2014-15 Concert Season 


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2014-15: Another Great Season!

Connecticut Guitar Society 2014-15 Concert Season
Our 2014-15 concert season is officially over, but there are some events in the works for the summer. Be sure to check back often to see what's happening!

Calendar of Events  2014-15 Season

Diego Figueiredo

 September 27 

Diego Figueiredo - Saturday, September 27, 2014 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Diego's music is a fusion among Jazz, Bossa Nova and Classical. His unique interpretations, along with his phenomenal technique and emotion, have created an explosion of adoring fans and concert-goers.

(NOTE: The following bio was copied verbatim from Diego Figueiredo's website.)

Diego Figueiredo , 29 year old only , is considetated one of the most guitar talents of the world. He is winner of several importants competitions like Montreux Jazz Competition, VISA Prize and some others. With a lot of recorded albuns and wroten books, Diego is showing now his new concert " From the Classical to the Jazz". It is a fusion between Jazz , Bossa-nova and Classical music. Diego has an unique interpretation, with a lot of technique, much emotion, and his show has been a great sucsses about to the audience.

Having received awards twice at the "MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL" as one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Diego Figueiredo performs one amazing concert uniting technique and emotion in a fusion of Brazilian music and jazz.

With a variety of work already released, Diego is doing shows on the most important stages around the world enchanting and charming the public wherever he goes with his unique touch. Diego Figueiredo was born in Franca, Brazil, in 1980, and at the age of 4, he used to strike poses carrying his small guitar. At six, he got a mandolin, which was kept in a very special place in his house. Diego played many instruments before choosing the electric guitar when he was twelve, playing in theaters and local pubs, revealing the great art of improvising and harmonizing. At 15, he conquered theaters and nightclubs in many different Brazilian states, playing solo or with renowned musicians.

For some years he joined different bands, like Banda Gênese and Squema Seis from Brasília, where he lived for a while. He has studied classical guitar, Brazilian Popular Music and jazz in conservatories in Franca, Ribeirão Preto and Tatuí. In 1999, he won first place in a contest in South America , when he was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music, and when he got all judges amazed with his particular style.

In June 2001, Diego Figueiredo conquered second place in VISA Prize of Instrumental Brazilian Popular Music, receiving high praise from the judges.

He was finalist for the ICATU HARTFORD Prize in Rio de Janeiro and was praised by the judges. Nowadays he accompanies the singer and songwriter Belchior in tours around Brazil and abroad. He has played and shared the stage with , Hermeto Paschoal, Geraldo Azevedo, Sebastião Tapajós, Demônios da Garoa, Vanusa, Renato Borghetti, Osvaldo Montenegro, Jair Rodrigues, Elomar, Toquinho, Tunai, Paulinho da Viola, Nando Cordel, Moraes Moreira, Fafá de Belém, Amelinha, Los Hermanos, Zeca Baleiro, Miyazawa and others.

Besides being a guitar player, Diego is a producer, arranger, orchestrator, multi-instrumentalist and has recently produced and arranged the double album "As várias caras de Drummond" for which Belchior wrote the music for Drummond´s poems, and which was released in CARAS magazine.

In performances around Europe, mainly in Germany, Diego impressed with his technique and sensitivity performing at the University of Berlin, at Quasimodo (where he shared the stage with John Scofield and Yellowjackets) and at the Brazilian Embassy. For ten years, Diego has performed at La Paz Festijazz, held in Bolivia. Diego was invited by the Symphonic Orchestra of La Paz to take part in the recordings of a CD and a DVD and to perform in some concerts to honor Tom Jobim, entitled Jobim de los Andes.

This semester Diego will be releasing some works: a classical album, another album in which he plays several instruments, an album he produced for a Bolivian singer, and a book on Improvising entitled "New Patterns".

Diego was recently in New York as a special guest to give a workshop and to perform 3 concerts in IAJE - International Association for Jazz Education.

