Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo
Newman&Oltman_pics Hailed as a “revelation to hear” by The Washington Post, the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo’s phenomenal musicianship places them solidly at the top of their field. For 35 years, their innovative programming, matchless technique and ensemble precision, combined with their commitment to expanding the repertoire for guitar duo make them a stand-out chamber ensemble in every way. Newman and Oltman’s concert tours have taken them to world cultural capitols and premier venues across five continents. Duo has demonstrated extraordinary stylistic breadth in their collaborations with such diverse artists as author Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”), composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, pianist Clarice Assad, and fiddler Eileen Ivers. Through their groundbreaking New Music Commissioning Program, Newman & Oltman have built a unique repertoire of works for two guitars by composers such as Paul Moravec, Augusta Reed Thomas, Lowell Liebermann, Dušan Bogdanovic, Arthur Kampela, and Roberto Sierra. Their artistry has also been captured on nearly a dozen other acclaimed recordings and has been recognized by grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America and ASCAP, among others. Highlights of this season include the world premiere of “Concierto Buenos Aires” composed for the Duo by Nuevo Tango master Daniel Binelli with l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Reims in France and with the Virginia Symphony (JoAnn Falletta, music director). The Duo has served as ensemble-in-residence at New York’s Mannes College the New School for Music since 1987.  Michael and Laura are founders and artistic directors of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes (www.newschool.edu/mannes/guitar) and Raritan River Music (www.RaritanRiverMusic.org). They are also co-artistic directors of the Lanciano International Guitar Seminar.
Newman & Oltman play Thomas Humphrey Pre-Millennium guitars (1978, 1981) with D’Addario EXP46C Composite Coated and Titanium Treble High Tension strings.
Michael Newman serves on the faculty of Mannes College. Laura Oltman serves on the faculties of Princeton University and Lafayette College.  For more information please visit their web site: www.guitarduo.com
Isabella Abbonizio
final-1558_2 Isabella Abbonizio is an Italian classical guitarist and musicologist born in Lanciano (CH) and currently based in New York City. Her passion for music manifested early in her life and brought her to pursue both instrumental and musicological studies. After studying at the G. B. Martini Music Conservatory of Bologna (Italy) she received the Ph.D. in musicology at the Tor Vergata University of Rome. From 2012 to 2015 she was a Visiting Scholar at New York University's Centre for European and Mediterranean Studies.
As a guitarist Isabella studied under the guidance of Griselda Ponce de Leòn and attended master classes with Roland Dyens, Frédéric Zigante, Piero Bonaguri, Eugenio Becherucci, Martha Masters and Joao Luiz from the Brazilian Guitar Duo. She performs both as soloist and in chamber ensembles. Isabella is a member of the Contemporanea Guitar Duo (I. Abbonizio/J. Olson) and a former member of the Brooklyn Guitar Quartet (with L. Frandsen, C. Cuestas, J. Miller). Her repertoire is focused on 20th and 21st century music and she premiered a number of works for guitar. As a musicologist, she realized the first extensive analysis on the guitar works of Maurice Ohana (1913-1992), published in the journal Il Fronimo. Her current research interests focus on 20th century Italian and French music, musical exoticism, Italian music and politics, colonial/postcolonial studies and music education. Her works are presented at international conferences, including International Society of Musicology and Italian Society of Musicology. She gives lectures in academic and cultural institutions, including Guitar Foundation of America and New York University, and she publishes in international scholarly journals.
Isabella is a professional music and guitar teacher with more than ten years of teaching experience in public and private schools in Italy and USA. Presently she is on the faculty of the Harlem School of the Arts. A guitar promoter, she is the North American Correspondent for the Italian guitar magazine GuitArt and co-founder and co-artistic director of Lanciano International Guitar Seminars with Newman&Oltman Guitar Duo. www.isabellaabbonizio.com
Francisco Bernier
Considered by critics as one of the world's leading classical guitarists of his generation, Francisco Bernier has gone on to forge a successful and prize-winning career throughout the years.
