PCGS Concert Ensemble
Kathleen Mayes, director
Matthew Di Filippo
Iranian guitarist and composer, Behdad Moghaddasi, is the former chair of the guitar program at Theran Azad University, before immigrating the United States in 2000. Mr. Moghaddasi is the first Iranian solo guitarist to ever step on stage with Iranian Symphony Orchestras to perform Concerto de Aranjuez. He has also performed several solo concerts throughout the United States Canada,Germany, and England.
Mr. Moghaddasi has been hailed as an innovator when it comes to composing music for classical guitar. His music embodies multiple facets of style:
70's Rock Music: Based upon his passion and personal interpretation of the great rock era, Mr. Moghaddasi draws upon this style in pieces such as Far Wishes, from the CD "Persian Suite".
Iranian Folk Music: As seen in works such as Dena and Kouchalar.
Iranian Traditional and Ethnic Fusion Music: Traditional and individual ethnic elements are infused into Mr. Moghaddasi's interpretation.The tastes, sounds, and colors of Iran are showcased in this classical guitar forum, Persian Suite.
Many of Mr. Moghaddasi's work cannot be placed into a category of style. As seen in Trilogy for Guitar, he gives us a taste of unchartered territory which has seemingly never been done before. In all of his works, Mr. Moghaddasi never seeks to replicate previous compositions, a common cliché amongst composers. He draws his inspiration through the perspective of the guitar, and never attempts to deliberately combine Eastern and Western music.
After studying classical guitar, piano, jazz guitar and composition at the world-renowned Chetham's School of Music for seven years, Twenty year old Alexandra Whittingham now studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Having picked up the guitar when she was just five years old, Alexandra's father taught her the basics of the instrument before she went on to begin private lessons.
During her time at Chetham's, Alexandra had many opportunities to play with various ensembles, such as a string quartet, guitar duets and jazz groups, which resulted in her becoming a member of Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. With the orchestra came the opportunity to tour Germany and Czech Republic, where they sold out various venues within the two countries. In her final year at the school, she also gained her LRSM (Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music) second diploma in guitar performance.
In the spring of 2013, Alexandra won the inaugural Edinburgh Guitar Competition. Following this, she travelled to Budapest to take part in the Carpathian International Youth Guitar Competition, where she gained second place. More recently in early 2015 at the Gregynog Young Musicians' Competition, Alexandra became Gregynog Young Guitarist of the year after her performance of Leo Brouwer's Sonata and Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz.
More recently this year, Alexandra was invited to perform at Abbey Road Studios alongside singer-songwriter Imelda May for EMI Music and Sound Foundation. She has also enjoyed giving recitals in Europe at such places as Festival Le Temps des Guitares in South-West France, Vilnius Town Hall in Lithuania and the Acoustic Guitar Village in Cremona, Italy.
Other venues in which Alexandra has played include opening the European Guitar Teachers' Association Conference at York's Queen Margaret's School, The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, The Yehudi Menuhin School and West Dene International Guitar Festival (as part of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble) and the British Embassy in Paris, where she performed to an invited audience of diplomats in February, 2015. She has also enjoyed concerto performances as guest soloist with both Gorton philharmonic orchestra and Dorset Chamber Orchestra.
A new guitar programme shown on Sky Arts in 2015, highlighting all four genres (classical, jazz, acoustic and rock), featured Alexandra performing her way to the classical final of the competition, which gave her the opportunity to play in Milton Court Concert Hall at the Barbican, London. During the course of the competition, Alexandra was able to work with Miloš Karadaglić, who, in recent years, has taken the classical guitar world by storm.
Alexandra is delighted to be endorsed by Aquila Strings, highly recommending their Perla range. She also plays a 2011 Christopher Dean guitar, sourced by Miles Roberts at Kent Guitar Classics in England.
Guitarists CONNIE SHEU and ADAM PETTIT have engaged audiences across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe as soloists and chamber musicians. As the SHEU PETTIT DUO, they have premiered and recorded works by Andrew York, Matthew Denman, Ronald Pearl, Michael Karmon, and Ssu-Yu Huang. While deeply committed to playing new music for guitar duo, the SHEU PETTIT DUO also performs seminal works of the repertoire, including music of Leo Brouwer, Clarice Assad, Joaquín Rodrigo, and Ida Presti. This season, the duo gave a performance of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Well-Tempered Guitars, Op. 199, a groundbreaking work for two guitars modeled after Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier with a prelude and fugue in each major and minor key.
Grammy-winning guitarist Scott Tennant says of the duo, "Connie Sheu and Adam Pettit think and play with a singular mind. Their combined mastery of the guitar and profound musicality make the Sheu Pettit Duo a dynamic musical force which needs to be heard." Composer Steven Gates comments, “They are each a consummate guitarist possessing a wealth of technical mastery and expressive power, and at the same time, they are chamber musicians in the truest sense of the word.”
Adam and Connie first met as students in the Pepe Romero master classes held at the University of Southern California during the summer of 2004. They have been featured artists and clinicians for a number of guitar societies and festivals and are both on the classical guitar faculty at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Connie Sheu is a dynamic guitarist, dedicated teacher, and ardent advocate of classical guitar. In demand as both a soloist and chamber musician, her playing has been hailed by the New York Sun as “excellent, ruminative... scholarly." According to Classical Guitar Magazine, “Her debut recording displays, without a doubt, her talents as a concert artist.”
Past performances have brought her to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, 92nd St Y, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall; venues in Moldova, Italy, Hungary; and across the United States. She is a frequent performer on various concert series and music festivals, and has most recently appeared at the Women in Guitar Festival, New York Guitar Festival, and Guitar Foundation of America International Convention.
