2015-16 Concert Season 


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Thanks for a great 2015 season!
Stay tuned for news about the 2016 season!

The Connecticut Guitar Society guitar ensemble.

Photos from the Gutiérrez & Stern Concert

It was a great show with a great turnout. The CGS Guitar Ensemble opened the concert with 5 pieces featuring some of their own arrangements. Gil Gutierrez (guitar) and Bob Stern (violin) brought their friend Dave Rodriguez (bass) as a surprise special guest. The sound of the guitar with violin and bass might just set a new standard for a trio. What a fantastic way to end the season.

Photos by Laura Victoria Barrera

Dave Rodriguez
Bob Stern
Gil Gutiérrez
Bob & Gil, with Artistic Director Dave Giardina and his wife Lynnette
The boys with CGS Board member & CGS Guitar Ensemble member, Dave Tamarkin

Photos from the Phillip de Fremery Concert
Artistic Director Dave Giardina introduces Phillip de Fremery to a sold out crowd.
Phillip de Fremery

In Memory of Charles Austin

The Connecticut Guitar Society is saddened to report the passing of Charles Austin, January 20th.
We all have fond memories of our webmaster of the last fifteen years.

Charlie, Shiela and Vladimir Gorbach   Dave Giardina, Vladimir Gorbach,
Yovianna Garcia and Charlie
Shiela, Charlie and Gem Duruoz   Charlie and Linda Kessler Ensemble performance Guitar Day

Calendar of Events  2015-16 Season

John Abercrombie

 September 19 

Joe Diorio Tribute - Saturday, September 19, 2015 8:00 PM
Town & Country Club, 22 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT (Directions)

Renowned guitarist, John Abercrombie, & Trio 'play' tribute to Waterbury native, jazz guitar great, Joe Diorio - joined by his local protégé Rich Goldstein, with Steven LaSpina (Bass) and Anthony Pinciotti (Drums).

Over a career spanning more than 40 years and nearly 50 albums, John Abercrombie has established himself as one the masters of jazz guitar. Favoring unusual sounds (he played electronic mandolin on McCoy Tyner's 1993 album 4x4) and nontraditional ensembles (recent quartet recordings have included violinist Mark Feldman), Abercrombie is a restless experimenter, working firmly in the jazz tradition while pushing the boundaries of meter and harmony."

Born on December 16, 1944 in Port Chester, New York, Abercrombie grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he began playing the guitar at age 14. Like many teenagers at the time, he started out imitating Chuck Berry licks. But it was the bluesy music of Barney Kessel that attracted him to jazz. Abercrombie enrolled at Boston's Berklee College of Music and teamed up with other students to play local clubs and bars. One of those clubs, Paul's Mall, was connected to a larger club next door, the Jazz Workshop, where Abercrombie ducked in during his free time to watch John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.

Abercrombie's appearances at Paul's Mall led to several fortuitous meetings. Organist Johnny Hammond Smith spotted the young Abercrombie and invited him to go on tour while he was still a student. During the same period, Ambercrombie also met the Brecker Brothers, who invited him to become a new part of their group Dreams, which would become one the prominent jazz-rock bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Abercrombie appears on the group's eponymous debut album.

After graduating from Berklee, Abercrombie headed to New York, where he quickly became one of New York's most in-demand session players. He recorded with Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, and Barry Miles, to name a few. He was also a regular with Chico Hamilton?s group. "

But it was in Billy Cobham's band, which also featured the Brecker brothers, that Abercrombie first started to build a following. He was featured on several of Cobham's albums, including Crosswinds, Total Eclipse and Shabazz, all of which staked new ground in fusion jazz. The group was booked into large concert halls and arenas, appearing on bills with such top rock attractions as the Doobie Brothers. It was not, however, the direction Abercrombie had hoped his career would go. "One night we appeared at the Spectrum in Phildelphia and I thought, what am I doing here?" he said. "It just didn?t compute."

In the early 1970s, Abercrombie ran into Manfred Eicher, who invited him to record for ECM. The result was Abercrombie's first solo album, Timeless, in which he was backed by Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette. Abercrombie's second album, Gateway, was released in November 1975 with DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland; a second Gateway recording was released in June 1978.

