Guitar Concert Series

The Skaneateles Library and the Great Lakes Guitar Society would like to invite you to join us for a classic guitar concert series with some of the best musicians in the region! We are scheduling great guitar performances every month! All shows are FREE unless otherwise noted. Check our calendar for the latest info. All of these concerts are held in Library Hall (upstairs at the library), unless otherwise noted. Please be aware that Library Hall is only accessible by a flight of stairs, there is no elevator access.

Upcoming Performances

Saturday, April 27th at 7:30 PM: Lynn McGrath Presents Members of the Eastman Community School Classical Guitar Program

The Eastman Community Music School’s award-winning classical guitar youth performers will share a wide range of ensemble and solo music in this very special offering! Directed by Lynn McGrath and presenting themes from Star Wars to Latin American and African folk songs (with a dash of Mozart thrown in), members of the ECMS Youth Ensemble (ages 14-17) are bright, rising stars in the classical guitar arena. Be ready to tap your toes and let your imagination take flight for a night featuring music from around the world!

Saturday, May 18th at 7:30 PM: Stephen Bennett

One of the most prolific and original finger-style guitarists of his generation, Stephen Bennett is also a leading exponent of the harp guitar. A challenging teacher, a gifted composer, and a performer of “great sensitivity”, the Toronto Finger-Style Guitar Association referred to him as “the Jedi Master of Finger-style Guitar.” Stephen has performed around the world and shared the stage with some of the finest guitarists there are. Concert supported in part by SKARTS.

Saturday, June 15th at 7:30 PM: John Ferrara

John Ferrara is a graduate of the Crane School of Music. During his studies he was chosen to perform in many Master Classes with world renowned artists including Sergio Assad, Ricardo Cobo, and Antigoni Goni & Pepe Romero. Ferrara is now in high demand as an instructor himself and teaches at the Music School of CNY, his studio in Central New York.


Past Performances

Saturday, March 16th at 7:30 PM: Rick Balestra

Rick Balestra has performed as a featured soloist with the Syracuse Symphony and its pops orchestra and with the Syracuse Opera Company. He’s also taken part in local and regional jazz festivals and has performed with the creative musical ensembles Drivetime, Alliance, Group Therapy and Spaces.

Balestra was the originator and facilitator of the International Guitar Festival held at the State University of New York, Oswego, from 2000-08. At the festival he and other Central New York musicians performed with internationally known artists such as Rez Abbasi, John Abercrombie, Gene Bertoncini, Roni Ben Hur, Rodney Jones, Vic Juris, Jonathan Kriesberg, Peter Leitch and Mike Stern.

Saturday, February 16th at 7:30 PM: Kinloch Nelson

Kinloch Nelson’s 50-years-and-counting career has run the gamut from solo classical and folk concerts in coffeehouses and festivals to club dates with jazz, country, rockabilly, rock and rhythm and blues bands. Over the years Nelson has played with such notables as Tom Paxton, Amos Garrett, Buddy Guy and long-time influence Danny Gatton.

As a composer and recording artist, Nelson has been featured in concert on PBS TV and radio, contributed to Acoustic Guitar Magazine and performed with many of today’s fingerstyle guitar luminaries.   

“… a brilliant arranger who can do wonders with virtually any song.” Dave Walker of Just Jazz Magazine

Saturday, January 26th @ 7:30 PM: Ricardo Saeb

Mexican guitarist Ricardo Saeb has performed in venues across Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. His performances have been described as “perfectly balanced,” “of an exquisite subtlety,” and “simply spectacular.” His tours have taken him to cities as diverse as Querétaro, Beirut, Ciudad Juárez, Austin, Boston, Dallas, and Córdoba.

Saturday, December 15th at 7:30 PM: The Music School of CNY Classic Guitar Ensemble

The Music School of CNY Classic Guitar Ensemble is a talented group of music students dedicated to promoting the classic guitar literature and its rich history throughout the community. The group performs a wide variety of music representing many cultures from around the world dating from the Renaissance to the present day. The ensemble at times features additional instruments and performers to achieve a rich, dynamic and full range of sound.This ensemble is made up of a group of students enrolled in private classical guitar studies and younger students participating in the Syracuse Childbloom Guitar Program. The majority of these students have been playing guitar for a few years and have demonstrated a high aptitude of music reading, tone production and playing ability. These students are studying with John Ferrara, who also performs with and directs the group.