Diego Figueiredo has just released his album "Autêntico" and has been performing around Brazil and abroad. Accompanied by great musicians, he presents an amazing show of sensitivity, technique and emotion which impresses all audiences. He is considered by the critics as one of the greatest guitar players of the present time.

(from http://www.diegofigueiredo.net/biografia_inles.html)


Guitar Day! 2014

 October 25 

Guitar Day! 2014 - Saturday, October 25, 2014, all day starting at 9 AM
Central CT State University, New Britain (Directions)

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

Guitar Day! 2014 Schedule



 October 25 

Duo Transatlantique - Saturday, October 25, 2014 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

This dynamic young guitar duo (Benjamin Beirs and Maud Laforest) will entrance you with the drama and variety of their performance.

Benjamin Beirs

Much has been written about Benjamin Beirs. As a soloist, as a composer, and as a chamber musician, Ben's commitment to "finding a new path" is paying handsome dividends to audiences, critics and other artists as well. His album "Widening Circles" was called "the brave new world of classical guitar" by the Sacramento Bee and "a complete success" by Fanfare magazine. His live performances? The Washington Post says, "rounded, mellow tone, notably clean left-hand work, and sensitive phrasing."

With an education marked by his tutelage under the renowned Julian Gray at the Peabody Conservatory, Ben Beirs is a career in motion, performing with members of the National Symphony Chamber Players in Washington or playing solo recitals to mark the opening of his painter-sister's exhibition in an art gallery. Here is the incarnation of the 21st century musician who teaches, composes, concertizes, records, produces videos. He wins awards - 1st at the National Guitar Workshop Competition, 1st at the Appalachian Guitarfest Competition, 1st at the UT Dallas Competition, at the Schadt Concerto Competition (2nd and the Audience Choice award), and 3rd prize at the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition.

Not yet 30, his list of videos and recordings is already impressive. His most recent CD, "Fluidity" is described by Bradford Werner of thisisclassicalguitar.com as "another very solid album from Beirs...displays more of his intellectual and musical side." Featuring a commission by Polish guitarist-composer Marek Pasieczny, works by Asencio, Ponce, and Tadic, it also contains a new three-movement piece written by Beirs. His previous CD, "Widening Circles," was picked up by the Naxos-distributed Azica label and re-released in August of 2013.

Believing that music is a "great kindness," Benjamin Beirs has spread this gospel from concert audiences to schools to nursing homes, churches, night clubs and studios. He believes that his music has helped shape his life and that consequently, it helps others as well. He constantly seeks to clarify his sound and his purpose. Currently, Ben lives in Paris, France, where he continues his artistic pursuits while studying with renowned French guitarist and pedagogue Judicael Perroy.

(from http://benjaminbeirs.com/about/)

Maud Laforest

Born in France, Maud started the guitar at age 4. She moved to England for 3 years, where she made her first public appearance at age 10. In 1996, she settled in Texas, studied at SMU with Robert Guthrie and later at the Peabody Conservatory with Manuel Barrueco, from where she holds a Bachelor and a Master of Music in Guitar Performance. She also benefited from the musical teaching of Carlos Marin in France and Carlo Marchione in Holland.

She has participated in masterclasses with many world-renowned guitarists. They include Sergio Assad, Roberto Aussel, Carlos Bonnell, Eduardo Catemario, Costas Cotsiolis, Betho Davezac, John Dearman, Simon Dinnigan, John Duarte, Roland Dyens, Eduardo Fernandez, Nicolas Goluses, Bruce Holzman, Adam Holzman, Ricardo Iznaola, Tom Johnson, Bill Kanengiser, Dale Kavanagh, Nikita Koshkin, Juan Carlos Laguna, David Leisner, John Mills, Thomas Müller-Pering, Paul O'Dette, Elena Papandreou, Christopher Parkening, Pepe Romero, David Russell, David Tanenbaum, Scott Tennant, and Stanley Yates.