He then moved on to a traditional quartet format, recording three albums on ECM--Arcade, Abercrombie Quartet, and M--with pianist Richie Beirach, bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald. "It was extremely important to have that group for many reasons," Abercrombie told AAJ in 2004. "It was, of course, a good band, but it was also my first opportunity to really be a leader and to write consistently for the same group of musicians."

His second group, a trio with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine, marked the first time he experimented with the guitar synthesizer. This gave him the opportunity to play what he called "louder, more open music" with a propulsive beat, demonstrated in the group's three releases, Getting There (featuring Michael Brecker) in 1987, Current Events in 1988, and John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson & Peter Erskine in 1989.

From there, he moved to partnerships that he would shuffle and reshuffle for the next 20 years. He reunited with his Gateway bandmembers in 1995 for an album appropriately titled Homecoming, but not before forming yet a third ensemble that would make several recordings together. Abercrombie had long been enamored with the sound of jazz organ, so he teamed with organist Dan Wall and drummer Adam Nussbaum in While We Were Young and Speak of the Devil (both 1993) and, in 1997 Tactics. Another album, titled Open Land, added violinist Mark Feldman and saxophonist Joe Lovano to the mix.

His affiliation with Feldman, in a quartet that included Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Barron, ushered in a period of looser, freer, almost improvisatory playing. "I like free playing that has some relationship to a melody; very much the way Ornette Coleman used to write all those wonderful songs and then they would play without chords on a lot of them," he told AAJ. In fact, Abercrombie's work from this period has been compared to chamber music, with its delicacy of sound and telepathic communication between musicians.

Throughout the 1990s and into 2000 and beyond, Abercrombie has continued to pluck from the ranks of jazz royalty--and be plucked for guest appearances on other artists' recordings. One propitious relationship was with guitarist, pianist, and composer Ralph Towner, with whom Abercrombie has worked in a duet setting. (Abercrombie has also worked in guitar duos with John Scofield, for 1993's Solar and with Joe Beck in Coincidence, released in 2007). Abercrombie has also recorded with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and bassist Eddie Gomez.

Abercrombie keeps up a heavy touring schedule and continues to record with ECM, a relationship that has spanned more than 30 years. As he told one interviewer, "I'd like people to perceive me as having a direct connection to the history of jazz guitar, while expanding some musical boundaries." That, no doubt, will be his legacy.

(from http://www.johnabercrombie.com/bio.htm)


Guitar Day! 2015

 October 24 

Guitar Day! 2015 - Saturday, October 24, 2015, all day starting at 9 AM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Experience a day of interactive workshops, demonstrations, and ensemble playing led by professional musicians.

Guitar Day! 2015 Schedule


Alex de Grassi

 October 24 

Alex de Grassi - Saturday, October 25, 2015 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Premier fingerstyle guitarist, Alex de Grassi, makes a rare appearance in CT for a concert and master class. His early Windham Hill recordings have influenced a generation of young players. "One of the greatest steel string players of the last 3 decades." - Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Alex de Grassi

Alex de Grassi was born in Japan, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He switched from trumpet to guitar at the age of 13 and immersed himself in American and British folk and blues traditions, eventually studying jazz and classical guitar. Since then 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. The Wall Street Journal has called his playing "flawless" and Billboard hails his "intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention." His early Windham Hill recordings of original music as well as his arrangements of folk, jazz, and world music have influenced a whole generation of young players.

His 1978 recording, "Turning: Turning Back" (cited by Acoustic Guitar magazine among their top ten essential fingerstyle recordings), the subsequent recordings "Slow Circle" (1979) and "Southern Exposure" (1984), and his GRAMMY® nominated recording "The Water Garden" (1998) are considered classics of the genre. His most recent solo recording, "Now and Then: Folksongs for the 21st Century", features his contemporary take on traditional folksongs.

Alex's thirty years of international touring include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Montreux Jazz Festival and numerous guitar festivals. Alex has been commissioned by Acoustic Guitar Magazine to compose a concerto for steel-string guitar and string orchestra, and twice by the New York Guitar Festival to score for their Silent Films/Live Guitars series. 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."

He has been a frequent guest teacher at the National Summer Guitar Workshop, the University of Milwaukee, and the Interlochen Institute, and he has given master classes at Berklee School of Music, Crown of the Continent, the Omega Institute, and many other music programs. He has served as the Artist Advisor for the Marin Community Music School, and been a guest speaker at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. The Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method, published in 2012 (String Letter Publishing), is rapidly emerging as the authoritative method for fingerstyle guitar instruction.

(from http://degrassi.com/bio/)

Ekachai Jearakul

 November 7 

Ekachai Jearakul - Saturday, November 7, 2015 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Ekachai Jearakul is the 2015 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition Winner. We are always proud to feature the latest winner of this prestigious annual competition!

Ekachai Jearakul, classical guitarist

Ekachai Jearakul is considered one of today's most outstanding classical guitarists on the international scene. In 2014, he became the first Asian guitarist to win the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition (GFA). This prize entails a fiftyconcerts tour in many countries also in the United States culminating in a Carnegie Hall debut in New York City, and recordings on the Naxos and the GHA labels, with worldwide distribution.

Between 2003 and 2014, Ekachai earned an impressive list of honors, which include twelve first prizes at prestigious international guitar competitions in Europe, Asia, and North America. He has performed in over sixteen countries, including Thailand, China, France, Korea, Russia, Greece, Japan, Austria, England, Italy, Germany, Maxico, Philippines,Indonesia,Spain,Singapore and the United States. In 2011, he commissioned new arrangements and recorded a CD with music of the King of Thailand, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ekachai has collaborated with distinguished conductors such as JoAnn Falletta and Bundit Ungrangsee, and has appeared with orchestras around the world, including the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the International Orchestra of Italy, the Unity Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ensemble of Soloists "Kiev Camerata," the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute Orchestra (Thailand), the Orquesta Sinaloá de los Artes (Mexico), and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (USA).

Born in 1987 in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, Ekachai Jearakul started guitar studies at the age of thirteen. His professional training, as a full scholarship student, began at Mahidol University College of Music, where he completed a Bachelor in Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance with Dr. Paul Cesarczyk. Subsequently, Ekachai went on to earn a Master's degree in Guitar Performance at Salzburg's Mozarteum with Prof. Marco Tamayo. Since 2007, Thai Bev "Sangsom" Thai Talent has sponsored Ekachai.

(from http://www.ekachaiguitarist.com/html/biography.html)


Holiday Party 2015

 December 4 

Holiday Party - Friday, December 4, 2015 6:00 PM
Location to be determined.

Join other CGS members for delicious food, great wines and great guitar music! Bring your guitar!


 Windsor Winter Series 

Peter Blanchette (Arch Guitar) - Sunday, January 17, 2016 2:00 PM

Phil de Fremery (Classical Guitar) - Sunday, January 31, 2016 2:00 PM

Jim Matus (Laoutar) - RESCHEDULED to: Saturday, February 27, 2016 2:00 PM

All Windsor Winter Series concerts will be held at the Windsor Arts Center, 40 Mechanic Street, Windsor CT.

Tickets for individual concerts: $15 general admission; $10 CGS members
Package for all 3 concerts: $40 general admission; $25 CGS members


Duo Anova

 March 5 

Duo Anova - Saturday, March 5, 2016 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Award-winning young NYC duo, Susan Mandel (Cello) and Kenji Haba (Guitar) will present an exciting musical experience with new textures and dimensions of sounds unique to these two instruments. Refreshing and cutting edge!

Duo Anova is a cello and guitar duo based in New York City. Members Susan Mandel (cello) and Kenji Haba (guitar) met in 2012 and immediately bonded over their passion for contemporary music and their animated sense of humor. The rare instrumentation offers an exceptional experience; it opens up a listener's mind to a new dimension of textures and sounds unique to cello and guitar.

Duo Anova won honorable mention award in 2014 SMIA chamber music competition. It made its debut at prestigious Carnegie Hall presented by Composer's Voice in 2014, and praised as "striking compatibility" by New Music for 21st Century. It has also performed at many other venues, including Bohemian National Hall, Composer's Voice 100th Gala concert, 662 Center concert series, Saint Peter's Church, and etc. Duo Anova also collaborates with artists to explore the possibility of performing arts with visual arts. In 2013, Duo Anova performed in the magnificent installation art of Hisami Taniguchi at Resobox, contemporary art museum, in New York.

