SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF GUITAR; Anniversary Concert to Showcase the Harris Guitar Collection

Comment Off 144 Views

October 9, 2014

L. John Harris, founder and president of the Harris Guitar Foundation and

David Tanenbaum, Chair of the SFCM Guitar Department

Anniversary Concert to Showcase the Harris Guitar Collection

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music marks a milestone in its history of offering an unparalleled education in classical guitar when it presents a Guitar Department 50th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, October 11, at 8 p.m. This special, free event features 43 performers including current and former faculty, distinguished alumni and students. It also showcases the rare and historic instruments of the Harris Guitar Collection, an invaluable new resource at SFCM that solidifies the school’s leading position as a center for the study of classical guitar. The concert will be streamed live from the Conservatory’s Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall for aficionados who are unable to attend in person.

The first conservatory of music in the United States to establish a guitar program, SFCM has long provided instruction that fosters excellence and encourages innovation in guitar performance. The school’s first guitar student walked through its doors in 1948. However, the department truly began to flourish following the appointment in 1964 of its first faculty chair, world-renowned classical guitarist George Sakellariou. Sakellariou will join current department chair and alumnus David Tanenbaum ’78 as well as acclaimed faculty artists
Sérgio Assad, Lawrence Ferrara ’78, Richard Savino and Marc Teicholz for solo and ensemble performances. Alumni will include The Living Earth Show and Mobius Trio, two chamber groups known for impeccable and adventurous performances of contemporary and classic works. Student performers will include the Conservatory Guitar Ensemble and award-winning SFCM Pre-College prodigy Ashwin Krishna, student of Scott Cmiel. Repertoire will span the long history of the guitar itself, with baroque and classical works by Caccini, Mazzochi, Mendelssohn, Segovia and others, pieces by contemporary masters including former faculty members, and a world premiere by alumnus Santiago Gutierrez Bolio ’05.

Some very special instruments from the Harris Guitar Collection will help bring the evening’s solo performances to shimmering life. A collaboration between SFCM and the
Harris Guitar Foundation, the collection includes more than two dozen instruments made by the great classical and flamenco guitar makers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A display case in the Conservatory atrium features a rotating selection from the collection and traces the evolution of the classical six-string guitar as it emerged in southern Spain in the early nineteenth century and was adopted throughout Europe, Great Britain, South America and Asia through the mid-twentieth century. The collection adds rich new dimensions to SFCM’s guitar curriculum by offering special opportunities for study, performance and recording. These include weekly sessions during which students may play guitars on display, and workshops exploring the designs and influence of historic guitar makers led by living luthiers, such as the Harris Guitar Foundation’s current featured luthier, Alan Perlman.
“The guitar department at SFCM is perhaps the finest in the United States,” says L. John Harris, president and founder of the Harris Guitar Foundation. “The Harris Guitar Foundation is proud to support the department by making the HGF collection of vintage guitars available to students, faculty and guests of SFCM.” Department Chair Tanenbaum says the collection is a boon to current and future guitar students at SFCM. “A rare instrument collection like the Harris Guitar Collection is something no other school has in the world. John and I worked diligently for over five years to make it happen at the Conservatory, and, as always, the focus of an endeavor like this is to make sure that our students directly benefit.”

The 50th Anniversary Concert will feature two Harris Guitar Collection instruments: the collection’s most recent addition, a 1915 Enrique Garcia from Barcelona to be played by George Sakellariou, and a 1912 Manuel Ramirez from Madrid to be played by Marc Teicholz. The collection will take center stage again on Sunday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. when the Conservatory presents Guitarrada VIII, a guitar showcase featuring Pepe Romero and members of the Los Romeros guitar quartet, co-produced by the Harris Guitar Foundation with the cooperation of San Francisco Performances and the Omni Foundation. Detailed information about the Harris Guitar Collection can be found at Special appointments to view the collection may be made by contacting [email protected].

Admission to the Guitar Department 50th Anniversary Concert is free. Viewers may watch a live stream of the performance on Saturday, October 11 at 8 p.m. Pacific Time, by visiting For complete repertoire information and details about all SFCM performances, visit For current information on all Conservatory events, visit Performances are held at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.


About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music:

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is the oldest conservatory in the American West and has earned an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. Notable alumni include violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, soprano Elza van den Heever, Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman and Ronald Losby, President, Steinway & Sons-Americas, among others. The Conservatory offers its approximately 400 collegiate students fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in composition and instrumental and vocal performance. Its Pre-College Division provides exceptionally high standards of musical excellence and personal attention to more than 580 younger students. The Conservatory’s faculty and students give nearly 500 public performances each year, most of which are offered to the public at no charge. Its community outreach programs serve over 1,600 school children and over 11,000 members of the wider community who are otherwise unable to hear live performances. The Conservatory’s Civic Center facility is an architectural and acoustical masterwork, and the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall was lauded by The New York Times as the “most enticing classical-music setting” in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit


About The Harris Guitar Foundation:

Incorporated as a 501c3 charitable foundation, The Harris Guitar Foundation was established to further classical guitar education and appreciation through its support for The San Francisco Conservatory of Music and The OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts. Joint projects between HGF, the Conservatory and OMNI will make use of The Harris Guitar Collection for purposes of study, recording and performance.




Guitar Department 50th Anniversary Concert

Featuring current and former faculty members, distinguished alumni and students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Performances by: Sérgio Assad, Lawrence Ferrara, George Sakellariou, Richard Savino, David Tanenbaum ’78, Marc Teicholz, The Living Earth Show, Mobius Trio, Conservatory Guitar Ensemble and others

A listing of concert repertoire can be found at


Saturday, October 11, 8 p.m.

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

50 Oak Street, San Francisco

Free, no tickets required


Download the media release in PDF format.

© 2014 San Francisco Conservatory of Music. All Rights Reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily