Guest and Visiting Artists

Visiting Artists 2017-2018
Wednesday 9/20: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – Joscho Stephan
Thursday 9/14: 1:20-2:55 Band Room – Emmit Cohen
Tuesday 12/12: 1:20-2:55 Band Room – Fareed Haque w/ Tony Monaco
Friday 2/23: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – Ross Martin and Grant Gordy
Thursday 4/19: 7:30-9:15 Guitar Room – Corey Christiansin
Friday 4/20: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – Bjorn Thoroddsen
Thursday 5/17: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – Peter Stolzman w/ Gabriel Sontiago
Friday 5/25: 1:20-2:55 Concert Hall – New West Guitar Group
Visiting Artists 2016-2017 – check back for additions
Thursday 9/22: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – guitarist Adam Levy
Tuesday 10/25: 1:20-2:55 Band Room – Peter Stoltzman – piano, Gabriel Santiago – guitar, Rich Stein – percussion
Monday 11/14: 1:20-2:55 Orchestra Room – Olli Soikkeli, Jason Anick with band
Friday 2/17: 1:20-2:55 Guitar Room – Sean McGowan
Tuesday 4/18: 1:20-2:55 Band Room – Fareed Haque w/ Tony Monaco
Monday 5/1: 1:20-2:55 Band Room – Jonathan Kreisberg w/ Nitai Herskovits – Piano, Dave Robaire – Bass, and Colin Stranahan – Drums
Thursday 5/25: 1:20 Band Room – Alex Heffron Quartet
Visiting Artists 2015-2016
Thursday 4/7: 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room – Wayne Henderson and the Virginia Luthiers
Friday 4/8: 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room – Alex Komodore
Friday 4/22: 1:05-2:35 Band Room – Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet featuring David Kikoski on piano
Friday 2/18: 1:05-2:35 Band Room – Rachael and Dan Hutchings (Piano and Tenor vocalist)
Friday 3/4: 1:05-2:35 Band Room – Corey Christiansen Trio (Jeff Jenkins – organ, Kobie Watkins – drums)
Friday 3/11: 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room – Andrew Trim (Chicago Based Jazz Guitarist)
Friday 3/18: 1:05-2:35 Band Room – Melissa Aldana with Terrell Stafford
Wednesday, 9/16, Jazz Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel visited DSA in the guitar classroom
Kurt Rosenwinkel at DSA

Thursday, 9/24, James Cline visited DSA in the guitar classroom
Wednesday, 12/9, Classical Guitarist Nicolo Spera Nicolo Spera

The guitar department will have James Garcia and Steve Shurack teaching at the school regularly during the course of the school year.  To learn more about James and Steve, visit their websites below and feel free to contact them if you would like guitar lessons outside the school day.

Steve Shurack
We are fortunate to have many visiting artists at DSA and we plan to have many successful guitar performers and educators visit DSA to work with students this school year.

Visiting Artists 2014-2015 – check back for additions
Friday 3/27, 1:05-2:35 Band Room Jazz Guitarist Fareed Haque with his Organ Trio
Monday 4/6, 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room New West Guitar Group
Friday 4/10 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room guitarists Ross Matin and Grant Gordy
Thursday 4/16 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room Jazz Guitarist Corey Christiansen
Friday, January 9, 1:05-2:35 Guitar Room Muriel Anderson
Monday, February 9, 1:05-2:35 Band Room Melissa Aldana
Friday, March 27, 1:05-2:35 Band Room Fareed Haque
Friday, August 29, 1:05-2:35 Jazz Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel
Friday, September 5, 7:35-9:05 and 1:05-2:35 Classical Guitarist James Cline
Wednesday, September 17, 1:05-2:35 Joscho Stephan
Thursday, October 16, 1:05-2:35 Composer and Guitarist Janet Feder
Wednesday, October 29, 1:05-2:35 Classical Guitarist Nicolo Spera

The guitar department will have James Garcia and Steve Shurack teaching at the school regularly during the course of the school year.  To learn more about James and Steve, visit their websites below and feel free to contact them if you would like guitar lessons outside the school day.

Steve Shurack
We are fortunate to have many visiting artists at DSA and we plan to have many successful guitar performers and educators visit DSA to work with students this school year.

