Air. The second album by Molly Miller Trio is slated for release later in 2020.
European Guitar Quartet
“The birth of a sparkling new star in the concert sky.”
These were the words which the German press used to describe the ensemble’s debut concert in Dresden in the spring of 2012. The meeting between two global stars of the classical guitar and two of the most outstanding protagonists of the acoustic guitar scene was accompanied by enthusiastic appreciation from both critics and audience alike. It was therefore no surprise that their debut was followed by invitations to festivals around the world, which include major festivals in Scandinavia and Germany (Bergen Music Festival, MDR Musiksommer) as well as other prestigious events in Austria, Switzerland, India and South America. Fellow musicians such as Klezmer legend Giora Feidman have also been quick to voice their admiration for their music.
“DANZA” would be a fitting title for the quartet’s current program, as it combines the intense, virtuoso, spirited music of South America and Europe to take listeners on a thrilling musical journey. Unique interpretations of pieces by Astor Piazzolla and the dances of the Paraguayan guitar legend Agustín Barrios mingle with the melodious compositions of the masterly Nicolo Paganini and the complex rhythms of Balkan dances (Dusan Bogdanovic). Works by Thomas Fellow and Reentko also feature, and present concert music, world music and jazz in a contemporary embrace.
These four musicians – each of them a renowned performer in their own right – have set themselves the task of blending the instrument’s concert tradition with the expressive, dynamic sounds of modern music.
Alex de Grassi
Alex de Grassi has been a unique voice in the world of acoustic guitar for the past 42 years; his innovative approach to composing and arranging for solo steel-string guitar has influenced a generation of younger players. From his first solo performances in university coffeehouses and as a street musician to his engagements at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, Alex has followed his own vision and helped lay the foundation for contemporary fingerstyle guitar. Inspired by American and British Isles folk and blues artists in his early teens, Alex’s musical pursuits soon expanded to encompass classical, jazz, and world music. He has since become known for his evocative compositions and arrangements, and for his sheer virtuosity. Using a broad palette of techniques and timbre in conjunction with his ability to weave together melody, counter-melody, bass, harmony, and rhythm into a highly orchestrated canvas of sound, Alex’s performances take the listener well beyond the instrument. The Wall Street Journal has called his playing “flawless” and Billboard hails his “intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention.”
Over the last twenty years, Assad has concentrated most of his efforts on building a repertoire for the guitar duo. He has extended the possibilities of the two-guitar combination through his arrangements of Latin American music by composers such as Piazzolla, Villa Lobos, and Ginastera as well as Baroque to Modern music by Scarlatti, Rameau, Soler, Bach, Mompou, Ravel, Debussy, and Gershwin among others. He has completed over 300 arrangements for different chamber music settings arrangements for Gidon Kremer, Dawn Upshaw, Yo Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, TrioConBrio, Iwao Furusawa, Paquito D’Rivera, Turtle Island String Quartet, L.A. Quartet, Luciana Souza, and Vancouver Cantata Singers.
As a composer, Assad has completed more than fifty works for guitar, many of which have become standards in the guitar repertoire. His "Aquarelle" for solo guitar was chosen as the required contemporary work for the 2002 Guitar Foundation of America Competition in Miami. In 2007, he wrote the set piece for the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Competition named "Valsa de Outono". Assad’s orchestral compositions include the ballet "Scarecrow", the concerto "Mikis" for guitar and strings, "Fantasia Carioca" for two guitars which he and Odair premiered with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1998, "Interchange", a concerto for guitar quartet and orchestra premiered by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet with the San Antonio Symphony in 2009, the concerto "Originis" for violin, guitar duo, and orchestra recorded live with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and the concerto "Phases" for guitar duo and orchestra premiered in 2011 by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra with the Assad Brothers as soloists.
Beijing Guitar Duo
Praised by the distinguished Classical Guitar Magazine as “having the star potential to serve as inspiration for new generations of guitarists to come,” the Beijing Guitar Duo made their New York debut in Carnegie Hall in 2010 and launched their international concert career.