His achievements led him to perform in over 35 countries around the globe, in prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot and the Mogador Theatre in Paris, the Salle Corum in Montpellier, the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux, Oji Hall in Tokyo, the Kyoto Concert Hall, the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, Teatro Maestranza in Seville, Teatro Comunale in Alessandria, Merkin Hall in New York, Hall of the O.E.A (Organization of American States) in Washington D.C., and the Zellerbach Hall in San Francisco, to name a few.
Finalist in the Concert Artist Guild of New York and recipient of more than twenty international prizes including the "Michele Pittaluga" Competition, Francisco Bernier has performed with many orchestras, such as the Camerata of Saint Petersburg, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the Mediterranean Symphonic Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Vallés, the Symphonic Orchestra of Huelva and the Berkeley Symphony of San Francisco conducted by Kent Nagano.
He began his musical studies at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Seville and he then moved to France to continue his musical studies at the Ecole Normale "Alfred Cortot" in Paris under the direction of Maestro Alberto Ponce. He received his Superior Diploma of Execution and Concert Performer with distinction by means of a unanimous decision by the jury.
His interest in contemporary music has lead him to remain in contact with great composers of our time, such as Luis de Pablo, José M. Sánchez Verdú, Cesar Camarero, and José Manuel López amongst others. He is also a member of the Zahir Ensemble. In 2014, he was included in the top list of Spanish artists performing abroad with the help of the Ministry of foreign affairs (AECID).
Francisco currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville. He is the Artistic Director of the Seville Guitar Festival and General Director of Contrastes Records (London).www.franciscobernier.com
Vladislav Bláha
BlahaVladislav Blaha described by Music Opinion Magazine in London as one of the finest Czech guitarists, studied at the Brno Conservatoire and the F. Liszt University of Music in Weimar, Germany, The masterclass with C.Cotsiolis, A.Carlevaro and, with the aid of the British Council Fellowship, the study in England with G.Crosskey (Royal Northern COllege of Music) and J. W. Duarte in London completed his formal leasing. he received a Doctorate Degree at the College of Music in Bratislava, Slovakia and Docent Degree at Janacek Academy of Music, Brno. Blaha achieved international recognition as the Winner of four international guitar comperirions in: Volos/Greece, Exztergom/Hungary, Kutna Hora/Czech Republic and Markneukirchen/Germany. He received ,,Medale Bronze" in the Radio France International Competition in Paris. Concerts Blaha has given concerts in prestigious halls in 35 countries of Europe, Asia, Latin America in addition to U.S.A. – Carnegie Hall on Nov.17,  2014, England -  Royal Festival Hall and Conway Hall in London, Radio France in Paris, Tokyo, Roma, Berlin, New York, Jakkarta, Havana, Lima, Caracas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Vienna, Zurich, Brussel, Moscow, Valencia, Saigon, Hanoy, Mexico City, Guanajuato etc.  His richness of expression, together with his brillant virtuosity and stylish interpretation give cause for much critical acclaim throughout the musical word. He has releaded nine CDs as soloist and made numerous radio and television recordings in various countries. He is Dozent of Janacek Academy of Mucis and the Brno Conservatoire and gives masterclasses at music colleges and performs at festivals in the USA, Japan, MExico, Germany, Austria, England and others. Twenty seven composers from 16 countries dedicated works to him (J.W.Duarte: Moraviana, N. Koshkin: Usher Waltz, M. Tesar, F. Kleynjans, A. Tucapsky, M. Stedron, J. Cardoso, J. Morel and others) and some others let him play the premieres of their work (L.Brouwer, S. Rak, V. Kucera, ...). Blaha is president of Czech Classical Guitar Society and since 1992 has been director of the International guitar festival and courses Brno. wwwvlblaha.cz
Elina Chekan
elina-chekan A native of Minsk, Belarus, Elina Chekan (Ella) is a faculty member and the director of Pre-College & Suzuki Guitar Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she is pursuing Doctoral Degree from Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. Combining active performing and teaching careers, Ella is visible around the United States, Europe, and Asia as soloist and a chamber musician. She equally enjoys big halls and small venues and above all advocates sharing knowledge and passion for music. Duo Exaudi collaboration with Rene Izquierdo took them to perform at Iserlohn Festival in Germany, Taiwan National Concert Hall in Taipei, Royal Museum of Musical Instruments in Brussels, Belgium, concert halls in Moscow and St. Petersburg. This summer Ella is a guest artist at CaminoArtes Project in Spain, the Volterra Project in Italy, Mannes Guitar Festival in New York City, Festival de Musique Ancienne in Saint Savin, France and Wilson Center Guitar Competition in WI, USA.