Visiting Artists:

Nicolò Spera October 29, 2014
Nicolo_Spera7GA.223202923_std BIOGRAPHY:

“One of Italy’s finest guitarists, a very active performer on the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean, a thoughtful musician and a wonderful pedagogue.” – Lorenzo Micheli, internationally renowned concert artist and master teacher

The Italian guitarist Nicolò Spera brings to his teaching and performance a unique synthesis of European and American traditions. After his studies with Mauro Storti and Marco Tajo at the Giuseppe Nicolini Conservatory of Piacenza, Spera graduated with the highest marks from the Claudio Monteverdi Conservatory of Bolzano as a student of Lorenzo Micheli. He later studied with Oscar Ghiglia at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Milan and at the prestigious Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, where he always received the Diploma di Merito distinction and the scholarship from the Chigiana Foundation. In a separate study, he focused on the performance of Renaissance music on the guitar with Massimo Lonardi, and on chamber music with Matteo Mela and Anna Sorrento.

Spera received his postgraduate education with Lorenzo Micheli at the Conservatory of Aosta and at the Accademia Musicale Tema in Milan. He then moved to the University of Denver where he studied on a two-year full scholarship with Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood, and was awarded the Lamont School of Music’s Artist Diploma in Guitar Performance. In Denver Spera has been involved in an unusual chamber music project with the clarinettist Andrew Dykema. This duo worked on the complete guitar and clarinet repertoire by the late romantic Viennese composer Ferdinand Rebay. Philomele Editions of Geneva has committed to the duo the critical editions of the complete Rebay guitar and clarinet works. As a soloist, Spera is one of the few guitarists in the world to perform on both six-string and ten-string guitars, including in his repertoire the extraordinary music of the Franco-Andalusian composer Maurice Ohana. Thanks to his passion for contemporary music, he had the privilege to collaborate with composers such as John Drumheller, Ryan Fiegl, and the accomplished Italian conductor Simone Fontanelli, giving premières and performances of their guitar works.

He has won prizes at several Italian and international competitions, and is regularly invited to play in musical festivals like the Mediterranean Guitar Festival in Italy and the Sauble Beach Festival in Canada. After serving as teaching assistant to Jonathan Leathwood, in 2011 Spera was appointed as the Instructor of Classical Guitar at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is also on the faculty of the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai in Florence, Italy.

September 11 – Benjamin Cantu: Classical Guitar

Ben Cantu

Benjamin R. Cantú, Guitar, D.M.A.

Ben Cantú received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and
a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ben has
worked with many ensembles including the Playground Ensemble, Ars Nova Singers, Pro
Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, The Sphere Ensemble and the Pueblo Symphony
Orchestra. In 2004, Mr. Cantú had the honor of participating in a performance of George
Crumb’s Night of the Four Moons at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. In
regards to the performance, Mr. Crumb later stated: “I had the great good fortune to hear
my Night of the Four Moons at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Maine. It is rare
that one’s music is prepared with such sensitivity and insight, combined with such superb
technical skill.”

Recently Ben finished recording his first album, Distillations, which is a collection of
chamber works for guitar and strings by Dusan Bogdanovic. Ben has served as adjunct
faculty at Colorado State University in Pueblo from 2003-2009. His students have
been accepted to the Juilliard School of Music, The Peabody Institute and the New
England Conservatory; as well as receiving top prizes in several national and regional
competitions including the First Prize in the Senior Guitar Division of the 2009 National ASTA Solo Competition.

For more information regarding Ben’s musical activities, please visit:

September 19 – Whirlpool: guitar, Saxophone, drums

whirlpool photo

Whirlpool is a collaborative band that eliminates the boundaries between
composition and improvisation.

Caroline Davis is a saxophonist based in New York City. She leads her own quartet with Mike Allemana and Matt Ferguson, members of Von Freeman’s last Working band. She has shared the stage with jazz greats Matt Wilson, Ellis Marsalis, Bobby Broom, Dennis Carroll, Von Freeman, and Tom Garling. She also finds a creative outlet performing in Chicago based world music group Fatbook, hip-hop ensemble Deep Fayed, and folk-Americana group Orso.

