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! Check our calendar for the latest info. This series is supported in part by a generous gift from Kathleen Brownjohn.

Read this in-depth interview with James Horan, the creative force behind the series!

Upcoming Performances

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, July 21st: Loren Barrigar Fundraising Concert for Future Performances

Join us for a special performance to support the library’s Guitar Concert Series! Stay tuned for details!

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, 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.

Wednesday, August 29th: 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.


Past Performances

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.