Guitarist Meng Su and Yameng Wang, the Beijing Guitar Duo has performed around the world in halls such as the Concertgebouw, Palau de Musica, Tchaikovsky Hall and the National Theatre in Beijing. This season will take them to a 12-city concert tour in the United States in February (Washington D.C., Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Knoxville) as well as other performances in Europe and China. The duo regularly collaborates with orchestras, in ensemble with flutist Marina Piccinini, guitarists Grigoryan Brothers and with their mentor Manuel Barrueco touring in Europe, Australia, Asia and the U.S.
The Beijing Guitar Duo's performances and recordings have impressed the public with “an ability and artistry that exceeds their years.” Their debut CD Maracaípe, received a Latin-GRAMMY nomination for the titled piece, which was dedicated to them by renowned guitarist/composer Sergio Assad. Their second CD, Bach to Tan Dun, has been widely noted for the world-premiere recording of Tan Dun’s Eight Memories in Watercolor, specially arranged for the duo by Manuel Barrueco. A recording in trio, China West, with Maestro Barrueco was released in May 2014.
Since he won first prize at the Radio France International Competition in Paris in 1982, he has become one of the most widely celebrated soloists of his generation. Among the members of the jury were such artists as Alexandre Tansman, Antonio Lauro, and Maria Luisa Anido.
Before that, he studied with such guitarists as Milan Zelenka and Štěpán Rak in Prague. In 1987 he decided to emigrate to the Netherlands where after years of studying and getting inspiration from many different artists he has created his own style which is not ignoring the authentic way of interpreting 19th-century guitar literature on periodic instruments and going far to some world music elements. Pavel Steidl also composes himself and his own compositions are often played at his concerts. He played in more than 40 countries of the world from Canada, the USA, China, India, Japan, Europe, South and Central America, and many others.
In his teaching, Pavel's approach is encouraging but subtle. For, as he says, "the teacher is not allowed to say everything. I let them play one piece. Each note twice, one staccato, one tenuto, to show what you can do. The possibilities: that's what I like very much. I don't like to write piano, forte, tenuto. I don't like metronomes."
Photo by Karel Kestner
Brasil Guitar Duo
The Brasil Guitar Duo, winner of the 2006 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and hailed by Classical Guitar magazine for its "maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity," is equally at home on a classical or a world-music series. Its innovative programming features a seamless blend of traditional and Brazilian works, resulting in a global touring schedule and a growing catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings.
An eager advocate for both traditional and new concerti for two guitars and orchestra, the Duo premiered a Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra by Brazilian composer Paulo Bellinati in 2012 with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra under Giancarlo Guerrero. Recent engagements include concerts with the Dallas and Houston symphony orchestras, Ohio's Dayton Philharmonic and Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas.
Duo members João Luiz and Douglas Lora met in São Paulo as teenage guitar students and have been performing together for more than seventeen years. The Duo's primary studies were with Henrique Pinto along with Fabio Zanon, Paulo Martelli, Sergio Abreu, and Alice Artz. Douglas Lora earned his Master's degree at the University of Miami, and João Luiz at New York’s Mannes College the New School for Music and has a Doctoral degree from Manhattan School of Music. Luiz is head of the guitar department at the State University of New York at Purchase and also teaches guitar at New Jersey City University.
British guitarist, Helen Sanderson, studied guitar at the Royal College of Music with Charles Ramirez, and accompaniment with John Blakely, graduating with prizes including the Anthony Saltmarsh Prize and the Madeline Walton Prize for Guitar.
Her performing career reflects her passion for chamber music in partnerships with eminent counter-tenor James Bowman, tenor Mark Wilde and in a guitar duo with Zoran Dukic. She was a founding member of the VIDA Guitar Quartet and her performances have included recitals at the Southbank Centre, Kings Place, St Georges-Bristol, and the Sage Gateshead. In 2010 Helen made her US debuts in Los Angeles and New York and has subsequently toured extensively throughout the USA and Europe.