Charles Rumback is a figure ofthe rich and varied Chicago music scene. Having co-Ied groups such as Leaves and Colorlist, he has recorded and toured internationally with Colorlist, The Horse’s Ha, L’altra, Leaf Bird, and Via Tania. Current projects include Angela James and Stirrup. Charles’ playing deals closely with the jazz tradition, yet he continues to work closely with diverse artists such as Jason Ajemian, Asuna, Janet Bean, Josh Eustis, John Hughes, Fred Lonberg-Holm, lVIatt Lux, Bill Mackay, Nick lVlacri, the Medium Neoks, Ron Miles, Jeff Parker, Liz Payne, Jason Stein, John Tate and Greg Ward. Jeff Swanson performs regularly with a wide range of musicians in Chicago. He has most recently been involved as a sideman and contributor with groups including the Artie Black 3, Chinchano, Chris McBride’s Quator Du Force, Quentin Coaxum Quintet, Todd Dulaney, and Future Music. When not working as a sideman, Jett leads his own self-titled group.

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  • Caroline:­davis­saxophone­live­work­play­allemana/Content?oid=7677085
  • Charles:­rumback­two­kinds­of­art.html

September 23 – Martha Masters: Classical Guitar

Martha MastersThe Illinois Times wrote that guitarist Martha Masters “…is on a swift and certain trajectory to star territory.”  Masters’ playing has been described as “seductive” (Ft. Worth Star Telegram), “intelligent and natural” (Guitar Review), and “refined and elegant” (American Record Guide).  She is active as a solo recitalist, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist with orchestras.  Recent concert seasons have included performances on concert series and at festivals in China, England, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Germany, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States.

Masters’ first CD, Serenade, is now in its second printing, and her Naxos recital disc sold over 10,000 copies worldwide in the first year of its release.  Her recording of Italian music was released in 2006 on the GSP label, and a recording of early 20 released on GSP in 2009.   Masters has published books with Mel Bay and Alfred, and has received critical acclaim as an author and pedagogue.

In October of 2000 Martha Masters won first prize in the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) International Solo Competition, including a recording contract with Naxos, a concert video with Mel Bay, and an extensive North American concert tour.  In November of 2000, she also won the Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition in Linares, Spain and was a finalist in the Alexandre Tansman International Competition of Musical Personalities in Lodz, Poland.  Prior to 2000, Masters was a prizewinner or finalist in numerous other international competitions, including the 1999 International Guitar Competition “Paco Santiago Marín” in Granada, Spain, the 1998 Tokyo International Guitar Competition and the 1997 GFA International Solo Competition.

In addition to being on the guitar faculty of California State University Fullerton and Loyola
Marymount University in Los Angeles, Masters is also the President of the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), dedicated to supporting the instrument, its players and its music in the US and throughout the world.

Masters received both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody
Conservatory, where she studied with Manuel Barrueco, and completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California as a student of Scott Tennant.

September 30 – Tom Gershwin and Perry Smith: Trumpet and Guitar Duo



Guitarist Perry Smith combines his love for jazz with broad influences from rock and folk to create his signature style.

Perry is a recording artist for Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records and a founding member of the critically acclaimed New West Guitar Group. Based in Brooklyn he leads his own group and is “in-demand” as a sideman for local and touring jazz artists.  Perry has worked under legends such as Dave Brubeck, Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, Pat Metheny, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, and Bobby McFerrin.  Perry’s extensive performance resume includes notable venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, Village Vanguard, Dizzy’s Club @ Lincoln Center, Montreal Jazz Festival, Hoffest (Berlin), The World Expo (Japan), and Yoshi’s Jazz Club.

As a composer, Perry was a finalist in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition and won the 2006 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award.  His debut album “Stars and Cars” features eight of his original compositions and Music Web Express called it “a thoroughly impressive mix of jazz and rock to create a bona fide fusion of modern jazz guitar styles.”

In 2005 he received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he studied guitar with jazz legend Joe Diorio and composition with renown bandleader John Clayton.  In 2011 he completed his Masters in Music at New York University and was named the “Outstanding Graduate” in the Jazz Department.


Tom Gershwin is a trumpeter, back home in Colorado after several years in New York.  In NYC, he recorded his debut album “Sweet Pastimes”, a duo project featuring Perry Smith on acoustic guitar.  The album revisits early jazz and folk songs, and is on the Dazzle Recordings label.  He has also recently toured with The Motet, and plays trumpet throughout Colorado in creative projects, salsa bands, and jazz groups.  

