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Stay up to date with all the latest happenings in the guitar world. On this blog, you'll find information about competitions, notable awards, obituaries, job openings and placements, and more. To submit an entry for Reverberations Live, please email


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Vladimir Gorbach Appointed to Faculty at CSU Fullerton

Posted By Connie Sheu, Sunday, September 1, 2013

Russian guitarist Vladimir Gorbach has been appointed to the faculty of the Classical Guitar Department at California State University, Fullerton. Gorbach will work alongside GFA President Martha Masters in teaching at one of the longest running guitar programs in Southern California.

Gorbach is the winner of the 2011 GFA International Concert Artist Competition. He will begin his new duties as part-time faculty at CSU Fullerton this fall in addition to his new role as the first International Artist Fellow in Music at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music to pursue his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) studies.

Guitar study at CSU Fullerton offers a variety of opportunities for the developing classical guitar student at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Having offered degrees in guitar for over 30 years, CSUF has one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs and has won an international reputation as one of the finest guitar programs today. Many graduates from the CSUF program are now active professional performers and teachers.

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Remembering José Madrigal

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, August 27, 2013

José Madrigal (1918-2013)

A living icon of guitar music in the Cincinnati area passed away on August 25, 2013.

José Madrigal was born in Michoacán, Mexico in 1918. A few years later, his family crossed the border seeking work and relief from civil war. They eventually settled in Blue Rock, Illinois (just south of Chicago), where José's father worked for the railroad. His mother died when José was around 11. While raising his younger siblings, he began playing a discarded guitar and soon found himself making more money for a single gig than his father could make in a week.

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, José enlisted in the army and fought bravely in Germany, winning several medals and US citizenship. His ability to master several languages, including German, became a useful skill, and he was often called upon to act as translator with POWs. After the war he found work playing guitar, and resumed his education, receiving a college degree in International Trade. Emulating Django Rinehardt and Chet Atkins, José listened to country western music and jazz standards on the radio, and soon became known by his many fans as "Country Joe". He also began exploring his musical heritage, following Andrés Segovia, and learning Spanish.

José soon found work in Ohio providing live music at radio station WHIO in Dayton. He married, raised several children, and joined the faculty at Northern Kentucky University. He retired in the early 90s, spending his later years teaching, building guitars, performing in a variety of styles and venues, and inspiring everyone whose life he touched with his music, and his indomitable, gentle spirit.

Tags:  Obituary 

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Berta Rojas Releases New CD

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Salsa Roja, is the new release from internationally acclaimed, Latin Grammy-nominated classical guitarist Berta Rojas. The CD, which borrows its name from a sultry dance with origins in Cuba, comprises 12 compositions that highlight the rhythms and sounds of Latin America, one of the most musically diverse regions of the world. Some of the composers featured on the CD include British guitarist Vincent Lindsey-Clark, Argentine Quique Sinesi and Julio César Oliva of Mexico.

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Peabody Preparatory Appoints Zane Forshee as Guitar Dept Chair

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Peabody Preparatory is pleased to announce the recent appointment of faculty member Zane Forshee as Guitar & Harp Department Chair. In addition, he will continue to coordinate guitar lessons and classes at the Preparatory's Towson campus on Dulaney Road. Forshee is a vibrant and innovative faculty member who, prior to this appointment, was instrumental in launching the Preparatory's annual Fret Festival. The event, now in its fifth year, is a day-long celebration of the guitar featuring master classes, workshops, student ensembles, vendor fair, kids' activities and performances by world-renowned guest guitarists. Please include this release in your publications as space permits and feel free to distribute online to your members and readership. Placement auditions and interviews are NOW being scheduled for individual instruction for the fall semester to be held on August 24 at the Peabody downtown campus in historic Mount Vernon. Fall semester lessons and classes begin Wednesday, September 4. Thank you for your assistance in promoting the Preparatory guitar department to the community at large.

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Eleftheria Kotzia Releases New CD "Gypsy Ballad"

Posted By Connie Sheu, Thursday, August 1, 2013
"It was the folkloric element, expressed by the special, intimate sound of the guitar which attracted me to the repertoire chosen for this recording. In a way, I feel as though I’ve come full circle since recording The Blue Guitar (incl. the first recording of Tippett’s Guitar Sonata), Mediterraneo (works by composers inspired by Greek music, which also reflect my Greek roots), La Guitarra Latina (South American music) and Fuoco (Mediterranean music).

These in turn inspired me to research and record music which pulled all these diverse strands together in repertoire containing folkloric, ethnic element from both the old and the new world.

The disc consists of a wide-ranging repertoire of little known works which I hope will be both stimulating and entertaining. They express the voice of the contemporary classical guitar and it’s music that I love.” - Eleftheria Kotzia

Gypsy Ballad includes the Spaniards Moreno Torroba and Joaquin Rodrigo as well as songs and dances from the ‘old world’ (Armenia, Macedonia, the Balkans, Persia[Iran]). The gypsy song Sostar Mange was beautifully crafted by the Czech composer Sylvia Bodorová in her Gypsy Ballad. From the ‘new world’ the famous tangos Cumparsita and El Choclo from Argentina and Uruguay are the only arrangements, alongside original music from Brazil, the infectious rhythms of the Afro-influenced music of the Caribbean and the purity of Venezuelan song.