In parallel to her role as Head of Guitar Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Helen is an entrepreneurial educator, committed to nurturing young guitarists throughout the UK. In 2006 she founded the music education charity, Guitar Circus, and Helen’s wider work in guitar education was recognized in 2017 with the award of a Churchill Fellowship following her research in the USA of whole-class guitar programs.
Photo by Diane Roberts
Raphaël Feuillâtre is a young Paris-based virtuoso of the classical guitar. Born in 1996, he started classical guitar lessons at the age of nine, first with Hacène Addadi at Cholet Conservatory and later with Michel Grizard in Nantes. In 2014, he was accepted to Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance (CNSMDP) into the class of Roland Dyens and his assistant Jean-Marc Zvellenreuther and obtained his Bachelor of Performing Arts degree in 2017 with the highest honors. He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance with Tristan Manoukian. Various internships and training courses contribute to his musical development, in particular those with Arnaud Sans, Gabriel Bianco, and Judicaël Perroy, with whom he has been working regularly for the past three years. Raphaël Feuillâtre likes to enrich his repertoire by arranging the works of J.S. Bach, D. Scarlatti, and E. Granados, namely Poetic waltzes, for the classical guitar
In 2017, he won the 1st prize in the International Guitar Competition Jose Tomas – Villa Petrer in Spain, and the 3rd prize in Kutna Hora International Biennial Guitar Competition in the Czech Republic. He is also a laureate of International Guitar competitions in Viseu, Portugal (3rd prize), Coria, Spain (2nd prize), and Fontenay-sous-Bois, France (1st prize).
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Grisha Goryachev is renowned for his extraordinary musical sensitivity and technical virtuosity in both classical and flamenco styles. Grisha is one of very few guitarists in the world who is reviving the tradition of solo flamenco guitar in a concert setting that was practiced by legendary flamenco masters such as Ramón Montoya and Sabicas.
Since coming to the United States, Mr. Goryachev has continued his lifelong love affair with flamenco while deepening his involvement with the classical style. His repertoire now includes classical solos, chamber music and guitar concertos and more than six hours of flamenco solos by such composers as Paco de Lucía, Vicente Amigo, Manolo Sanlucar, Rafael Riqueni, and others. As the flamenco repertoire is for the most part unpublished, Mr. Goryachev has performed the somewhat incredible feat of transcribing entirely by ear from the recordings.
Grisha strives to keep alive older flamenco masterpieces that now exist only on records, by performing them in concerts. Grisha exposes the audience to some of the best guitar compositions flamenco has to offer. Instead of merely copying, he creates his own interpretations of these masterpieces, using dynamics and tone colors usually associated with classical music.
Alex de Grassi and Andrew York
Alex de Grassi became a household name as a founding member of the Windham Hill stable of performers, still performing in their Winter Solstice Tours nationwide as well as thirty years of international touring on his own. His solo guitar compositions and recordings have inspired a whole generation of steel-string players. Down Beat magazine says, “His touch is as exquisite as his lyricism…” He has become widely acclaimed as a leading innovator and virtuoso of acoustic guitar, fusing a variety of guitar traditions into a highly orchestrated sound. New York Guitar Festival director David Spelman says “Alex de Grassi is a treasure… his technical wizardry as well as his vibrant and poetic music-making make him one of the most distinctive steel-string guitarists performing today.” The Wall Street Journal has called his playing “flawless” and Billboard hails his “intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention."
