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Ad Sales Manager and Vendor Expo Manager: Ryan Ayers
is a solo guitarist mixing together classical and fingerstyle techniques with accessible songs forms and structures. His stage show is a well-crafted blend of engaging music and interesting stories which have captivated audiences on both coasts. Ryan began playing guitar at the age of thirteen. He attended Loyola Marymount University and graduated with degrees in classical guitar performance and recording arts. He worked for nine years selling classical, flamenco, and steel string guitars at Trilogy Guitars in Playa Del Rey, CA. An active composer for over ten years, Ryan released his first record of original pieces for guitar entitled "ermita" in 2011 and he has continued writing and touring to share his music with audiences ever since. Ryan can be reached at
Education Director: Matthew Nishimoto
Matthew Nishimoto has taught the guitar classes and been the director for the guitar ensembles at Coronado High School in Henderson, Nevada since 2003.  His award-winning program has been recognized by the GFA, the Grammy Foundation, and the National Association for Music Education.    Dr. Nishimoto earned a B.A. in Music Ed from UNLV, where he also received a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education.   His research into the issues of new teachers led him to the topic of the role of expertise in instruction—the target of inquiry of an ongoing overarching study regarding the expert blind spot effect and guitar pedagogy.   He also publishes and lectures on the topics of teacher socialization and educational leadership roles. Matthew can be reached at
Soundboard Editor: Robert Ferguson
has been active in the classical guitar community for four decades, teaching, performing, composing, arranging, writing, and broadcasting. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University, the latter from the Jacobs School of Music, where he studied performance with Ernesto Bitetti and Thomas Binkley. Other mentors include Javier Calderon and Jeffrey Noonan. In addition to applied guitar, Bob teaches guitar history and literature at IU’s regional campus in Fort Wayne. His radio program, Guitar Showcase, has aired weekly on NPR affiliates WBNI and WBOI since 1985. He has contributed to Soundboard since the early 2000s. Bob can be reached at
Publications Art Director: Colleen Gates
has worked as a graphic designer, creative services manager and art director for various corporations and design studios, including Aaron Brothers Art & Framing, United Artists Theatres and Frederick’s of Hollywood. She is owner and creative director of GATES by design, a graphic design and creative services studio focused in the areas of the arts, education and non-profit organizations. Colleen has enjoyed designing several guitar-related projects connected to the Thornton School of Music and Doberman-Yppan Editions. She holds a BFA degree from the University of Denver. Colleen joined GFA in 2015 and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, a composer, and two children. She can be reached at

Tour Director: Teresa Hayward
Teresa Hayward is a singer, songwriter, performer and voice teacher from Chicopee, MA, currently living in Louisville, KY. In May of 2017, Teresa graduated from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford with a Bachelor's of Music in Music Management and Jazz Voice. At the Hartt School, she studied with the distinguished jazz vocalist, Professor Shawnn Monteiro, and performed with esteemed faculty including internationally-renowned and highly revered jazz bassist, Professor Nat Reeves, as well as luminary jazz pianist Matt Dechamplain. During college, she had the opportunity to work as Administrative Assistant for the arts non-profit Blues to Green Inc., helping to organize the annual Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival in Springfield, Massachusetts. For over 10 years, Teresa has been singing and performing many different genres and styles of music, and has performed as a soloist in various jazz ensembles, quartets, trios, and big bands, and was also a singer in the Hartford-based indie-pop/rock band, Art School Girls, as well as the lead vocalist in her duo band, Quietside. Teresa currently teaches private voice and piano lessons, and is thrilled to be working as Tour Director for the Guitar Foundation of America. Teresa can be reached at 