Tags:  CD release 

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Sierra Nevada Classical Guitar Competition

Posted By Connie Sheu, Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Sierra Nevada Guitar Festival took place from July 10 to July 14, 2013. The festival included concerts and classes featuring Rene Izquierdo, Exaudi Duo, Gonzalo Bergara Quartet, Mobius Trio, Yuri Liberzon, 2012 Competition Winner Matthew Fish, and others. The 2013 Sierra Nevada Classical Guitar Competition results are:


1. Ivan Resendiz

2. Audra Vigil

3. Minh Nguyen

4. Nathan Holterman

5. Samuel Hines


AGE 15-18

1. Maximilian Mondzac

2. Austin Keller

3. Miguel Pulido

4. Christina Pao

Honorable Mention:

Andrew Holman, Joshua Allgood, Jamie Burtosky

AGE 11-14

1. Kyle Wong

2. Alicia Swanson


1. Simon Minami

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GFA 2013 Competition Winners

Posted By Connie Sheu, Sunday, July 14, 2013

GFA International Youth Competition – Junior Division

1 Grace Sheppard (USA)
2 Katie Cho (USA)
3 Beiyan Liu (China)
4 Alberto Quintanilla (Mexico)


GFA International Youth Competition – Senior Division

1 XiaoBo Pu (China)
2 Louis Xavier Barrette (Canada)
3 Alec Holcomb (USA)
4 Henry Johnston (USA)


GFA International Concert Artist Competition

1 Anton Baranov (Russia)
2 Artyom Dervoed (Russia)
3 Chad Ibison (USA)
4 You Wang (China)


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Remembering Rick Gartner

Posted By Connie Sheu, Thursday, June 27, 2013

A founding editor of Frets Magazine (a sister publication of Guitar Player), where he worked from 1978 to 1986, Rick Gartner was especially known for his insightful interviews with classical guitarists, including Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams, Narciso Yepes, and Christopher Parkening.

Born on 3 December 1950, Rick began playing when he was 14. Before landing the Frets job in 1978, which enabled him to bring his deep love for classical guitar to a large audience, he had graduated from California State University, Chico (1978), and taught guitar at nearby Butte Community College (1973 to 1978). In recent years, he had worked on a book concerning his decades-long battle with chronic back and neck pain.

His suffering ended on 16 May 2013, when he died of natural causes at the age of 62, taking with him the rare ability to understand things that he did not directly experience, including aspects of music. It recalls the quote by Leo Tolstoy, ‘All, everything that I understand, I understand because I love’.

Rick was a talented guitarist, gifted writer, and good friend to many. It was an honor to know him.

-Jim Ferguson

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Summer Guitar Program with Matthew Dunne

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, June 24, 2013

Guitarist/composer Matthew Dunne will begin teaching a week-­‐long summer guitar program specifically designed for guitar composers in beautiful Keene Valley NY, near Lake Placid in the heart of Adirondack Mountains, in the summer of 2013. The dates for this class are July 29-­‐Aug 2, 2013. The class is intended for student guitarist/composers, classical guitarists who are highly interested in composing for their instrument, and composers who play nylon-­‐string guitar and who have good music reading skills. The class will involve a daily group class and is designed to help students find and refine their voice as guitarist/composers. We’ll work on specific exercises to improve creativity and compositional technique, and we’ll explore issues that are central to developing a personal style on our instrument that has such an incredibly diverse set of traditions.

The class will conclude with a public recital of some of the music we worked on during the week.

Matthew Dunne is an award-­‐winning guitar/composer with an international reputation, having written several works for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the set piece for the GFA competition, and several other works performed and recorded by leading soloists and ensembles. Several of his works are published by Guitar Solo Publications, including the recent 20 Miniatures in a book/CD format. He has a distinguished career as an educator, and is dedicated to helping emerging guitarist/composers increase their skills and refine their creativity.

Keene Valley, NY is a small town in the heart of the beautiful Adirondack High Peaks region near Lake Placid. Fantastic hiking, climbing, camping, swimming, and paddling opportunities are in the immediate area. Even for those not inclined to these activities, the area provides a wonderful environment for creative thought and relaxed, stress free study.

For the inaugural class in Summer 2013, space is limited to 4 students. There is also a limited opportunity for student housing with host families in the town. This makes the class an exceptional value at $350, including housing for the week. Those wanting more info should contact Matthew Dunne at

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Julian Gray Joins Faculty at Shenandoah Conservatory

Posted By Connie Sheu, Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This Fall Julian Gray will be joining the faculty of the Shenandoah Conservatory of the Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia where he has been appointed as Professor of Music and Director of the Guitar Studies. As he begins his new role at Shenandoah he will remain Chair of the Guitar Department at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University continuing his studio there.

Recognized as one of the most gifted and eminent performers, recording artists and teachers in the guitar world, Julian Gray's career over three decades include critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian-Sono Luminus label and concert appearances and masterclasses throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. His work in helping to establish the guitar duo repertoire include his many arrangements for duo with partners Ronald Pearl and Serap Bastepe-Gray and the commissioning and premieres of works by composers such as Roberto Sierra, David Leisner, Gilbert Biberian, Loris Chobanian, William Bland, Oliver Hunt and Benjamin Verdery. His students are frequent top prize winners at major national and international solo guitar, guitar concerto and chamber ensemble competitions and his many former students are members of University, College and Conservatory faculties in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In commenting on his new position, Mr. Gray stated "I am tremendously pleased to become a member of the faculty of the Shenandoah Conservatory. With a long tradition of excellence and community, exciting new hires as the great Irish pianist John O'Conor and Jonathan Snowden (former principal flute of the London Philharmonic) and the visionary leadership of Dean Michael Stepniak, I see nothing but the most exciting prospects for the Conservatory's future. I am also looking forward to exploring the creative synergies possible between the Shenandoah and Peabody Conservatories and partnerships with Shenandoah's vibrant Theatre and Dance programs."

For more information about the Shenandoah Conservatory, please visit

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