Andrew York is one of today’s best loved composers for classical guitar and a performer of international stature. His compositions blend the styles of ancient eras with modern musical directions, creating music that is at once vital, multi-leveled and accessible. Andrew received a GRAMMY as a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet during his sixteen years with the cutting-edge ensemble. York’s compositions have been featured on GRAMMY-winning recordings by other artists as well. In 2006 Andrew recorded and performed with the Atlanta Symphony for the opera “Ainadamar” by Osvaldo Golijov. The recording of Ainadamar (Deutsche Gramophone) won two GRAMMY awards. Andrew’s most recent solo recording “Yamour” was released on vinyl as a double LP album, and garnered the number one spot in Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s “Essential Recordings of 2012” by editor Teja Gerken. Guitar Player magazine says, “Andrew York’s eclectic writing and playing constitute one of the hippest styles in American classical guitar…”
Photo by Irene Young
Photo by Christine Lang
French guitar phenomenon Thomas Viloteau enjoys shaking things up. His approach to the instrument, its repertoire and its technique, has reshaped the term ‘classical’ guitar, into something new, alive and forward thinking.
At 25 he published a technique book ‘In the Black Box, Technique(s) of the Classical Guitar’ which has sold more than a thousand copies on his website alone. At 27 he decided to go back to school to complete both a Master’s and Doctoral degree. He is one of the very few players to have won both the Guitar Foundation of America and the Francisco Tàrrega competitions. In 2013 he won the Northern Trust/Piper Enrichment Award; which allowed him to commission the Suite Brasileira 3 from composer Sergio Assad. Viloteau is the only guitarist to ever win the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association in 2016. He has also been the Artist in Residence at the show Performance Today in 2017, broadcasting his playing to more than a million people across the USA. As an avid world traveller, Thomas Viloteau has lived in Barcelona, Paris, San Francisco, New York City, London, Tucson, Montreal and Rochester, NY. In 2019 he will join the guitar faculty at the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Thibaut Garcia, the Franco-Spanish guitarist, was born in 1994 in Toulouse, where he began learning the guitar at the age of seven. He then won the guitar prize in the class of Paul Ferret. At the age of 16, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, in Olivier Chassain’s class, while at the same time benefiting from the guidance of Judicaël Perroy. In 2015, he was named sponsee of the Académie Charles Cros.
At the age of 16, he was awarded the First Prize at the Ana Amalia competition in Weimar, Germany. Since then, he has won the first prize in several international competitions, in particular the Guitar Foundation of America at Oklahoma City, USA, in 2015, the José Tomas at Petrer, Spain, in 2014, and the International Competition of Seville, Spain, in 2013. Since then he has been asked to sit on their juries and to give master-classes.
Photo by Luis Castilla
VIDAʼs ability to “conjure up an orchestral palette of colour and effects” (Classic FM) combined with their “exquisite tonal and dynamic control” has firmly established them as a passionate and masterful ensemble who sparkle with “vitality and spontaneity” (Acoustic). VIDAʼs seemingly effortless sense of ensemble and their broad range of timbres and dynamics evokes “listening to an entire orchestra and not merely to four guitars. Thereʼs only one word for it: magic” (Gramophone).
Since forming in 2007, VIDA has performed to critical acclaim in major UK, USA and European venues. They are sought-after festival artists throughout the UK and Europe and in 2011 VIDA made their US debuts in Los Angeles (LMU Guitar Festival) and New York (Baruch Performing Arts Centre). In 2012 VIDA were artists in residence at CSU’s Summer Arts program in Monteray Bay CA.
Following on from their acclaimed debut CD, ʻLove, the Magicianʼ (BGS118) VIDA released their latest CD, ʻRhapsodyʼ in 2013 featuring works by George Gershwin, Malcolm Arnold, and Adam Gorb. VIDA are D’Addario string classical artists.
Hailed by the critics as “The guitar guru” (E-Veritas. University of Miami) “the powerful andintense style of Iliana Matos" (Classical Guitar Magazine) has made possible an extraordinarycareer. Following the tradition of María Luisa Anido, the Great Lady of Guitar, who, whenhearing Iliana play, wrote: “I am impressed by your wonderful guitaristic art, and I am proud toknow that a woman (and a Cuban woman!) came to such a degree of artistic perfection”.Barcelona 1995.
She regularly gives master classes all over the world and has performed atnumerous festivals such as Cordoba Guitar Festival, Spanish Music Festival of León,International Festival of Contemporary Spanish Music, Miguel Llobet Guitar Festival, AntonioLauro Guitar Festival, Monterrey Guitar Festival, Belo Horizonte Guitar Festival, ChicagoLatino Music Festival, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, Lone Star Guitar Festival,Hamilton Guitar Festival, Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, Shenyang International Guitar Festival,Women of the Guitar, among others.
Dublin Guitar Quartet
The Dublin Guitar Quartet has dedicated its career with unwavering devotion to performing contemporary music, an aspect that makes the ensemble unique within its genre. With the help of eight and eleven-string guitars, the quartet has created an original catalog of arrangements by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Arvo Part, and Gyorgy Ligeti.
The DGQ's work has brought to the attention of some of the world's leading composers. Recent activity includes a release on Philip Glass's Orange Mountain Music label and a new commission by New York's Michael Gordon. The quartet performed alongside the Grammy award-winning LA Guitar Quartet, Conspirare, and the Texas Guitar Quartet in a premiere of How Little You Are by Nico Muhly in Austin, Texas in April 2015. The DGQ is also included in a recent recording performing Arvo Part's Summa. The quartet worked with the composer in making the arrangement and received guidance during the recording process. The arrangement is published by the composer's own publisher Universal Edition.
Cavatina Duo - Denis Azbagic & Eugenia Moliner
Cavatina Duo has captivated audiences with their electrifying performances in such major venues and festivals as Ravinia (Chicago), Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Aix-en-Provence Summer Festival (France), Symphony Center Chicago, the National Concert Hall of Taipei (Taiwan), National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, National Flute convention Gala Concert, USA, The Harris Theater (Chicago) among many others.
Radio and television stations in Europe and North America (WFMT, NPR) have broadcast the duo’s performances. They have been the subjects of interviews in international magazines such as Chamber Music America, TodoFlauta (Spain), FluteTalk(USA), Classical Guitar (UK), Guitarra Magazine (web), Soundboard(USA) and Flute, the BFS flute journal, (UK). They are the first guitar and flute duo to be featured on both the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine (UK) and the cover of FluteTalk (USA)
Carlos Bonell has been described by the Classical Guitar Magazine, UK as “one of the great communicators of the guitar world”. He has recorded more than twenty albums and played in forty countries, with concert appearances ranging from intimate recitals to concertos with symphony orchestras.
His latest album Magical Mystery Guitar Tour, inspired by his association with Sir Paul McCartney is dedicated to the music of the Beatles in Carlos’ own arrangements for solo guitar. It went to number one on the UK iTunes classical album charts in May 2012.
Carlos was born in London of Spanish parents in 1949. He started to play at the age of five, learning to play Spanish folk music from his father who was a keen amateur guitarist. He completed his studies at the Royal College of Music with John Williams, where he was appointed the youngest ever professor at the age of 22.
A classical guitar series curated by Leon Atkinson is back at the Bing Crosby Theater after more than seven years, this time under the Friends of the Guitar Hour moniker. And it nearly didn't happen.
Atkinson is a world-renowned classical guitarist out of Sandpoint who co-hosts the weekly Guitar Hour on Spokane Public Radio with KPBX program director Verne Windham. He was diagnosed with kidney failure a decade ago and was on dialysis — nine hours a day, seven days a week at home — for years until he received a kidney transplant three years ago.
"I'm now back at 100 percent," Atkinson says. "I'm travelling and doing concerts all over the world again and still doing my radio show. It's amazing what one little organ can do."
Javier de los Santos
Classical guitarist Javier de los Santos began his formal music studies in 1998 in Guitar Performance under Francisco Javier Muro Guevara at the Unidad Académica de Música de la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas (UAMUAZ) in the State of Zacatecas, México.
In 2006, under the guidance of Mr. Eric Vandiver Nohe, Javier earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Guitar Performance at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO.
Javier holds a Master of Music Degree in Guitar Performance from the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music studying with renowned Maestro Ricardo Iznaola.
Javier has performed extensively in different places, including the XV Semana Cultural de Zacatecas in Zacatecas, Mexico, various recitals and performances in Mexico; Granada, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Maine, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, and in different venues in the State of Colorado, USA.
Photo by David Lester-Willow Pond Photography
Richter - Uzur Duo
The Richter Uzur Duo plays a whimsical mashed-up blend of classical, world, and rock music. Viktor Uzur and Brad Richter are each master musicians of the highest caliber with global solo careers, major international awards, and intensive training from two of the world’s most lauded musical institutions (The Moscow Conservatory and The Royal College of Music respectively). While developing into classical virtuosi as students, Brad and Viktor cut their teeth in rock bands – Viktor as an electric guitarist and Brad as a guitarist and singer. They also delved into folk and world music, eventually setting those interests aside to pursue their classical concert careers. Since the “RUDuo” was founded in 2005 they have discovered a way to blend all of the musical styles they love and audiences have as much fun listening to the results as Brad and Viktor have played.
The Richter Uzur Duo has played hundreds of concerts in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia and has a rapidly widening circle of communities around the globe that invite them back again and again. In the U.S. the RUDuo is perhaps best known through its regular appearances on NPR’s Performance Today – North America’s most listened to classical music program – as well as frequent national and international broadcasts on the Armed Forces Radio Network and programs such as PBS’s WoodSongs and NPR’s Classical Guitar Alive, which named their debut CD ‘Best New Release’ in 2010.
The Richter Uzur Duo are outspoken advocates for the arts and arts education, Brad as the Executive Director of Lead Guitar, a not-for-profit that establishes guitar programs in public schools nation-wide, and Viktor as a professor at Weber State University and director of the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival. Whenever possible the Duo includes school or community outreach events with their performances.
Denis Azabagic & Roosevelt University Guitar Studio
Highly praised by the international press, Denis Azabagic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), performs concerts around the world, maintaining a balance between his solo recitals, chamber music with the Cavatina Duo, and engagements as a soloist with orchestras.
He has won twenty-four prizes in international competitions and Mel Bay has published a book based on his experience and insights on the subject of competitions.
As a guest instrumentalist and soloist Azabagic has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Sacramento Chamber Orchestra, Madrid Symphony, Traverse Symphony, Monterrey Symphony, L’Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Mons, among many others. He has also collaborated with the Casals Quartet, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Civitas Ensemble, and Music Now.
Jâca Duo - Jaxon Williams & Wesley Ferreira
Jâca is a Los Angeles based duo ensemble that reaches beyond the bounds of classical music. Comprised of clarinetist Wesley Ferreira and guitarist Jaxon Williams, their virtuosic and engaging concerts stimulate emotion, inspire imagination, and promote multicultural understanding and appreciation. Jâca champions innovation, redefining the traditional concert experience through their entertaining and unique stage presence and by inviting audiences to experience the very best of humanity through the communicative and communal power of music. Constantly expanding the repertoire by arranging and creating original works as well as commissioning new ones, Jâca performs music that ventures beyond genre. Think Kronos Quartet meets Victor Borge meets Ted Talk. As one audience member put it, “that was WAY too much fun for a classical music concert”.
Brad Richter / Carlos Bonell Duo
Carlos Bonell and Brad Richter are two of the top guitarists in the world. Carlos Bonell has recorded more than twenty albums and played in forty countries, with concert appearances ranging from intimate recitals to concertos with symphony orchestras. In 2006 Carlos began to help Sir Paul McCartney who is composing a concerto for guitar and orchestra. His latest album Magical Mystery Guitar Tour, inspired by his association with Sir Paul McCartney is dedicated to the music of the Beatles in Carlos’ own arrangements for solo guitar.