Soundboard Scholar Editor: Jonathan Leathwood
Jonathan Leathwood teaches guitar, music analysis and the Alexander Technique at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he is Associate Teaching Professor and chair of the guitar program. As a recitalist, Jonathan has recently appeared at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Brazil, the Wigmore Hall, the Cheltenham Festival, the D-Marin Festival in Turkey, and many other venues in Europe and both American continents. The Musical Times of London has written of his "remarkable talent and singular artistry"; Fabio Zanon wrote in Violão Intercambio that "he has to be seen to be believed," while Classical Guitar has called him "a genius." Equally known as a collaborator with both performers and composers, Jonathan Leathwood has recorded two albums with the legendary flutist William Bennett, and recorded and broadcast with cellists Rohan de Saram and Steven Isserlis. His commissions from composers such as Param Vir, Stephen Goss, Robert Keeley and Chris Malloy have pushed the boundaries of both six- and ten-string guitars. His recordings of Goss, Dodgson, Malloy and Keeley are available on the Cadenza and NMC labels. Jonathan can be reached at
Guitar Summit and Orchestras Director: Chuck Hulihan
Chuck Hulihan, has enjoyed a career over the past two plus decades as a guitarist, educator, conductor, narrator, arts administrator, and as a classical music radio host. Chuck has directed the guitar program at Glendale Community College since 1999, where he is the Assistant Department Chair for Performing Arts, and in 2015 he was chosen by his peers to receive the GCC Gaucho Globe Award for Supporting Student Success. His work at GCC is highlighted by collaborations with composers whom have written new works for the GCC Guitar Ensembles, including Mark Houghton, Rex Willis, Jan Bartlema, Adrian Andrei, Frank Wallace, Andrew York, Vito Nicola Paradiso, Francisco Munoz, Aramis Silvereke, and Phil Moloso. Since 2000, his students have consistently won the Artists of Promise competition in both solo guitar and instrumental ensemble categories, and in 2014 the GCC Guitar Octet won the Guitar Foundation of America’s Ensemble Showcase Competition and went on to perform two world premieres at  the 2014 convention. 
Chuck’s work as a conductor has included over 50 concerts directing the GCC Guitar Ensembles and includes leading large orchestras comprising students from high school, college, and guitar society ensembles. He has led the Arizona Guitar Orchestra (AZGO), a collaboration of musicians from across Arizona, in three statewide tours that featured Shingo Fujii’s Concierto de Los Angeles with soloist William Kanengiser, Brad Richter’s Once We Moved Like the Wind, and Andrew York’s By Chants with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. He has been a featured guest conductor with the Clark County School District Honor Ensemble, the Vanguard University Guitar Festival Orchestra, the State College of Florida Guitar Ensemble, The Maryvale Festival Ensemble, Austin Classical Guitar’s Guitar Curriculum National Teacher Training Summit, and the 2019 Florida All-State Guitar Ensemble. Future conducting adventures include 2019 Virginia  All-State and 2020 New Mexico All-State Guitar Ensembles and the 2019 Austin Classical Guitar Ensemble Festival. He serves as the Director of the Guitar Foundation of America’s Youth Guitar Orchestra, Community Guitar Orchestra, and Guitar Summit. Chuck actively contributes to the field of music education as a conference clinician and presenter and serves as Western Division Representative for the National Association for Music Education’s Innovations Council, as Innovations Chair for Arizona Music Educators Association, and is an active board member of the Grand Canyon and Phoenix Guitar Societies.
International Ensemble Competition Director: Michael Kagan
Kagan's performances have been noted for their “remarkable poise and artistry coupled with a sharp intellectual acumen.” The young classical guitarist has found a deep passion for teaching and performing, which, for Michael, both stem from the need to share music. Michael graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Westfield State University where he received a B.A in Music Education and Classical Guitar Performance under the tutelage of Phillip de Fremery, a curator of the Segovia legacy. There, he received a departmental award for Excellence in Musical Performance among his graduating class. Most recently, Michael completed a Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance with Dr. Stephen Mattingly, noted soloist and member of the Tantalus Quartet at the University of Louisville. A passionate educator, Michael currently holds a full-time position teaching class guitar, music theory, and music history at the Youth Performing Arts Magnet High School in Louisville, Kentucky in addition to maintaining a private and Suzuki studio. Michael can be reached at or
Social Media Coordinator: Daniel Monaghan
Daniel Monaghan is an active classical guitar performer, composer, and teacher from Southern California. He began playing guitar at the age of 10, and has dedicated his life to the advancement of the guitar.  Daniel earned a Bachelor of Music in classical guitar performance at California State University Fullerton where he studied both performance and composition from Martha Masters and Andrew York. He is currently in his final year of graduate studies earning his masters degree in String Pedagogy under the guidance of Stephan Mattingly at the University of Louisville Kentucky. As a soloist, Daniel actively competes in local, state, and national competitions and works heavily with composers to write and commission new works for the guitar. Daniel joined the GFA staff in 2020 and can be reached at