Duo Anova is committed to expanding its repertoire for this unique combination and performing with virtuosity and intensity. It worked with over 20 composers, including award winning composers and emerging composers, such as Goya Masatora, Michael Kropf, Andrew Middleton, Castilla-Ávila, Inna Buganina. In 2014, it will participate in Vox Novus's Fifteen Minutes of Fame series, featuring world premieres of fifteen one-minute pieces written especially for the group.

In addition, Duo Anova held a position as Visiting Artists through the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy Program in 2013. They had a weekly residency at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

Susan D. Mandel, cello, is a native of New York. In her classical training, she has studied with cellists Marion Feldman and Dr. Frederick Zlotkin. She has attended Domaine Forget and Bowdoin International Music Festivals where she studied with cellists Thomas Wiebe, Carol Sirvois, Matt Haimovitz, and David Ying. Susan, with her piano trio, was selected to perform the American debut of Robert Delanoff's Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano at Weill Recital Hall within Carnegie Hall as finalists of the AMTL Young Musicians concert series.

Kenji Haba, guitar, is known for his interpretation of Toru Takemitsu, his performances having been described as an "ideal match for Takemitsu's music" by Fanfare. He is also an active performer of contemporary music, with over 20 pieces of music written for and premiered by him. He has performed as a solo and chamber musician throughout the States, including in New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada, Kentucky, Georgia as well as in Japan. In 2011, Kenji Haba was appointed as featured artist at the 3rd Annual Special Guitar Concert, in New York City, sponsored by Vox Novus.

(from http://www.duoanova.com/biography)


New American Mandolin Ensemble

 April 2 

New American Mandolin Ensemble (NAME)
- Saturday, April 2, 2016 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

This latest project of Mark Davis presents a variety of music by contemporary American composers, and features CGS founder, Judy Handler, on guitar.

"Contemporary classical music for plucked string instruments reflecting folk, jazz and world music influences.

The New American Mandolin Ensemble is a group of virtuoso artists dedicated to presenting original compositions for plucked strings. Championing the best of contemporary composers for this medium, the group has a special interest in promoting works from the USA.

The New American Mandolin Ensemble inspires the development of quality mandolin and guitar technique and repertoire through their concerts, recordings, and school appearances.

Based primarily in southern New England, the members of the New American Mandolin Ensemble are all involved professionally in some aspect of plucked strings, be it teaching, performing, or composing.

NAME director Mark Davis first studied the guitar and mandolin with Hibbard Perry, from the Rhode Island school of Giuseppe Pettine and William Place, and then went on to studies with the pioneering German guitarist/conductor Siegfried Behrend from whom he inherited his fascination with modern forms of musical expression.

To learn more about their members, their music, and what they do, please check out their website.

(from http://www.namandolinensemble.com/pages/about.html)

Gutierrez & Stern

 May 14 

Gutierrez & Stern - Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Mexican guitar virtuoso and composer Gil Gutierrez with violinist Bob Stern create an exciting musical travelogue through Flamenco, classical, cajun, jazz, Hendrix, Django, and Piazzolla.

Gutierrez & Stern on YouTube



An opportunity for both amateur and pro members to meet in an informal setting to play and chat about guitar. One Sunday each month, the next one is Mar. 20, 2-4pm. Meetings held at Highland Guitar Studio - 642 Hilliard Street, Suite 1203 in Manchester, CT. Contact host, Tim Maynard for details, 860.866.5697.



Don't miss these rare opportunities to learn from internationally renowned concert artists and master teachers. All guitar enthusiasts may attend as observers. Call for dates and details.

For Ticket Information, please contact the Guitar Society's office at (860) 249-1132.

The Connecticut Guitar Society
P.O. Box 1528, Hartford CT 06144
Phone: (860) 249-1132
E-mail: info@ctguitar.org

Executive Director: Joyce Magee
Artistic Director: David Giardina

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