Hubert Kappel is among the most influential teachers and guitarists of his generation. Born in Bensberg, Germany, he is the only German guitarist ever to win the International Interpretation Competition in Gargano, Italy. After training at the Cologne College of Music, he completed his classical guitar studies with Konrad Ragossnig at the Music Academy in Basel, Switzerland and with Oscar Ghiglia in Italy. Since completing his studies, Hubert Kappel has established himself as a leading performer and teacher of the guitar, touring extensively as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber player throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America. He has given concerts and master classes at many international music and guitar festivals, as well as served on juries in most of the major guitar competitions. Hubert Kappel has made many recordings, and performed on numerous national and international radio and television broadcasts. Currently, he directs a guitar program at the Musikhochschule, one of the most successful guitar classes in Europe. Many students from this class have been international competition winners. In 2001, Hubert Kappel and composer George Schmitz created the Koblenz Guitar Academy, a school devoted to nurturing the development of exceptionally talented young guitarists. He has also written a guitar method published by AMA Musikverlag.
The French guitarist, Ehat Musa, won the first award at the National Competition of Young Soloists as back as in 1969. Since 1970 he attended master-classes of Alirio Díaz in Italy. Later he moved to Paris and went on to study guitar with Alberto Ponce at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, exploring in the area of acoustics and following the tradition of Tarrega and Pujol. That was the beginning of his artistic career. Ehat Musa has given concerts, throughout the world, travelling from New York to Moscow, appearing as soloist and with grand symphonic orchestras. His repertoire includes works of J.S. Bach, Sor, Barios, Lauro, Villa-Lobos, Powell, Reis, Brouwer.
Margarita Escarpa trained at the “Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid”. She studied with Valentín Bielsa, Demetrio Ballesteros, Gerardo Arriaga, Miguel Ángel Girollet and David Russell, and was subjected to the influence of some of the best modern performers. She completed her academic education graduating with the Extraordinary Prize, and a short time later received her Bachelor degree in Mathematics from the “Universidad Autónoma de Madrid”. She has been awarded two national and eight international prizes including first prize at the 20th Solo Guitar Competition organized by the Guitar Foundation of America. The combination of these prizes and her talent has provided her with the opportunity to regularly participate in some of the most important music festivals in Europe, Asia and America. Specialist critics and audiences enthusiastically acclaim her artistic sensitivity and her technical competence, both guided by her extensive musical training. As a soloist, Margarita has recorded compact discs for RTVE, Ópera Tres, Naxos, GHA Records and Maricam Studio. She presently teaches at the Vigo Conservatory in Spain, where she continues perfecting her technique with her pupils. Margarita plays with a George Lowden ‘s guitar (North Ireland) and with a Matthias Dammann’s guitar (Germany), and uses D’Addario strings.
Petrit Çeku’s exquisite sensibility and expressiveness have attracted and engaged audiences worldwide. He has performed many recitals throughout Europe and North America and was a soloist with major symphonic orchestras such as Baltimore Symphony, Czech Chamber Philharmonic, State Hermitage Orchestra of St. Petersburg and Zagreb Philharmonic. He also appears regularly with the famed string ensemble Zagreb Soloists and is a founding member of Guitar Trio Elogio, established in 2008. Hailed by guitar critic Colin Cooper as “a soloist of the highest ability”, Çeku is the first prize winner of many international guitar competitions, including the most prestigious ones like Parkening (Malibu, USA), Schadt (Allentown, USA), Biasini (Bologna, Italy), and Pittaluga (Alessandria, Italy). Born in 1985 in Prizren, Kosovo, Çeku took his first guitar lessons with Luan Sapunxhiu. In 2002 he moved to Zagreb, Croatia, after receiving an invitation to study with Xhevdet Sahatxhija. In 2008, Çeku graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music, in the renowned class of Darko Petrinjak. He then went on to study with the great master, Manuel Barrueco, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore USA, where he completed his studies in 2013. Çeku’s first CD was released in 2008 by Naxos. In late 2015 the Spanish label Eudora will issue his recording of all six Bach Cello Suites, arranged by Valter Dešpalj.
Petrit Çeku plays on a Ross Gutmeier guitar.
Antonio Maya “El Cotorrero” was born in the Flamenco atmosphere of Granada’s Sacromonte neighborhood. He is a fourth-generation artist pertaining to “Los Cotorerros” – an artistic family with a long tradition of Flamenco.