Wednesday, November 7th at 7:30 PM: Jason Vieaux – at the First Presbyterian Church

Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is the guitarist that goes beyond the classical. NPR describes Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and earned a place on NPR’s “50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far)” for Vieaux’s recording of “Zapateado.” Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. His solo recitals have been a feature at every major guitar series in North America and at many of the important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico.

Saturday, October 20th at 7:30 PM: Alex Lassa

Alex Lassa is pursuing a Masters in Classical Guitar Performance at Syracuse University and is currently studying with Dr. Kenneth Meyer.  He earned his BM and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 2017, where he was a student of Dr. Nicholas Goluses and had lessons with 2006 Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) international competition winner, Thomas Viloteau. Alex is also passionate about teaching and is pursuing a Certificate of University Teaching in addition to his master’s degree. He currently teaches a beginner-level guitar class at SU and private lessons. He has participated in various competitions, most recently the 2018 GFA, as well as master classes, including with Manuel Barrueco, Xavier Jara, Jason Vieaux, Eliot Fisk and Matt Palmer. He has also performed in multiple rock groups, musical pit bands and is well versed in rock/pop styles and jazz in addition to his classical studies. Prior to attending Eastman, he was a part of ensembles that performed two world premieres, including 2012’s Shiki, written and conducted by Shingo Fuji, alongside the Grammy-awarded Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

Saturday, September 22nd at 7:30 PM: Muriel Anderson & Luis Gallo

One of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp-guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. Her CD Nightlight Daylight was chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of the decade by Guitar Player Magazine and her Heartstrings recording accompanied the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery. She has performed/recorded with Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Victor Wooten, Tommy Emmanuel and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. Her obvious joy of music, humor and her facility across the genres of folk, classical, jazz, bluegrass and international music is revered by guitarists worldwide. An engaging performer, Muriel’s unique approach to the instrument virtually transforms the guitar into a lyrical choir, then a marching band, then a Japanese koto, then a Bluegrass band – one minute launching into a Beatles’ tune and the next, a Rodrigo concerto. Muriel is host of the renowned Muriel Anderson’s ALL STAR GUITAR NIGHT® and founder of the MUSIC FOR LIFE ALLIANCE charity.

Luis Gallo is a Spanish flamenco guitarist and composer. Gallo has been working with artists such as Ara Malikian, Jose Luis Montón, Jorge Pardo, Alfredo Lagos, Raimundo Amador and Vasko Vassilev, playing on some of the most renowned international music stages (Teatro Real de Madrid, Helsinki Universal Guitar Festival, Madrid Jazz Festival, Vienna Flamenco Festival, Festival delle Nazioni, Lleida Auditorium, Kursaal de San Sebastián and many more). Gallo toured for 6 years with one of the best violin players in the world, Ara Malikian. Malikian and Gallo recorded a live album in Madrid, Spain which was recognized with a 2015 Latin Grammy nomination. Gallo also recently received a Danish Music Awards nomination. As a documentary music composer, he works regularly with different production companies and has also recorded for big international projects such as Genius: Picasso (National Geographic).

Wednesday, August 29th at 7:30 PM: Kenneth Meyer

Kenneth Meyer is an instructor of music at the Syracuse University Setnor School of Music.  He was the national first-prize winner at the Music Teacher’s National Association Collegiate Artist Competition and is regarded by the Washington Post as “A thinking man’s guitarist – he focuses on the inner structure of a piece…and plays with impressive gravity and power.” The Buffalo News has called him “Impeccably articulate with superb technique.” Frequently in demand as a guest artist at colleges and universities across the country, Mr. Meyer has given concerts and lectures at the Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, the University of Southern Mississippi, North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Hochstein School of Music, Canisius College and the University of Caracas in Venezuela. He is an active performer and teacher at music festivals and has been featured at the Rome, Alexandria, Eastman Guitar Summerfest and the Alirio Diaz Guitar Festivals. Mr. Meyer holds degrees in music composition and performance from SUNY at Fredonia and master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He has served on the faculties of East Carolina University, SUNY at Fredonia and the Eastman School of Music and currently directs a thriving guitar studies program at the Syracuse University Setnor School of Music and Onondaga Community College.