Brad Richter may be one of the most influential classical guitarists working today. His ability to defy the technical limits of his instrument has earned him comparisons to the likes of Franz Liszt and Nicolo Paganini. Equal parts performer, composer, and educator, he has amassed nearly 1,000 concert appearances in North America and Europe. Brad is also an avid collaborator with legendary artists such as cellist David Finckel (Director of Chamber Music at Lincoln Center), and his long-time partner in the Richter Uzur Duo, cellist Viktor Uzur.
Matt Warnock is a Canadian jazz guitarist and founder of the online guitar education site Matt Warnock Guitar. Currently 30,000 students are enrolled in MWG courses and over 11 million students have used his lessons since inception in 2011. Matt is the site's resident guitarist and educator featuring live workshops and pre-recorded lessons for all ability levels. Originally from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Matt received his bachelor's in jazz guitar from McGill University in Montréal, Quebec. Matt subsequently received a Master's Degree in jazz guitar from Western Michigan University and a Doctorate from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Matt has held faculty positions at Western Illinois University in the US and Leeds College of Music and the University of Chester in the UK. He has given workshops, clinics, and concerts throughout the American Midwest, Canada, the UK, Brazil, and has traveled extensively throughout Ireland, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand as an examiner with the Royal College of Music in London. Matt is also passionate about arts education in schools and has donated of his time at the Kathmandu Jazz Academy in Nepal for several artist residencies as well as improvisation workshops in schools. Matt is currently based in Tucson, Arizona.
Billy Beck has been playing guitar since he was 11. With help from his mentors, he was able to get an early grasp of music theory. With knowledge of chords and scales, he began learning by listening. Billy teaches music reading and recommends that everyone learn to read music. He also teaches the skill of playing by ear.
For the past ten years, Billy has played lead guitar in electric bands and acoustic groups. He also plays solo instrumental shows including weddings, private parties, and local community events. He started teaching guitar at age 15 at Dave Skinner's. Since then, he's taught in Weatherford, Clinton, and here in Enid at Midwest Music and Miles Music. Billy currently teaches at his studio located in the Broadway Tower.
Barrio Duo - Jonathan Crissman & Jose Luis Puerta
The Barrio Duo is an Arizona based guitar duo comprised of José Luis Puerta and Jonathan Crissman. The duo formed in the spring of 2016 when they were soloists with the Arizona Guitar Orchestra, performing Brad Richter’s “Once We Moved Like the Wind,” an homage to Geronimo. The piece was performed throughout Arizona as part of a three-concert tour, and the success of the performances prompted José Luis and Jonathan to continue their collaboration.
The Barrio Duo’s current program is influenced by the research that both members made for their Doctoral degrees. Jonathan’s research was on the eighteenth-century keyboard music of Antonio Soler, and José Luis studied the folkloric elements in ensemble music from Latin American composers.
Freddy Vazquez/George Ramirez Duo
Brad Richter / Carlos Bonell / Jonathan Crissman / Jose Luis Puerta Quartet
Curt Chambers is an American singer, song writer, producer and recording artist who has gained notoriety for his unique fusions of rock, soul, county, and hip hop. Curt's immense talent partnered with his wildly diverse blues, country and hip hop power packed performances humbly provided him the opportunity to share stages with a wide array of musical legends such as BB King, and Jerry Douglas as well as rock and hip hop icons Travis Barker, P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Eminem, the legendary LL Cool J along with Country stars Chris Young, Florida Georgia Line, Tyler Rich, Jake Own, Dustin Lynch, and many more.
As a graduate of William Patterson University where he majored in Jazz and Performance Studies, Curt further extended his musical palette making him adept and respected in musical composition and direction. He is a 2018 Grammy Award Winner and recipient of multiple notable accolades including 2 Grammy nominations and an ASCAP award for his contribution as a songwriter for the hit "Finding My Way Back" performed by R&B recording artist Jaheim. He has co-written for the likes of Eminem, Lenny Kravitz, Miguel, and Jamie Foxx and recently with hip hop pioneer Dr. Dr in which Curt received another Grammy nomination for his work on the critically acclaimed album "Compton."
Curt has been putting down his roots in country music for the past two years, recently signed to WME.