Antonio Maya began his professional career at 14, playing for the Flamenco singers and dancers in the Zambras of the Sacromonte. At 17, he joined Yasuko Nagamine’s Flamenco company in Japan as lead guitarist. He is a composer and has recorded two LP records with record company CBS-Sony. Antonio Maya has performed in several cinematographic projects and has participated in various international guitar festivals, including The International Guitar Festival of Paris and The Cordoba Guitar Festival.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Offermann began to play the Guitar at the age of seven. As soloist, with orquestras, as chamber musician in different ensembles and together with the internationally outstanding DUO SONARE Thomas travelled to more than 40 countries worldwide. Concerts, master classes, member of juries and lectures at the important Guitar festivals of the world and at numerous international Music universities. He has numerous international radio and TV productions, eight CD recordings with DUO SONARE. Together with the Duo Sonare; since 1985 Thomas was amongst the first to open the repertoire of the classical guitar to music by composers such as Chick Corea, Frank Zappa or Mike Oldflield. After his severe illness in 1996, Thomas gave up playing concerts in 2002. Ever since, he focusses his interest on teaching, writing, conducting and holdings lectures at Guitar festivals and universities. As a D’Addario Artist, since 2010 Thomas represents D’Addario Strings/New York as D’Addario’s “European classical guitar representative”. Doctorate in 2014 (Dr. phil.); title of the dissertation: “The integrative guitar technique”. He studied at the Musikhochschule Köln (classes Tadashi Sasaki and Hubert Käppel, and graduated “with distinction”. Thomas was also awarded the “Solistendiplom der Musikakademie Basel” (Class Oscar Ghiglia) Further teachers: AMADEUS–String Quartett, Manuel Barrueco, Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Karl Scheit, John Williams. Thomas was awarded several scholarships by the DAAD and also was awardee of the “Richard-Doerken-Stiftung”; he was finalist and prizewinner at several international Guitar competitions (International Scandinavian Guitar Competition, Finland, Certamen International „Andres Segovia“ und Certamen International „Francisco Tárrega“, Spain).
The young and sympathetic ARTIS GuitarDuo is about to gain a firm place in the international concert world. Their lively, emotional style of playing and blind understanding on stage create an intense, intimate atmosphere and turn a concert into a unique experience. Several first and second prizes at international chamber music competitions in Italy, Spain, Liechtenstein and Germany as well as many audience awards confirm the outstanding
quality of the duo. True to the motto „the guitar is an orchestra“ the two musicians cover the whole color
range of their instruments and play completely by heart. The result is a communication and liveliness on stage as it is rarely found. Invitations to numerous international music festivals and further concert tours took the
duo to Italy, Lithuania and Poland. Invited by the Goethe-Institute, they already concerted as cultural ambassadors in Brazil, China and Andalusia. Julia and Christian Zielinski, both born in 1987, are scholarship holders of the highly skilled foundations ING DiBa and the DAAD. Furthermore, they regularly performed in
charitable organizations for the Yehudi Menuhin Society “Live Music Now”. They successfully graduated with distinction from the universities in Stuttgart (teachers: Prof. Johannes Monno and Kaltchev Guitar Duo), Frankfurt (Prof. Michael Teuchert) and with Prof. Olaf van Gonnissen in Hamburg, where they took a concert exam, the highest postgraduate degree in Germany.
They recorded their first CD in 2007 with premiere recordings of Beethoven and Pujol. In 2013 their second CD „Portrait“ was released by karlklang and received great critical acclaim from the trade press. In 2016 they both released a Solo-CD: “Versus“ and “Solo“ to emphasize their individuality. Recently they recorded their newest project: a CD full of Baroque music. It will be released by the end of the year.
Alejandro Córdova, possesses an own style, based on the technical control exceptional gifts, equilibrium, coolness, virtuosity, musicality, and a curiosity by the knowledge, sensibility and experience tested in international settings as performer of classical music.
Is one of the main youths Mexican exponents of the Classical Guitar to National and International Level.
He was born in Cordoba, Mexico, initiating his studies with master Jesus Peña. He enters subsequently to the Faculty of Music of the University of Veracruz under the guardianship of the recognized teachers Consuelo Bolio, Massimo Gatta and Alfredo Sánchez.
He carried out studies in the Academy of Guitar Improvement “Francisco Tárrega” with master Paolo Pegoraro in Pordenone, Italy.
Graduate of the State Conservatory “Jacopo Tomadini” in Udine, Italy, where he studied the two-year Period of Specialization in Guitar with master Stefano Viola.
Former member of the Orchestra of Guitars of the Office of the secretary of Education and Culture, formed by Master Alfonso Moreno, with which carried out National and International musical tours; emphasizing the “Festival of the Palaces of Saint Petersburg, Russia”. Theater of the Museum Hermitage of Saint Petersburg; in the White Parlor of the State Museum Peterhof of the Great Palace of Peterhof and in the Theater of the Fortress of Novgorod.
His talent has been recognized by the specialized critics and he has done concerts in Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, UK, USA, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
He counts with two records, the first one recorded in London with John Taylor and the second one recorded in Seville with Contrastes records; also he participates regularly in the most important Festivals and National and International Contests.
The artist began playing the Violin at the age of four and later on turned towards the Guitar. Her music education was at the Spezialschule für Musik in Wernigerode. She then studied Classical Guitar with Prof. Thomas Offermann and Jens Wagner at several Musikhochschulen in Berlin and Bremen and took classes at the Centro Chitarristico “Francisco Tàrrega” Pordenone/Italy with Prof. Paolo Pegoraro. In addition to her Guitar studies she was a member of the internationally renowned Youth Radio Choir of Wernigerode and the international prize-winning Vocal Consort Weimar. Her musical and artistic formation continued to include Masterclasses with such as Roberto Aussel, Alberto Ponce, David Russell, Hopkinson Smith, Benjamin Verdery as well as with the renowned New York Pianist Seymour Bernstein. In 1994 she was the prize-winner at the International Classical Guitar Competition in Cracow, Poland. Pia Gazarek-Offermann has given concerts in several European countries, Asia and North and South America and has recorded for radio and TV. She is active as a jurist and teacher at several international competitions and festivals; she was invited as Artist in Residence at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada.
She teaches at the University of Arts in Bremen and privately in Berlin. In 2007 she released her solo CD “Satyagraha” on the AureaVox label (www.aureavox.de). It has gained high international appreciation. 2013 the new Solo CD “Spanish Guitar Masterpieces” has been released. First feedbacks under – Reviews – at this web site. A fantastic review in the magazine “Akustik Gitarre” you can read in 3/2013! She is now a D’Addario sponsored artist. 2003 she received the Diploma in „Cultural Management“, Emphasis Cultural Politics and Education.
Monika Krajnc Štih obtained her Bachelor’s Degree and Masters with Martin Mysliveček at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria. In her Masters dissertation she researched the life of one of the most important guitarists, Ida Presti and for this purpose she interviewed the revered guitarist and composer, John W. Duarte, and published the interview in the dissertation. She has attended guitar seminars with professors Jerko Novak, Istvan Romer, Tomaž Lorenz, Abel Carlevaro, David Crosky, John W. Duarte, Pavel Steidl.
As a secondary school student she won many first prizes when competing solo or with chamber music. After a series of successful concerts all over Slovenia and Austria, she and her husband Boris released a CD of compositions for a guitar duo. They were one of the first guitar duos in Slovenia. In 2005 they were invited by guitarist Franz Palier to perform in Graz and in July they also led a master class on a guitar festival in Seckau, Austria.
Since then she has performed as a soloist or a member of various chamber ensembles.
She is teaching at the music school and the secondary school of arts in Velenje. Her students are achieving the highest recognition awards and prizes at national and international competitions. This year her guitar duo Mia Koper and Nace Apšner competed at nationals (TEMSIG) and won a gold recognition award, first prize and two special prizes – for the best performance of the obligatory composition and for the best performance of the composition by a Slovenian composer. Her guitar duo Doris Ćosić and Din Ćejvanović won a gold recognition award in their category in the same contest. Both duos also won a first prize at the international competition Zagreb Guitar Festival.