Successful in numerous competitions in the United States and in Europe, such as the International Guitar Competition in Buffalo, NY, and the American Strings Teacher Association in Texas, Maud received first prizes in the U.F.A.M (honor level for solo and duo - Duo Transatlantique), the International Guitar Competition in Nürtingen, Germany, and the Collin County Young Artists concerto competition, where she was the first guitarist to ever receive an award. Most recently she was awarded 2nd prize in Mottola, Italy, 3rd prize in Arhanes, Greece, and 3rd prize at the International Solo Competition of the Guitar Foundation of America in Oberlin, OH.

Maud appeared on the national public radio show "From the Top" in America and in "Dans la Cour des Grands," a French national radio program hosted by Gaëlle le Gallic. Two of her recitals in the prestigious Petit Palais in Paris were also aired nationally. She has taught masterclasses both in the U.S. and in Asia, and is currently the guitarist of the French government program, Déclic, which sponsors young classical musicians.

Recently back from tours in Mexico and Asia, Maud continues to perform regularly in North America and Europe, both solo and with fellow Peabody alumnus and classical guitarist, Ben Beirs, in Duo Transatlantique. In parallel and thanks to "Coeur en Fête" and "Creative Access," Maud gives volunteer performances for disadvantaged audiences on both sides of the ocean.

Her latest CD "Imagerie Musicale" has been hailed by Guitare Classique magazine as "the work of an exceptional musician".

(from http://www.maudlaforest.com/assets/bio.php)


Craig D'Andrea & Hiroya Tsukamoto

 November 22 

D'Andrea & Tsukamoto - Saturday, November 22, 2014 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Craig D'Andrea and Hiroya Tsukamoto are two of New England's top young steel string guitar champions, each bringing fresh original sounds to our stage.

Craig D'Andrea

Craig D'Andrea is one of the younger faces you will find on the acoustic guitar scene but he isn't playing like he's 23 years old. Craig has been receiving support from fans and critics alike since releasing his debut album Crazy is Catching on CandyRat Records in March of 2007. The release of his album, along with his title of 2007 Canadian Fingerstyle Champion, has given him the chance to tour in the United States and Canada with respected artists Andy McKee, Don Ross, Antoine Dufour and Peter Ciluzzi.

Craig's first experience with an instrument was in the third grade when he began taking mandatory lessons at Riverside Elementary School; for whatever reason he decided to play the cello. On the first day of middle school Craig quit because he could not read music and was apparently playing by ear during the last three years. There was not much music being played until the summer before ninth grade when his grandmother gave him two baritone ukuleles. The baritone uke is strung like the high four strings of a guitar, so they share certain chord shapes, and Craig had no problem learning to play this isntrument on his own.

In October of 1999 Craig began taking guitar lessons at the local music store from a teacher named Mike Mirtsopoulos. Mike was (and is) a greatly supportive teacher who helped Craig learn guitar from the ground up. Lessons in scales, site reading, technique, creativity and how to set personal goals were all part of the weekly practice regiment. During the time of these lessons Craig was introduced to fingerstyle guitar through standard beginner pieces like "Mood for a Day" by Steve Howe and "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. Eventually Craig began listening to Fleetwood Mac and learned most of the Lindsay Buckingham's guitar parts.

The music of Don Ross was the first to really catch Craig's attention and show him that the guitar can survive on its own. Over the next few years Craig learned most of Don's music as well as many pieces by Kottke and Hedges. High school brought on the opportunity to take classes in electronic music composition. It was in this class that Craig seriously began to write music using MIDI sequencing software and eventually the compositional ideas turned towards the guitar.

A unexpected phone call from Rob Poland in 2005 was the first time that Craig thought about seriously devoting himself to making a career at music. Rob had the idea to start CandyRat Records which would only feature acoustic guitarists and offered Craig a spot on the initial roster. Although it took two years for Craig to feel comfortable with the music that would become his debut there were other activities filling the time. The Canadian Guitar Festival's fingerstyle competition was something that D'Andrea was interested in being part of. The competition was more difficult than anticipated and in 2005 Craig did not even make it to the second round. In 2006 a third place finish behind, now CandyRat artists Kelly Valleau and Antoine Dufour, was enough to gain a small amount of notoriety in the fingerstyle community. The next year Craig managed to release Crazy is Catching and win at the Canadian Guitar Festival.

The hardwork had finally started to payoff and in late 2007 and 2008 Craig had been invited to tour with Don Ross, Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour.

For now we are up-to-date on my musical life. I am recording my second CD in November and I am expecting a September release of a DVD with Antoine Dufour and Pete Ciluzzi. I will fill in my bio as I age and accomplish things..

Hiroya Tsukamoto

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a one of a kind composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after. In 1994, Hiroya entered The Osaka University and while at college in Japan, Hiroya was introduced to a musical and social movement in South America called Nueva Cancion headed by musical legends such as Victor Jara and Violeta Parra.

In 2000, Hiroya received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the United States. He is also the recipient of the Professional Music Achievement Award. Hiroya completed a debut album entitiled "The Other Side of the World" with his band INTEROCEANICO and released in 2004. His composition entitled "El Otro Lado del Mundo" was nominated as the finalist of The USA Songwriting Competition 2004 and "Samba de Siempre" in 2005, also "Seventh Night" is the finalist of International Acoustic Music Award in 2006. Hiroya released his second album entitled "Confluencia" in 2006 and the third album"Where the River Shines" in 2008.

Hiroya has been leading concerts with his group including several appearances at Blue Note in New York and he performed with Esperanza Spalding, Marta Gomez, Kendrick Scott(The Crusadors), Pete Kennedy (The Kennedys) and Dave Maxwell(Muddy Waters Band).

Hiroya's recent album is "Heartland" which was released in August 2012 from 333discs. In October 2012, Hiroya did four days live performances on Japan Public TV(NHK) program "El Mundo".

(from http://www.hiroyatsukamoto.com/biographyenglish.html)


Holiday Party 2014

 December 5 

Holiday Party - Friday, December 5, 2014 6:00 PM
Location to be determined.

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


Freddie Bryant

 February 7 

Freddie Bryant - Saturday, February 7, 2015 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Freddie has distinguished himself as an eclectic nylon string guitar wizard. Known for his jazz career which has covered the gamut from straight-ahead to Brazilian and World styles, he has always been rooted in the classical guitar tradition.

The great guitarist Kenny Burrell wrote, "Freddie Bryant is a brilliant young guitarist and composer." He is a versatile musician skilled both in jazz and classical music receiving his BA from Amherst College '87, Master's degree in classical guitar from the Yale School of Music and currently teaches at Williams College in Massachusetts in the Africana and Music departments and at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.

Freddie is currently in demand in the New York jazz scene where he works with Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet (new CD "Memories of T" on Concord Records), the Mingus Orchestra. He is also on the first call list of many singers and Brazilian musicians because of his sensitive accompanying and his knowledge of Brazilian guitar and has toured with pianist/singer Eliane Elias.

He has four CDs as a leader: Brazilian Rosewood, Boogaloo Brasileiro, Live at Smoke (Fresh Sound Records) and Take Your Dance into Battle (Jazz City Spirit). He has two recent CDs with collaborative groups: Trio del Sol with Misha Piatogorsky and Gilad and Dharma Jazz with Lewis Porter, Badal Roy and Karttikeya.

Freddie has also had the honor of touring with three legends of the music world: African singer, Salif Keita, the virtuoso klezmer clarinetist, Maestro Giora Feidman and the jazz trumpet great, Tom Harrell (as a member of his quintet, 1999-2001). He has recorded and/or played with Tom Harrell, D.D. Jackson, Steve Wilson, Kevin Hays, Rosanna Vitro, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila Jordan, Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, and many others.