Saturday, July 21st at 7:30 PM: Loren Barrigar Fundraising Concert at First Presbyterian Church

This special ticketed performance will help raise funds to support free monthly guitar concerts at the library! Loren started playing guitar when he was only four years old, and by the time he was six, he played the Chet Atkins hit Yackety Axe in front of thousands of country music fans at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. He went on to study with Jimmy Atkins (Chet’s brother), which led to a touring career with his family band from Nashville to Las Vegas. Since settling in Central New York, he has been in constant demand as a studio musician and recently produced and played on the #1 rated CD in Syracuse, Dusty Pas’cal’s Home (2007). His finely-honed songwriting skills have launched his melodies on NBC’s hit show ER, The Young and the Restless, and on a Christmas CD with BB King and Patti Labelle. He has recently performed with some of the best acoustic players in the world including Steven Bennett, Richard Smith, John Knowles, Muriel Anderson (performing at the library in September), and Loren’s friend and mentor Tommy Emmanuel, the Australian guitar sensation. He has also recorded with multiple Grammy-winner and legendary producer Lloyd Maines.

Saturday, June 23rd: Aaron Civic

Aaron Civic is finishing his Master of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where he studies classical guitar performance and serves as graduate assistant in the guitar studio of Julian Gray. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, and an Associate in Science degree from Schenectady County Community College’s School of Music. He has played in masterclasses with world-renowned guitarists such as Benjamin Verdery, Nigel North, Berta Rojas and Ricardo Gallén. Civic’s career did not begin as a classical guitarist. After his initial experiences learning and performing standard popular songs on electric guitar, he incorporated a keyboard/synthesizer to produce drums and bass and a looping pedal to combine each instrument. His varied experience in the music scene (as an electric guitarist and later a classical guitarist) has allowed Civic to perform at a wide range of venues throughout upstate New York and beyond. Civic currently serves as a music instructor at numerous private music schools in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. He works with aspiring musicians of all ages and all skill levels, helping them to attain their musical goals while also serving their needs as well-rounded musicians.

Saturday, May 26th: David Steinhardt

Classical guitarist David Steinhardt currently studies with the Grammy Award-winning guitarist William Kanengiser and Pepe Romero as a scholarship student at the USC Thornton School of Music. From the age 11 he has performed in numerous competitions and festivals in the US, Canada and Europe. David has been a prize winner in over 10 competitions including 1st Place at the 2012 Montreal International Youth Guitar Competition, Winner of the 2013 American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition (Junior Guitar Division), 1st Place at the 2014 Great Lakes Collegiate Guitar Competition, and 1st Place at the 2015 Hamilton International Guitar Competition. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras making his debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014. That year he was also featured on the NPR Radio Show, From the Top. Other notable performances include the 2013 Montreal International Guitar Festival headlining concert (with Polish virtuoso Marcin Dylla), WXXI’s Backstage Pass (with Christopher O’Riley and Sir James Galway), concert at the 2016 Hamilton International Guitar Festival, and Classical KUSC’s Sunday’s Live. In 2018, David performed the LA premier of Stephen Goss’ A Concerto of Colours. David plays a guitar made by the Spanish luthier, Paco Santiago Marin.

Saturday, April 21st: Matthew Gillen

Praised by The Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York as possessing “sensitive, energetic, and thoughtful musicianship” and “beautiful phrasing”, Matthew Gillen has become a frequent prize winner at international guitar competitions. Most recently, he received first place at The Lone Star Guitar Competition, while past awards have included first place at the East Carolina University Guitar Competition, the 20th Annual Appalachian GuitarFest, and the Classical Guitar Society of Tallahassee Competition. As a founding member of the Florida Guitar Quartet, he was selected to tour Costa Rica in 2014 through the Promising Artists of the 21st Century program, sponsored by the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano. Gillen began his early musical studies as a pianist before branching out to trombone, followed by various styles of electric guitar. Though he came to the classical guitar relatively late, at the age of 17, he draws on his years of experience with other instruments and styles to develop colorful and diverse interpretations of solo guitar repertoire from all time periods. Gillen is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, where he serves as Teaching Assistant under Adam Holzman. Additionally, he holds a Master’s degree in Performance from the Florida State University, where he studied with Bruce Holzman, and Bachelor’s degrees in Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College with Pablo Cohen.

