2020 Artists & Performers
Jernej Bervar - Joe Carter - Paul Gabriel - Mak Grgic (artistic director) - Seth Himmelhoch
Instruments of the People - David Madsen - Lau Noah - Tali Roth - Paul Green's Rock Academy
Sven Rainey (educational director)
Jernej Bervar is an award-winning musician, guitar player, composer, arranger, and
producer, living in New York City. Jernej discovered his passion for music at early age of 4. Coming from a classical background, he soon developed interest in jazz. In 2012, Jernej was awarded the scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music and has moved to Boston to study jazz guitar.
Jernej won several notable awards, including John Laporta Jazz Award and Performance
Division Award. In 2014, he won first prize at the international Wilson Center Guitar
competition in Milwaukee, USA.
Jernej is performing at concerts nationally and internationally in Europe, USA, Africa,
and Asia, including festivals such as the prestigious Montreux Jazz festival. He has been
featured on numerous albums, released in Europe, USA, Japan, and China, and has
worked with leading artists such as Divinity Roxx, Victor Wooten, Nona Hendryx, Ali
Caldwell, Cory Henry, and Sharay Reed, among others
Joe Carter started guitar studies at an early age, eventually focusing on Jazz. While earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in Jazz Performance and starting his Jazz Ph.D. studies at New York University he studied privately with guitarists Sal Salvador, John Scofield, Allan Hanlon, saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Don Friedman. After several performance and teaching trips to Brazil his current specialty is Brazilian Jazz, combining Straightahead and Bebop styles of Jazz with Samba, Bossa Nova and Northeast styles of Brazilian music.
His latest two CDs showcase his familiarity with Brazilian music; UM ABRACO NO RIO (An Embrace Of Rio) was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian musicians. World reknown harmonica virtuoso Mauricio Einhom, bassist Luis Alves and drummer Joao Cortez have previously performed with Joe Carter in different group settings on Joe's various performance trips to Brazil. THE SAMBA RIO TRIO CD is Joe Carter's U.S. version of his group utilizing the talents of two of the better known Brazilian artists residing in New York: bassist Nilson Matta and legendary drummer Portinho.
During the course of his career Joe Carter has recorded and/or performed with Jazz artists such as Art Farmer, Lee Konitz, Cecil Payne, Rufus Reid, Harvie Swartz. Akira Tana, Stafford James, Richard Wyands, Don Friedman, Hendrik Meurkens, Steve Kuhn, Eddie Bert, Mike Longo, Nabil Totah, Ray Mosca, David Finck, Bill Hardman, Junior Cook, Jamil Nasser and Al Harewood among others; and with Brazilian Jazz artists such as Mauricio Einhom, Robertinho Silva, Luis Eca, Luis Alves, Paulo Russo, Joao Cortez, Claudio Caribe, Alosio Aguiar, Nilson Matta, Portinho, Jehovah de Gaita and others.
Paul Gabriel is a Blues Music Award nominee, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and Blues Hall of Fame inductee.
Paul Gabriel is a Blues Music Award nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter. In March 2018 Paul Gabriel was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Blues Society for excellence in guitar playing, singing and songwriting; also for outstanding bandleader and entertainer. In July 2018 he was inducted into the CT Blues Hall Of Fame as a Master Blues Artist.
He has shared the stage with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters Band, Mick Taylor, James Cotton, Robert Cray, Jaimoe, Gatemouth Brown, Buckwheat Zydeco, Matt Murphy, Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Toy Caldwell, Roomful Of Blues, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Band, Lonnie Mack, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, Mark Naftalin, Arthur Neilson, Shemikia Copeland, Bonnie Bramlett, Susan Tedeschi, Christine Ohlman, Sue Foley, Debbie Davies, Candye Kane, Tommy Castro, Joe Bonamassa, James Montgomery, Gov'T Mule, Orleans, Tower Of Power, Rick Derringer, Issac Hayes and many, many more.
He has appeared on three Harry Chapin albums, played slide guitar on Rory Block’s Grammy nominated album, ‘Mama’s Blues’ and toured with Michael Bolotin (Bolton). His latest release, ‘Paul Gabriel- What’s The Chance’ was produced by Duke Robillard for Shining Stone Records and was nominated for a Blues Music Award in 2014. It charted for 22 weeks on The Roots Music Report, Living Blues Chart, Blues Debut Chart and Cashbox Charts, reaching #8 nationally and #1 in Connecticut.
While almost always performing with a Blues band under his own name, he has been a member of quite a few groups that always made the difference; most notably Blue In The Face, The Mojomatics and HooDoo Band.
The new album 'Paul Gabriel- Man Of Many Blues' produced by Duke Robillard for Smoke Ring Records will be released on August 2nd, 2019 and will be available in a variety of formats. The record is a culmination of 13 new original songs covering some not so typical Blues, a little Jazz ( featuring Duke , of course), some 60's style Rhythm and Blues infused with the incredible soulful backing vocals of Christine Ohlman( Saturday Night Live), and a rarely heard rocker right out of the twilight zone !
Mak Grgic - 2020 Artistic Director & Official Artist
Touted as a “gifted young guitarist” by the New York Times, and “a guitarist to keep an eye on” by the Washington Post, Mak Grgic is emerging as a star on the worldwide stage. An expansive and adventurous repertoire attests to his versatility and wide-ranging interests: from the Baroque and Renaissance to music of the cinema; from ethnic music of his native Balkans to extreme avantgarde and microtonal music, Mr. Grgic’s extraordinary talents and tastes as soloist, collaborator, and recording artist are fueled by his curiosity, imagination, and boundless energy.