Regional Symposia Director: Federico Musgrove Stetson


Federico Musgrove Stetson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami, where he attended under a full scholarship and served as a Teacher Assistant and Henry Mancini Fellow. Federico has received over 25 grants to bring classical guitar programming to South Florida and was selected as a 2017-2018 Miami Leader by the Miami Foundation for his contribution to the community. He is currently a faculty member at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and founding President and Executive Director of the Florida Guitar Foundation. He can be reached at 


International Youth Competition Director: Lynn McGrath
Lynn McGrath has performed, adjudicated, and lectured on four continents and is a member of the acclaimed Tantalus Guitar Quartet. She earned multiple Bachelor’s Degrees from SUNY Potsdam and received a M.M. and D.M.A. from the University of Southern California. Her students have performed on NPR’s “From the Top,” placed in multiple international competitions at the youth and collegiate levels, and have received scholarship to attend some of the most competitive guitar programs in the United States. Lynn is the guitar instructor for a thriving program at the Eastman Community Music School, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. On staff with the GFA for more than a decade, she was Tour Director for seven years followed by three years as the Regional Symposia Director, and is entering her fifth year as the Director of the International Youth Competition. Lynn can be reached at
Convention Manager: Brian Geary
is a performer and teacher in Southern California. He has received a bachelor in music, graduating summa cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo State and is currently finishing his Masters of Music in performance from California State University Fullerton. As a soloist, Brian focuses his musical efforts on performing repertoire that is infrequently performed, as well as promoting the guitar to composers, to help grow the instrument’s repertoire. He has also performed in various contemporary chamber groups like the Post Sonus Orchestra and CSUF New Music Ensemble. Brian helped found the annual Women of the Guitar Series at Buffalo State, where he received an award from the President’s Council on Equity and Campus Diversity for his efforts. He teaches privately, directs a guitar ensemble, leads an after-school ukulele program, and has taught for the Guitar Foundation of America’s Youth Guitar Summit. Brian joined the GFA Staff in 2018 and can be reached at
Operations Administrator: Ebaa Khamas
is a performer, and teacher. He has performed as a soloist and in several chamber settings, including the Orange County Guitar Orchestra, under the direction of David Grimes. He is currently teaching at the Orange County School of the Arts, where he teaches Classical Guitar Technique, and Chamber Guitar. He holds a Bachelor, and Master of Music degrees from Cal State University Fullerton School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Martha Masters and Andrew York. Ebaa joined the GFA Staff in 2018 and can be reached at
General Manager: Dr. Connie Sheu
is a performer, teacher, and advocate of classical guitar. Past performances have brought her to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, 92nd StY, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and venues in Moldova, Italy, Hungary. She performs frequently as a soloist for guitar societies and music festivals across the United States. Connie studied U.S. History and Music at Columbia University, and earned a Master of Music from the Juilliard School. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California. She teaches at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, where her students are frequent competition prizewinners. Connie joined GFA staff in 2009 and previously served as Tour and Communications Director. She can be reached at
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