Artistic director of 92nd Street Y’s Art of the Guitar series, Benjamin Verdery has been chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music since 1985, and he is artistic director of the Yale Guitar Extravaganza. As a performer, Mr. Verdery has given concerts around the world, appearing at the International Guitar Festival (Havana), the Festival International de Agosto (Caracas), the Schubert Festival (Bad Urach, Germany), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and elsewhere. Among the composers who have written works for him are Daniel Asia, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman and Roberto Sierra.
In addition to his solo career, Mr. Verdery has appeared with such diverse artists as Hermann Prey, John Williams, Paco Peña, Leo Kottke, Andy Summers and Jessye Norman. He has performed duos with his wife, flutist Rie Schmidt, and with steel guitarist William Coulter. As a composer, Mr. Verdery’s works are published by Doberman-Yppan. His recent works include Now and Ever for David Russell (Telarc) and Peace, Love and Guitars for John Williams and John Etheridge (Sony).
As a recording artist, Mr. Verdery has released over 15 albums. His latest recording, entitled Branches, with arrangements of Bach, Mozart, Strauss and Hendrix, is available on Amazon.com. His recording, Start Now (Mushkatweek), won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award. Verdery is currently working on a second recording with guitarist Bill Coulter. His website is benjaminverdery.com.
Alessandro Bruni is a 10th grader at Bard High School Early College (Manhattan) where he is on an accelerated academic track. This summer, he was selected as one the the National Security Language Initiative-Youth Scholar, a competitive US State Department scholarship where he studied Mandarin and Asian Studies at the Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, China. Although he is strong in his academics, his love lies in his music. As a Recanati-Kaplan Music Scholar, representing 92nd Street Y, he has the opportunity to escape the high pressures of an intense education to balance with his passion - classical guitar. This year he has performed community service concert for the Lott Residence and once again, with the New Legacy Orchestra at Brooklyn Borough Hall. One of the highlight this past year was playing for Mr. Eliot Fisk, the noted American Guitarist, in a master class where the Master himself told the young man to "rebel outside of himself." Alessandro is taking his advice to heart and will delve into Flamenco this coming year under the teaching of his long time mentor and teacher, Michael Cioffero. He has received a Honors and Distinction certificate from the Carnegie Hall's Royal Conservatory Achievement Program.
Menuet in A Minor - BWV Anh. 115 - J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750)
Rachel Roth lives in NYC and is a sophmore at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She takes her studies very seriously and is an honor roll student. When graduating last year, Rachel received the Award for Creative Arts for her school. She has been studying and playing Guitar for the past 7 years. Her genre’s of study include both jazz and classical. She began studying Classical Guitar at The Monmouth Conservatory of Music, a non-profit community school of music dedicated to excellence in classical music education and performance. Rachel was also a first chair guitarist with The Count Basie Theater Jazz Arts Academy a comprehensive jazz studies program offering performing ensembles, improvisation and jazz history. She expanded her guitar studies this summer working with renowned teacher Michael Cioffero at the 92Y School of Music concentrating on Classical and Flamenco. Rachel is a member of the New York Jazz Academy studying with Dave Allen a noted Jazz musician in New York City. She not only studies with Dave, but participates in their Jazz Ensemble. Rachel is passionate about studying, writing and composing music and she is currently recording her first demo CD to be released later this year. Rachel has always been a strong advocate for giving back to the community and sharing her music with others. This began with her first benefit concert a few years ago for Music for Relief, an organization of artists, music industry professionals and fans working to raise funds and awareness to support disaster relief to impoverished countries and also reduce global warming.
Etude No. 1 - Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 - 1959)
Mariam Saprichyan, Armenian originally from Riga, Latvia, has found refuge in music since the age of 3. Throughout her life, she's played several instruments and has studied different forms of dance. Also, she is fluent in three languages. At the age of 14, while attending her first year at "Nellija", a Russian music school located in Riga, she found a mature passion for classical and flamenco guitar. There, she was instructed by Victor Petrovich, then was placed in an ensemble of 20 guitarists. After the first year of constant rehearsals, they traveled to Berlin and played at the "Russische Haus". After moving to the states in 2004, she joined the Believe in Music Studio where she studied classical and jazz guitar with Tsuyoshi Furutsu. Today, she studies Sociology at Hunter College and continues to study music with Michael Cioffero.
Prelude by Erwin Schwartz-Reflingen
Ezekiel Bardash is a Music Performance student at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. Coming from a musical family, Ezekiel has been playing guitar since age 12. For about four years he studied jazz under the great Jazz guitarist Kenji Shinagawa and played in the Jazz band at the Berkeley Carroll school, with whom he one a Maestro Award at the Heritage Jazz Festival in Boston, Massachusets. However, upon entering Aaron Copland School of Music, he found that he had a hidden passion for classical guitar. He currently studies under Michael Cioffero at the 92nd Street Y School of Music, as well as Bill Anderson at Aaron Copland.
Prelude No. 1 - Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 - 1959)