In 1985, I was appointed chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, CT and have built it into one of the most vibrant and innovative guitar departments in the country. Yale University awards three graduate professional degrees through the School of Music: Master of Music, Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts. In addition there is an Artist Diploma for outstanding composers and performers holding a M.M. degree or its equivalent, a Certificate in Performance program for younger students of exceptional promise, and a combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music program offered in conjunction with Yale College. Undergraduate guitarists audition at the beginning of each year, after Yale University accepts them, and I teach advanced undergraduate students only.
Located in the heart of the campus, the Yale School of Music students benefit greatly from what this extraordinary university has to offer. In addition to weekly lessons, students perform in a one and a half-hour seminar/masterclass. During this class, students are able to practice performing the works they are currently studying and get additional teaching from me. This seminar also provides a time for various lectures given by me including, left and right-hand technique, pedagogy, repertoire and career development. For one hour a week, guitarists meet with him to read a variety of music including duos, trios and quartets which they often later perform.
I believe in helping the student ask and answer the questions that will assist them in becoming great artists. I feel students should consider different interpretation of a work, and never underestimate their musical intuition and ideas. I understand the highly competitive world of music and urge the student to realize that they all have a voice in the musical community.
Each semester at Yale, guitarists learn and perform a major chamber music piece at the guitar chamber music recital in Sprague Hall. Students also perform their chamber music pieces at the schoolÃ•s lunchtime concert series, as well as other wonderful venues on campus including the British Art Museum. I regularly invite internationally known guitarists to give masterclasses. These artists have included Eliot Fisk, David Russell, Sharon Isbin and John Williams. I host the biannual Yale Guitar Extravaganza, which has included such guests as Seymour Bernstein, John Gilbert, Frederic Hand, Hubert Kappel, David Leisner, Anthony Newman, Raphaella Smits and Andrew York.
The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library has an extensive collection of original manuscripts, including Giuliani, Villa-Lobos and Segovia. The school’s collection of historic musical instruments has guitars of Torres and Velasquez. The early music concert series has had such artists as Paul O’Dette, Nigel North and Richard Savino. In addition to the numerous guitar events on the Yale campus, the Connecticut Guitar Society has an impressive series of concerts and masterclasses which Yale students perform at and attend. Students have played several outreach concerts throughout the area. In addition, I am the artistic director of the Yale/ProArte Guitar Series in New York.
In January 2002, the Yale students along with Yale alumni performed my Scenes from Ellis Island at the 92nd Street Y as part of the New York Guitar Festival which was later broadcast on WNYC public radio.
The Yale School of Music has made great efforts to award as many scholarships as possible to guitarists. Over the years, I have attracted students from Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, England, France, Israel, Turkey, Russia and Venezuela. Many of my former students are excelling in the world of guitar: some have been competition winners, including the Guitar Foundation of America’s Competition, recorded on Nonesuch, and teaching in universities and conservatories such as University of California, Santa Cruz, Princeton University, Brooklyn College of Music, San Francisco Conservatory and Wesleyan University.