The 14th New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes

Group photo of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes faculty and participants.  Photo credit:  Mariano Aguirre.

Group photo of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes faculty and participants. Photo credit: Mariano Aguirre.

The 14th New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes ran from June 24th to June 29th, featuring Masters from the Academy: guest faculty Fabio Zanon, Benjamin Verdery, Dennis Koster, Andrew Zohn, Robert Sharpe, Ana Vidovic, Tali Roth, Michael Newman, Laura Oltman, Seth Himmelhoch, Allen Krantz, Mariano Aguirre and Ana Maria Rosado.

100 participants attended the gently air-conditioned event in New York City to learn how to improve their guitar playing skills through a variety of master classes, ensemble rehearsals, hands-on forums and evening faculty concerts. Artistic Director Michael Newman says, “This year we had attendees from Colombia, Brazil, Ireland, Argentina, Croatia, Italy and China. In the past fourteen years, we’ve had participants from over sixty different countries and at least 40 different states within the U.S.”

The event began with an evening concert held at the Americas Society with guest artist Fábio Zanon and resumed the next day with mid-morning registration and orientation followed by early afternoon masterclasses.

During the course of the week, guest faculty Fábio Zanon, Ana Vidovic, Dennis Koster and Benjamin Verdery each presented group forum masterclasses which focused on a particular topic devoted to developing and improving one’s musicianship.




Ana Vidovic in concert.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Ana Vidovic in concert. Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Ana Vidovic performed the Wednesday evening concert with a program of Sor’s Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9, Torroba’s Sonatina (Allegretto; Andante; Allegro), Barrios’ Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios, Albeniz’s Granada and Asturias (Leyenda,( Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998, Takemitsu’s arrangement of Yeserday (from 12 Songs for Guitar), Barrios’ La Catedral and Lauro’s Three Venezuelan Waltzes: El Marabino, Vals Venezolano no. 2 and Vals Venezolano No. 3.

Thursday through Friday offered a morning performance class and open stage performance session for participants followed by an afternoon of masterclasses. An Academy Forum lecture discussed the various angles of researching and pinpointing the undergraduate and graduate music school program that best suits one’s goals.

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo in Concerts.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo in Concerts. Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo presented the Thursday evening faculty concert with a program of Bach’s Jesus bleibet meine Freude from Cantata No. 147, Herz und Mond, Chorale: Wachet auf (Wake, Awake), Zion hört die Wächter signen (from Cantata No. 140, Wachet auf), Canova da Milano’s Fantasia sexta, Fantasia quarta, Ricercar prima, Ricercar seconda, Liebermann’s Nocturne-Fantasy, Opus 69, Moravee’s Raritan Triptych, Karmon’s Battery’s Dead and Turn Signals from Caught in the Headlights, Albéniz’s Bajo la palmera (from Cantos de España), Cataluña (from Cantos de España) and Asturie (from Espagne—Souvenirs).

Friday afternoon, the participants shared a soloist concert before the evening faculty concert that opened with the Sharpe-Zohn Duo. Sharpe studied with Zohn at the Schwob School of Music (Columbus State University) and, after Sharpe joined the faculty, they formed a duo in 2012.

Their program opened with Zohn’s arrangement of Mozart’s Divertimento, K 439b, No. 3 in five movements, followed by Zohn’s composition, Cervo Sonatina and then Radamés Gnattali’s Suite Retratos: Pixinguinha (Choro), Ernesto Nazareth (Valse), Anacleto de Medeiros (Schottisch), Chiquinha Gonazaga (Corta-jaca).

Tali Roth in concert.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

Tali Roth in concert. Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

Tali Roth, who teaches the pre-college program at Juilliard, performed as the second guest artist of the evening with a program of Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Albéniz’ Asturias (Leyenda) and Rumores de la Caleta (Malaguena), her arrangement of Rodrigo’s Adagio from Concerto de Aranjuez, Ruiz-Pipó’s Canción y Danza, her arrangement of Bach’s Prelude from Suite in E Major, BWV 1006a and Piazzolla’s Adiós Nonino and Libertango.

Benjamin Verdery in concert.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

Benjamin Verdery in concert. Photo courtesy of Aguirre/Gilsinan.

For Saturday’s faculty concert, Benjamin Verdery performed a concert program that opened with his piece, Capitola, Diaz’s arrangement of Couperin’s Les Barricades Mystérieuses, Verdery’s Now and Ever in 2 movements, Verdery’s arrangement of Bach’s Cello Suite in E-flat major, No. 4, BWV 1010 performed on a baritone classical guitar, Laderman’s On Vineyard Sound, Marshall’s Soepa for digital delay and loop in 3 movements, and Four North American Songs arranged by Verdery: Prince’s Kiss, Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl, Randy Newman’s In Germany Before the War and Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel.

Sunday morning, New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes participant Joy Zelada was the lucky winner of the drawing for a new guitar donated by event sponsor Guitar Salon International.

Artistic Directors Laura Oltman and Michael Newman presenting participant Joy Zelada as the winner of the drawing for the new guitar from event sponsor Guitar Salon International.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Artistic Directors Laura Oltman and Michael Newman presenting participant Joy Zelada as the winner of the drawing for the new guitar from event sponsor Guitar Salon International. Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Artistic Director Laura Oltman points out why this one summer guitar program has been long-lasting and beloved: “Come to New York and learn to play the guitar well.   The New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes is not about competition but inclusion.”

Guitarist Pedro Baez, faculty members Dennis Koster and Mariano Aguirre.  Photo courtesy of Mariano Aguirre.

Guitarist Pedro Baez, faculty members Dennis Koster and Mariano Aguirre. Photo courtesy of Mariano Aguirre.

Artistic Directors Michael Newman and Laura Oltman with guitarist-composer Arthur Kampela, recipient of the 2014 Guggenheim Award for Creative Arts in Music Composition.  Photo Credit:  Mariano Aguirre.

Mannes faculty Mariano Aguirre with his student John Bogan, this year's first place winner of the GFA's Senior Division of the Youth Competition.  Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Mannes faculty Mariano Aguirre with his student John Bogan, this year’s first place winner of the GFA’s Senior Division of the Youth Competition. Photo courtesy of Aguirre.

Next year’s 15th New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes has the (tentative) dates of June 23-28th—stay tuned.   And it will be a particularly sentimental one as it will be the last major event held at the 150 W. 85th Street location, where the school has resided for the past thirty years, before it relocates next autumn to its new facilities at the New School University complex in the Greenwich Village.

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