She has dedicated a big part of her teaching career to developing guitar orchestra not just at the music school in Velenje, but in the whole country. The orchestra of music school Velenje has attended the show of guitar orchestras, which takes place in Žalec every two years and proudly presented with original Slovenian compositions, written or arranged for the orchestra. The show is recorded by RTV Slovenija, therefore their work is presented on the national level. Compositions and arrangements for the orchestra were written by Saša Lušić (Transibirian) and Mihael Hrustelj (Afinism, Pesem za Marušo, arrangement of Toto’s Africa). On this year’s Zagreb Guitar Festival the orchestra won a first prize and performed with the orchestra of ZGF.
Drilon Çoçaj started to learn guitar at the age of 7 in the family surroundings, to continue later at Music School “Lorenc Antoni “in Prizren in the class of Professor L. Sapunxhiu. In 2004 he enrolled in Academy of Arts, University of Prishtina, in the class of the well-known professor Xhevdet Sahatxhija. Çoçaj successfully finished the Master’s degree in guitar interpretation with Professor Sahatxhija. He is the Winner of the first and second place in International competition of young musicians organized by ArsKosova in Prishtina. He participates in solo concerts and various ensembles, such as in DamFest, Tirana Guitar Sounds, ReMusica, ChopinFestival. He was a Jury member at the Ehat Musa Competition in Peja, at ArsKosova Pristina and the guitar competitions in Tivat, Montenegro. He is distinguished for pedagogic work, where his students are rewarded in various international competitions. Çoçaj currently works at the music schools “Prenk Jakova” in Prishtina, School of Music in Gjilan and Music School “Misbah & Friends” in Prishtina.
Giannis Paleodimopoulos was born in 1947 in Karpenissi – Greece and studied Economics at the University of Stockholm, Sweden. He lived for thirteen years in Sweden, and in 1980 he met Mr. Karl Eric Gummesson, a Swedish maker of renaissance lutes and classical guitars. Under his guidance Mr Paleodimopoulos began to experiment with stringed musical instruments. After his return to Greece in 1983, he established his first workshop in the Old Upper Town of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, and in 1999 transferred it to a small village, Kato Sholari, near Thessaloniki, where he began making classic guitars, and various Greek traditional stringed instruments, on a professional basis. Since 1988 he has devoted himself to building classical guitars, using high quality materials, and his long-term experience on the subject, and achieving successful results. For five years he was the master teacher at the school of traditional instruments at Kastoria. Mr. Paleodimopoulos has now participated for many years in the greatest guitar festivals and guitar exhibitions around the world. His famous guitars are played in Germany, Switzerland, Cyprus, Portugal, Korea, Sweden, USA, Croatia, Serbia, Mexico, Turkey and Greece. In 2007 he won the bronze medal (3d Prize, in the 1st Classical Guitar Making Competition “Cremona Mondomusica”– Italy, where the 1st Prize was not assigned). Dominique Field, Matthias Dammann and Vincenzo De Bonis were but a few of the members of the jury of the competition, under the artistic direction of the maestro Giovanni Puddu. “The main quality of this jury – stated Mr. Puddu proudly – is its variety. It consists of great Masters of Classical Guitar Schools and researchers such as Mr. Dammann. With such a jury the winning instruments will be certainly exceptional”.
Luka Milani had his first classic luthery teachings from Bruno Barnes, in 1996 he opened his first workshop in Vicenza (Italy). In 2001 he moved his business to Crete (Greece), deepening meantime his knowledge about local woods and construction skills. Back to Italy in 2008 he widened his competency in guitar making approaching pianos and strings physics. He worked on several guitar models always keeping himself focused on classical guitar construction. His instruments are currently played in several countries.
Xhevdet Sahatxhija graduated from the Music Academy in Zagreb in the class of Professor Darko Petrinjak. As a guitar professor, he has been working for many years in Music scholl Pavla Markovca. Currently, he is an External Associate at Music Academy in Zagreb and a Docent at Faculty of Art in Pristina. He educated generations of young guitarists among which are those who won valuable awards at national and international competitions and who are now recognized artists and music teachers. In 2004 he received Croatian Society of Music and Dance Teachers Annual Award. From 2003 to 2009 he was the head of professional council for guitar pedagogues and a mentor to many young teachers. Sahatxhija is the President of Croatian Society of Guitar Teachers and since 2009 the Principal of Music Scholl in Novska. In addition to regular teaching work he also leads the International Summer Guitar School in Pucisci and Milna on Brac and in Porec as well. Besides being a jury member at many national and international competitions, he also performs solo and as a member of various chamber ensembles in Croatia and abroad.