His early professional experiences have included 3 years in the Army Band, several cruise line contracts, and freelance work as a performer and composer. Through these times, he’s learned to excel in many styles.  In May 2012, Tom graduated from NYU, where he was an adjunct faculty member.  Here, he also performed and worked with a wonderful faculty including Kenny Werner, Brian Lynch, Chris Potter, Ralph Alessi, Tony Moreno, and trumpet guru Laurie Frink, who all inspire him as a musician and a teacher. While in New York, Tom was a faculty member at Douglaston School of Music and Art, where he worked with younger students .

 Tom believes that discipline and technique are necessary elements that allow emotion and creativity to thrive.  Through this process, he strives to inspire students, fellow musicians, and listeners.

Stuart, Rory

StuartRoryRory Stuart
Guitarist, Composer


Rory has performed with a wide range of jazz artists, from Charlie Rouse to Steve Coleman to George Garzone, Jack McDuff to Errol Parker, including, in recent years, fellow faculty members Billy Harper and Reggie Workman. Since 1982, Rory has led his own critically acclaimed groups, twice been voted Talent Deserving Wider Recognition on the Downbeat International Critic’s Poll, released recordings that have received 4-star reviews, and been awarded funding by the National Endowment for the Arts and by Meet the Composer.  His recent performances around the world have taken him to India, Argentina, Iceland, Israel,

Columbia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Korea, Brazil, and to much of Europe. Rory developed and teaches the rhythm curriculum at New School. A list of his former students reads like a “Who’s Who” of rising young jazz stars.

Jazz Guitarist Corey Christiansen grew up in a musical family. His father, Mike Christiansen, has run the guitar program at Utah State University for over three decades. Corey spent a lot of his youth with his dad on campus learning about the guitar and music. After high school, Corey received his bachelor’s degree from USU. A year later Corey left for Tampa Florida to study with legendary jazz guitar educator, Jack Petersen. In 1999, Corey received his master’s degree from the University of South Florida and took over the teaching duties of Jack Petersen the next year.

From 2000 to 2007 Corey was the senior editor and main guitar clinician for Mel Bay Publications. This job allowed him to tour, give clinics, develop products, produce recordings and rub shoulders with the best musicians in the business. For seven years Corey gave countless clinics and performances around the world and developed a fan base not only for his teaching but his playing.

In 2007 Corey moved back to his native Utah and was the Director of Curriculum for The Music School, a privately funded music program outside of Salt Lake City. During this time he continued an extremely active touring schedule playing all over the US and into Europe.

In the Fall of 2007 Corey signed with Origin Records and by the end of February 2008 had two records in the can. Laden with hooks and grooves, Roll With It, Corey’s debut release for Origin, features Matt Jorgensen on drums, Pat Bianchi on organ and David Halliday on sax.

His music draws on the tradition of the masters but leans towards the future. Rooted in the tradition of the jazz language but just bluesy and gritty enough to not alienate larger audiences. Corey’s first two recordings Awakening and MB3: Jazz Hits vol. 1 received ciritical acclaim and found large success on North American radio again proving he has the ability to keep the artistic integrity of the music without pushing listeners away.

In the Fall of 2008 Corey assumed duties teaching full-time at Utah State University and will part-time at Indiana University where he’ll be pioneering the jazz guitar program. Even with a busy academic schedule, Corey still tours and continues to record.

Corey Christiansen has a number of publications with Mel Bay and has conducted countless guitar clinics and concerts across the country and beyond including Europe, South Africa and Australia. He has also performed at many notable festivals and venues including John Pisano’s Guitar Night in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the Clearwater Jazz Festival, the Daytona Beach Jazz Festival, the Classic American Guitar Show, and the St. Louis Jazz Festival. He has also performed and/or recorded with many outstanding jazz artists including Jimmy Bruno, John Pisano, James Moody, Joe Negri, Willie Akins, Chuck Redd, Sid Jacobs, Jack Wilkins, Christian McBride, George Duke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Danny Gottlieb, and many, many others.


Björn Thoroddsen



New West Guitar Group

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