Over the years he has toured in 50 countries and has had the opportunity of collaborating with musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds including the Indian sitarist, Shubhendra Rao, the Kenyan singers, Achien'g Abura, Suzanna Owiyo, the Taarab master oud player Zein L'abdin and traditional groups in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. In 2006 he performed in Cuba as a solo artist and spent a week of musical exchange with Cuban musicians including the trumpet player, "El Greco" formerly of Irakere. He has toured as a cultural ambassador for The U.S. Department of State four times and performed at the Kennedy Center with the Billy Taylor Trio appearing on National Public Radio Show, "Live at the Kennedy Center."

Education has always been a large part of his musical life. He has taught all ages from young children to university students and has lectured about jazz to audiences around the world. In 2004 he was chosen to be a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College. Currently he is on the faculty of Williams College and the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.

(from http://www.freddiebryant.com/press/shortbio.pdf)



 February 21 

INFLAME - Saturday, February 21, 2015 8:00 PM
Town & Country Club, 22 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT (Directions)

Inflame creates an exciting, magical blend of Flamenco and Indian music with guitar, mandolin, sitar, and tablas; hot and spicy.

Snehasish Mozumder:- Snehasish Mozumder is among those few established musicians in India who has mastered the art of playing Mandolin, and has blended it perfectly into the style of Hindustani Indian Classical Music. He has performed many major festivals in India like Sankat Mochan Utsav of Varanasi Swami Haridas Sangeet Sanmelan of Mumbai, and also he has toured Europe, U.K., and USA and made a very good name amongst the music lovers. Snehasish is the recipient of Surmani and Jadubhatta Awards.

Cristian Puig:-Cristian Puig was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When he was 19 years old, Cristian began his studies in classical guitar at the conservatory of Manuel de Falla as well as flamenco guitar with his father. Soon he took classes in flamenco guitar with Quique de Cordoba and furthered his studies in jazz, bosa nova and contemporary music with various teachers.

Peter Basil Bogdanos:- Peter Basil Bogdanos is a multi-faceted percussionist/drummer who has worked with major figures in flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, rock acts and everything in between. In the past twenty years, he has toured the United States, Japan and Europe with Grammy winning hip-hop group the Digable Planets, Motown artists Zhane, jazz great Bobby Previte's Bitches Brew project, salsa legend Orlando Maritin, just to name few.

Kumar Das:- In 1995, Kumar Das immigrated to the United States and in 2001 he was initiated by his guru and world-renowned tabla maestro, Pandit Samir Chatterjee. Since then he has been going through the rigorous discipline of lessons and practice according to the ancient guru-shishya parampara (master-disciple tradition). Pt. Samir Chatterjee later became his paternal guardian who guides him musically and in every aspect in his life.

(from http://www.inflameclassic.com/bios.html)


Anton Baranov

 March 7 

Anton Baranov - Saturday, March 7, 2015 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

We are always proud to feature the latest classical virtuoso GFA International Competition winner!

Russian guitarist Anton Baranov is a prizewinner of more then fifteen prestigious international guitar competitions, including the Koblenz Guitar Competition, Andrés Segovia Competition, Agustín Barrios Competition, Robert Vidal Competition, and Pittaluga Guitar Competition. At the height of his young career, he won both the Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition and the Francisco Tárrega Competition in 2013.

Known for his daring interpretation and innovative programming, guitarist and composer Roland Dyens calls him, "a real musician, one of those rare guitarists who are able to have their attendees almost forget the instrument they play, managing to have them focus on the expressivity of the music and only this."

As part of his prize from winning the GFA competition, Mr. Baranov will embark on a 50-city concert tour throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil, and has just recorded his first album on the Naxos label. Mr. Baranov has been a D'Addario artist since 2013. He currently teaches at his alma mater, the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Anton Baranov was born in 1984 in the Northwest region of Russia. He graduated from the famous St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in 2010 under grants from the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Russian Performing Arts Foundation.

(from http://www.guitarfoundation.org/?ABBio2014)

Viva Quetzal

 April 11 

Viva Quetzal - Saturday, April 11, 2015 8:00 PM
Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford (Directions)

Viva Quetzal ends our series of fusion bands mixing native Andean and Latin rhythms with jazz and rock in a most exciting way.