In her teaching Ms. Chekan employs a differentiated educational approach focused on the individual needs of each student. Mrs. Chekan has extensive knowledge of guitar history, pedagogy and repertoire, and has experienced first hand different guitar schools of thought. Her experience allows finding unique tactics and repertoire selection for each of her students, providing them a solid foundation in technique and musicianship. In rethinking guitar pedagogy and her quest for present-day student repertoire, Ms. Chekan is working with musicians and composers encouraging them to write appealing and musically interesting pieces for the young generation of guitarists. Most recent collaboration with Argentinean composer Jorge Morel brought to life a serious of solo and ensemble pieces for young guitarists that are now published with MelBay. Jorge Morel dedicated his composition “Campanas” to Ms. Chekan, which is published in “The Magnificent Guitar of Jorge Morel”. Ella holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance, Music Education and Orchestral Conducting from Minsk Music College and the Belarusian Academy of Music. She studied there with the most distinguished professors Eugene Gridiushko, Valery Gromov and Valery Belyshev. In the United States Ella graduated from Yale University with Master of Music Degree and received the Louis and Anne Rosoff award under professor Benjamin Verdery. Ella plays Antonio Marin guitar and Savarez strings.
Gian Marco Ciampa
GianMarco_CiampaGian Marco Ciampa was born in 1990 and graduated in classical guitar at young age with Special Mention at the Conservatory "Santa Cecilia" in Rome. He is a former pupil of Maestro Arturo Tallini.
In the summer 2011 he was awarded a Diploma of Merit and a scholarship for the best students at the prestigious Accademia Chigiana di Siena, were he studied with Oscar Ghiglia. Since he was very young, he as been performing all over Italy and abroad, and broadcasted on Italian national television (RAI) and radio. On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013, he performed live on RAI 3, for the Italian Government officials. His unique talent  was featured on some of the most important national newspapers, including La Repubblica, La Nazione, Il Corriere Della Sera.
As fellowship recipient of the Lanciano International Guitar Seminar 1st edition scholarship, during the summer 2014 he attend the prestigious New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes College The New School for Music. In New York he also performed for the New York City Classical Guitar Society. The same year he was awarded with the prestigious Chitarra D’Oro as Young Talent by the Scientific Committee of the Alessandria International Guitar Competition Michele Pittaluga.
Gian Marco won a number of international competitions, including Paganini 2012 and European Competition of Guitar 2013. As the first Italian performer to be awarded after more than six years, he consequently was recognized with the Medal of the President of the Italian Republic.
In May 2015 Gian Marco left for China with #CiampaBeijingTour where he successfully performed  and taught master classes at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Academy of Opera of Beijing University and the beautiful Auditorium of Italian Cultural Institute.
An eclectic performer, Gian Marco is pursuing a career both as a classical guitarist and electric guitarist, performing live and in studio with his Italian successful band Libra, or as a sideman, ranging from rock to jazz, from pop to electronics. http://gmciampa.tumblr.com/
Massimo Delle Cese
MassimoDelleCese Prizewinner in numerous international competitions, Massimo was just 15 when ranked first at the 4th Ancona IT National Guitar Contest. After receiving highest marks for the Guitar Diploma in 1979 at Rome Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music and attended three years of summer Master Class courses with Manuel Barrueco, in 1982 he won the second prize at "Mauro Giuliani" International Competition and one year later he won the “Rome International Young Performers' Competition”, open to all instruments. Since then, he has been touring Italy and abroad, visiting more than 20 countries.  He became a guitar leader in his country, joining the new generation of guitar players regularly appearing at International Guitar Festivals all over the world, in recital, as soloist with orchestra, and until 2001 as a member of the St. Cecilia Guitar Trio. His solo recordings have received acclaim from audiences, critics and reviewers of international guitar magazines.  His most recent solo World Premiere Recording CD of the Italian guitarist/composer Mario Gangi's 22 Studies has been a great success, winning astonishing estimations by performers and composers, as well. In 2003 he was awarded in Rome the Gold Pegasus Prize for Classical Music, and in 2004 the City of Rome Prize as a tribute to his professional activity after performing at Rome’s new Auditorium “Parco della Musica”, giving a sold-out performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranjuez.