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 under William Kanengiser. She also studied under scholarship at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana with Oscar Ghiglia in Siena, Italy. Connie serves as General Manager for the Guitar Foundation of America and teaches at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and Moreno Valley College.
Dr. Adam Pettit‘s performances have been characterized by the Los Angeles Times as “meditative,” and “brilliantly colored, articulated and focused.” He has performed at a number of established venues including the American Guitar Society, KPFK’s Global Village, LACMA’s Sundays Live, and the Los Angeles Bach Festival.
Adam is also an experienced chamber musician, collaborating with a number of ensembles in Southern California. Past projects and appearances include the Helios Guitar Quartet, Santa Barbara Master Chorale, the South Coast Symphony, and the Orange County Guitar Orchestra.
Adam earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in the studio of Julian Gray. He then continued his studies as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Southern California, where he earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of William Kanengiser and James Smith. He serves on the guitar faculty at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and Orange Coast College.
Legendary guitarist Manuel Barrueco is internationally recognized as one of the most important guitarists of our time. His unique artistry has been continually described as that of a superb instrumentalist and a superior and elegant musician, possessing a seductive sound and uncommon lyrical gifts.
His career has been dedicated to bringing the guitar to the main musical centers of the world such as the Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Philharmonie in Berlin, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. He has completed a dozen tours of Japan and made repeated appearances in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, and Hong Kong, and in Latin America he has performed in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Puerto Rico.
Barrueco's commitment to contemporary music and to the expansion of the guitar repertoire has led him to collaborations with many distinguished composers such as Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Roberto Sierra, Arvo Pärt, Jonathan Leshnoff, Gabriela Lena Frank, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, and Toru Takemitsu.
Manuel Barrueco has appeared on a wide array of television programs including "CBS Sunday Morning", A&E's "Breakfast with the Arts", and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on PBS. He was featured in a Lexus car commercial, and his work in music inspired Michael Lawrence’s biographical documentary: “Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life”.
Barrueco’s recording catalogue includes over a dozen recordings for the EMI label. His recording of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with conductor and tenor Plácido Domingo and the Philharmonia Orchestra was cited as the best recording of that piece in Classic CD Magazine.
In 2007 Manuel Barrueco received a Grammy nomination for the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” for his Solo Piazzolla, which was the first recording to be released on his exclusive Manuel Barrueco Collection on Tonar Music. Tango Sensations and Sounds of the Americas followed in collaboration with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the latter received a Latin Grammy Award for “Inca Dances” by Gabriela Lena Frank for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition.” In 2010 he released, Tárrega!, which received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Album,” Medea, which includes Barrueco’s arrangement of the ballet by flamenco guitarist/composer Manolo Sanlúcar recorded with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and Víctor Pablo Pérez conducting and received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Album” as well. His latest release is China West, a recording of guitar trios in collaboration with his protégés, the Beijing Guitar Duo.
Manuel Barrueco began playing the guitar at the age of eight in his native Cuba and he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1967 as political refugees. Later, he completed his advanced studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he now shares his love for music with a small number of exceptionally gifted young guitarists from all over the world.
Award-winning guitarist Oscar Somersalo performs as a soloist and chamber musician in America and Europe. In recent seasons Somersalo has appeared with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at Finlandia Hall, and with Panama National Symphony Orchestra.
Somersalo won 1st prize in 2017 at Appalachian GuitarFest Solo Guitar Competition in Boone, NC and Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition in the USA as well as 2nd prize in 2009 at the International Guitar Competition “Ciudad de Llerena” in Spain and was awarded as the young soloist with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2011. Somersalo has performed solo concerts on festivals such as Kauhava Chamber Music Festival in Finland, Tuscia Guitar festival in Italy and Panama Guitar Festival in Panama, as both performer and masterclass instructor.
Somersalo’s repertoire encompasses great classics and innovative new compositions. His concerts often include pieces by Bach – such as the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 – as well as titles like “To build a House” by American composer Scott Lee, which Somersalo premiered in 2014 at a concert sponsored by the Baltimore Guitar Society.
In addition to solo repertoire Somersalo has appeared in duos together with flute and piano, and guitar duo and guitar quintet. Somersalo has also appeared in larger groups with repertoire such as “Electric Counterpoint” by Steve Reich at SibaFest in Finland and in more rare performances such as performance with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore, performing Mahler’s 7th Symphony, where the guitar is a part of the orchestra. Somersalo is also a cellist and emphasizes the importance of experiencing music from different angels in order to build a strong foundation of musicality and diversity.
Somersalo earned the Master of Music degree and the Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he studied under international virtuoso Manuel Barrueco. He is also a graduate of the famed Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he earned the Bachelor of Music degree.
Application will be available in early 2018.
Award-winning guitarist, Joseph Palmer, has earned a reputation as one of the most highly captivating and dynamic young performers on the American guitar scene.
Palmer has been featured as a soloist in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Performance highlights from 2016 include concerts in Jalisco, Mexico; Hamilton, Ontario; Wilmington, Delware; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Fort Worth, Texas; and multiple performances in Austin, Texas.
Joseph began studying classical guitar at the age of fifteen in his hometown of Rockwall, Texas. He went on to earn degrees in music performance at Columbus State University (2009, B.M.), and the University of Texas at Austin (2011, M.M. & 2015, D.M.A.). In the later years of his studies, Palmer toured the competition circuit and was awarded 16 prizes in international competitions, including the World Guitar Competition and Guitare Montreal.
In recent years, Joseph has developed a passion for connecting with new audiences through outreach performance. In 2015, he began working in collaboration with Austin Classical Guitar as Performance Engagement Artist. He has since given over a hundred interactive concerts to under-served communities and is a passionate advocate for music's potential to inspire and transform.
Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society
Address: 2038 Sansom street - Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: +1 (215) 567 2972