Viva Quetzal member biographies.

Joe Belmont signed his first record contract at the age of seventeen. He has been performing professionally for over twenty years. Originally self-taught, he later studied classical guitar and eventuall0y received a degree in music theory and composition at the City College of New York. Joe has extensive performance and recording experience in a wide variety of styles with many musical ensembles. He has released two recordings of his own music and has produced and performed on recordings for other musicians, including performances on film sound tracks. He serves as an adjunct faculty member of the music departments at Amherst College, Dartmouth College, and the University of Massachusettes at Amherst. He has been with Viva Quetzal since 1992 performing on classical and electric guitar, and Colombian tiple.

Roberto Clavijo was born in Chile where he's been a professional musician since the age of 18. He was the director of a folkloric song and dance group in Chile. He later toured much of South and Central America with the renown folkloric group Guamary, playing in folk clubs, on television and university concerts in Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Curacao. Roberto came to the United States in 1981. He toured Great Britain in 1992-1993 with the group Gypsy Real, playing on BBC radio in England and Wales. As a member of Viva Quetzal since 1993 he can be heard performing on quenas, zampoñas, charango, Venezuelan cuatro, and vocals. Roberto is also a skilled folkloric wind and stringed instrument maker.

Wes Brown (bass) has performed and toured with a wide range of musical personalities. Wes plays acoustic and electric bass, keyboard, percussion and African flute. His current interests include African-American/jazz, Afro-pop/worldbeat, reggae and traditional African styles. Wes has appeared on over two dozen records with various artists and has extensive international touring experience with such artists as Earl "Fatha" Hines and Anthony Braxton.

Jon Weeks performs on flute, saxophones, wind synth, quena, congas, and small percussion. He has studied music at Berklee College of Music, Westfield State College and Holyoke Community College. Jon has performed with many latin, jazz, and rock bands up and down the East Coast such as Sol Y Canto, Orquesta Unidad, Ray Gonzalez, Jose Gonzalez, The Temptations and many others. Jon is currently teaching private lessons at Downtown Sounds (Northampton, MA) and The Northampton Community Music Center (Northampton, MA). He is also director of instrumental ensembles at The Charlemont Academy (Charlemont, MA). Currently he can be heard performing with Viva Quetzal, Joe Velez & Creación, Satinwood, Northside Saxophone Quartet, Lalit and the reggae group iIdren.

Jeff Nissenbaum has been a professional drummer for over 15 years. After studying classical violin for ten years, he began his drum studies with David Barrett. Jeff studied with Keith Copeland and Max Roach at the UMass Jazz in July workshop. He performed for the Lee Strasberg Creative Center in Los Angeles in 1989 and the Bright Moments Festival with the Afro-Andean band Quetzal in 1994. In addition, he has performed for and recorded with numerous contemporary groups of varying styles, including Ben Demerath, Steel Wave, and the Muze Jazz Ensemble.

Abraham "Abe" Sanchez was born in Venezuela where started playing the cuatro, a small four string guitar, at the age of 5 He went on to learn guitar and bass before settling on the piano and keyboards in his late teens. He played with the Orchestra Latina while he studied in the Conservatorio de Musica de Maracay. Later he added to his knowledge of traditional Latin American music when he spent a year playing, singing, and handling the musical arrangements for the mariachi group, Aguilas de Michoacan. Abe was also the director of Adoniram, a music school in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. During this time he had numerous opportunities to accompany national and international musicians touring in the area. Abe came to the United States in 2003 where he taught Spanish and music at Grace Christian School in Bennington, VT. He then began accompanying the Williams College Gospel Choir and is currently their regular pianist and musical arranger. In recent years Abe has also had the opportunity to travel to Italy, Canada, Mexico, and Honduras and team up with local musicians for some concert series and music workshops. Abe joined Viva Quetzal in 2007 where he can be found singing vocals and having a good old time behind his keyboard.

(from http://www.vivaquetzal.com/bios.htm)




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