Currently he is active as a teacher too, serving as chair professor at L'Aquila Conservatory of Music (after Ferrara, Pescara and Perugia Conservatories) and giving a permanent master class course in Rome at Accademia Romana della Chitarra, further giving Master classes in several International Guitar Festivals (Santo Tirso Festival-Portugal, Arts Academy, Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Istanbul Guitar Festival, Izmir Conservatory, Valencia Guitar Festival, Malaga Festival, Cyprus EMU Guitar Festival, Perugia Classico, Giuliani Guitar Festival, Iserlohn Guitar Symposium, Rust Guitar Festival, Miami Guitar Festival, Radford VA Univ., Guitar Foundation of America, Naxos International Guitar Festival, Subotiça Festival, Belgrade, Bratislava, Brno etc.)  Also, Massimo pursues interest in new-music technologies, managing a project of “contamination” between the classical and midi guitar, endorsing the famous Canadian “Godin Guitars” midi classical guitar maker. Massimo is artistic director of the “Cassino Guitar Festival”, the “Guitars in Conservatory” series at L’Aquila Conservatory, and the “Accademia Romana della Chitarra” in Rome. Massimo Delle Cese uses Savarez Cantiga strings on an Antonius Muller guitar. www.massimodellecese.com
Gaëlle Solal
Gaelle_v4_CD1A guitarist of extraordinary passion and virtuosity, Gaëlle Solal was born in Marseilles (France) and began the guitar at age 6 with René Bartoli. At 14, she won three gold medals at the Conservatoire de Marseilles and as best student of all instruments, was awarded the Prix de la Ville de Marseille. A winner of 1st Grand Prix at Alessandria Competition, 1st Prize in Locquémeau, 1st Prize in Savona, 1st Prize in Sernancehle, Finalist at Concert Artists Guild New York, Honor Diplom at Accademia Chigiana and 2nd Prize at Guitar Foundation of America, Gaëlle has performed in more than 30 countries including Germany, Myanmar, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Spain, France, Gabon, India, Iceland, Italy, Laos, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Palestina, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Peru, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, USA and Japan. She has performed at Festival d'Ile de France, Noches en los Reales Alcázares in Sevilla, Festival dAvignon, Festival Montpellier-Radio France and at Salle Cortot (Paris), Zellerbach Hall (Berkeley), Tsuda Hall, Nikkei Hall, Oji Hall in Tokyo, Merkin Concert Hall (NY) and at the Guitar Foundation of America’s Nation Convention in 2011. She has presented concertos with the Berkeley Symphony, the Garde Républicaine Orchestra and the Philharmonic Turin Orchestra.
Recent and upcoming USA recitals include New York City Classical Guitar Society; the Garth Newel Chamber Music Festival (VA); Interlochen (MI); Cleveland Guitar Weekend; St. Louis Classical Guitar Society; the GFA Conventions, Charleston and Louisville; Hillsborough Community College, Tampa; Xavier University, Cleveland; the State University of New York, Fredonia; Sarasota Classical Guitar Society; Clemson University; the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; the Nashville Public Library; and educational outreach recitals for the Austin Classical Guitar Society, Texas, and teaching for the Albuquerque Public Schools. Gaëlle will also tour in France, Italy, Bosnia, Germany, Marocco and Peru. www.gaelle-solal.com     Salva Salva