Saturday, March 31st: Austin Wahl

Austin Wahl is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began study of the classical guitar at age five with Alan Johnston, a former member of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. Subsequently, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a performer’s certificate at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he is currently a doctoral student of Dr. Nicholas Goluses. Wahl has won top prizes in Great Lakes Guitar Society Competition, Montreal Competition, Schubert Club Competition, Thursday Musical Competition, University of Louisville Competition, Indiana University Competition, Southern Guitar Festival, Lone Star Guitar Competition, and Hamilton Guitar Competition. He has performed in masterclasses for guitarists such as David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Sharon Isbin, Eliot Fisk, Lorenzo Micheli, Matteo Mela, Roland Dyens, and Raphaella Smits. In addition to his classical playing, Wahl enjoys numerous other styles of music. He won the 2009 youth division of the Minnesota State Fair Bluegrass Flatpicking competition, and has performed in a bluegrass band masterclass for internationally known banjoist Bela Fleck. At age 14 he also built a fully functional electric guitar (dubbed the “Wahl-o-Caster”) with a body of solid purpleheart, weighing in at nearly fifteen pounds.

Saturday, February 24th at 7:30 PM: Lynn McGrath

Lynn McGrath’s unique fusion of poetry and guitar blend her passion for theater, literature and guitar. As a touring soloist, chamber artist and respected pedagogue, McGrath has appeared in North America, South America, Europe and New Zealand as performer, lecturer and an adjudicator of a number of international and national competitions. In addition to solo performances, McGrath is a member of the highly acclaimed Tantalus Guitar Quartet and former member of the trio, Presti. After receiving degrees in Spanish Language and Literature as well as Education, she completed a music degree at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (where she taught as a full-time instructor) and went on to earn a MM and DMA from the University of Southern California. In 2016, Lynn taught as an adjunct instructor at Oklahoma City University and in Fall of 2017 joined the faculty at the Eastman Community Music School, University of Rochester, NY.

Saturday, January 20th at 7:30 PM: Benjamin Ellis

Ellis will perform a collection of romantic and contemporary music that highlights the many expressive capabilities of the guitar. The program features the music of composers Agustin Barrios Mangoré Heitor Villa-Lobos, Jorge Morel, Isaac Albéniz and Roland Dyens. Benjamin Ellis is adjunct professor of Guitar and director of the Classical Guitar Ensemble at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and at St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy. He holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University in Classical Guitar Performance studying under Dr. Kenneth Meyer, and a bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Fredonia School of Music, studying under under Evan Drummond. Ellis performs regularly as both a soloist and chamber musician, performing with groups such as the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, the Hendricks Chapel Choir at Syracuse University, the Hobart and William Smith Chorale, Syracuse Opera, and as part of the Great Lakes Guitar Quartet. He is also part of the LaLena-Ellis Duo, whose most recent performance was at the Day of Guitar Festival at Onondaga Community College. An active teacher in the Syracuse area, Ellis has been featured as a guest instructor at Syracuse University, Mansfield University and the Eastern U.S. Music Camp at Colgate University. In addition to teaching and performing, Ellis serves as President of the Great Lakes Guitar Society, working to promote the classical guitar in the greater New York area.

Thursday, December 14th 2017 at 7:00 PM: The Music School of CNY Classic Guitar Ensemble

The Music School of CNY Classic Guitar Ensemble is a talented group of music students dedicated to promoting the classic guitar literature and its rich history throughout the community. The group performs a wide variety of music representing many cultures from around the world dating from the Renaissance to the present day. The ensemble at times features additional instruments and performers to achieve a rich, dynamic and full range of sound. This ensemble is made up of a group of students enrolled in private classical guitar studies and younger students participating in the Syracuse Childbloom Guitar Program. The majority of these students have been playing guitar for a few years and have demonstrated a high aptitude of music reading, tone production and playing ability. These students are studying with John Ferrara, who also performs with and directs the group.