As a concert artist, he averages eighty-five performances a year — nearly two bookings per week — as both soloist and collaborator. He is a founding member and active performer in two duos— the Flamenco-style “Duo Deloro” with Adam Del Monte, and the new music-focused “FretX Duo” with Daniel Lippel, guitarist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). As Young Artist in Residence with the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, he founded “DC8,” an octet declared “an inspiring addition to the contemporary music landscape in Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Times. Other ongoing collaborations include the JACK Quartet, Martin Chalifour (concertmaster, LA Philharmonic), cellists Jay Campbell and Joshua Roman, The Assad Brothers, and John Sant’Ambrogio (St. Louis Symphony).
A month-long tour recently took him to China, Japan and the Balkans. Other engagements include performances and residencies at several venues in Portugal; in Castilla-Leon/Spain, at the Teatro Cervantes de Bejar; the Sarajevo Music Academy; at several venues in Slovenia; the Paris Guitar Foundation; Zurich University of the Arts, and the Hong Kong International Guitar Festival.
In North America, he has performed at the Austin Classical Guitar (in recital with Martin Chalifour); Beyond Microtonal Music Festival/Pittsburgh, the Dallas Opera (with chamber orchestra) in performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’s The Lighthouse; Dumbarton Concerts/Washington, D.C.; Kitchener-Waterloo/Ontario; Lancaster Music Festival/Pennsylvania; the National Gallery of Art; NAMM Show/California; Strathmore Hall/Maryland; the New York Classical Guitar Society; Triangle Guitar Society/North Carolina; and numerous other venues and guitar societies across the globe.
Also an active entrepreneur and educator, Mr. Grgic is director of EuroStrings, a consortium of seventeen guitar festivals in Europe; as well as the European Guitar Festival Collaborative; Zabreb Guitar Festival; Roots & Notes Interactive Music Festival in Croatia; and the Music@Rush Hour/Los Angeles. He also serves as director of the Elemental Guitar in Santa Monica, an exciting program for youth, as well as an adjunct faculty member at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles.
An enthusiastic recording artist, Mak Grgic’s albums capture a probing and continuous exploration of the world of guitar and all its possibilities. His latest recordings, “Balkanisms“ for Naxos Music and “MAKrotonal” for MicroFest Records, explore a vast repertoire spanning ethnic music, microtonal, new music and early music on re-fretted instruments, such as a “zig-zag fretted Bach prototype guitar” that captures the temperaments of the Baroque period. Other albums in progress include an homage to Ligeti spotlighting gamelan-inspired guitar arrangements.Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1987, Mr. Grgic studied guitar in Zagreb with the revered Ante Cagalj at the Elly Basic Music Academy. By the age of 14, he was balancing his world champion status in karate with his love for the guitar. Throughout his high school years, he concertized in Ljubljana and Zagreb, splitting his weeks between the two cities, as well as competing in professional martial arts contests across Europe and Asia. Following an injury to his left thumb, he made the decision to focus solely on a career in music, going on to complete a bachelor’s degree with Alvaro Pierri at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
Pursuing advanced studies in the U.S., Mak Grgic was one of the first students to apply for USC Thornton’s new Arts Leadership graduate program, which he incorporated into his doctoral studies in guitar. He has been a student of William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, in addition to Brian Head, artistic director of Guitar Foundation of America. In the fall of 2017, he began the Artist Diploma program at USC, the first guitarist in the university’s history to be admitted to this elite program.
Mr. Grgic proudly plays and endorses an array of fabulous concert guitars made by diverse craftsmen, including German Antonius Muller, Chinese master luthier Hanson Yao, Bosnian Slavko Mrdalj, Slovenian Samo Sali, as well as a historic 1966 Jose Ramirez, all of this in addition to other quirky re-fretted and remodeled guitars.
Classical guitarist Seth Himmelhoch is known around the U. S. for his work as a soloist and as a partner in the flute and guitar duo, Duo Cavatina. He has made solo appearances in his home area at such venues as the 92nd St. Y, Alice Tully Hall, Wagner College in Staten Island, and St. Paul’s Chapel in NYC. He has performed around the US at Rhode Island College, Eastern Michigan University, and at guitar workshops in several states. Mr. Himmelhoch has also made appearances on cable television on NJ News 12, LITV and Staten Island Cable TV.
Duo Cavatina, an award winning flute and guitar partnership, has performed in numerous concert series throughout the Northeast. The Duo was awarded a debut recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie as winners of the Artists International Auditions. They have since been featured guests on live radio interview shows on WNYC (New York Public Radio) and WNTI (North Jersey Public Radio) and their Pittsburgh (PA) benefit recital was recorded and broadcast on WQED.
Lau Noah's journey as a songwriter and guitarist occurred by happenstance. She was born in Reus, Spain barely a few hours drive from Barcelona. She speaks, and now sings, in Catalan, Spanish, English and sometimes Hebrew. She'd played piano growing up (never guitar) and left Spain for New York City five years ago while in her late teens.
On a visit to Montreal in 2016, Lau hoped to go to a Patrick Watson concert with friends. But the performance sold out and she was left alone in an apartment while her friends went to the show. Then a snowstorm ensued. The apartment had two guitars and, with nothing else to do, she picked one up and began to play. She wrote her first song, "Pequitas," which means "Little Freckles." Now, not too many years later, her creativity on both classical guitar, her narrative poetry and the singing of that poetry make the musician Lau Noah a unique spirit.
Tali Roth has been hailed by Classical Guitar magazine as “an extraordinary solo and chamber musician” by The NY Times as “a marvelous classical Guitarist”.
Her recent engagement includes recording all Classical Guitar tracks for the Woody Allen film “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” that has been released in 2010.
Since her Carnegie Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra, she has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and her native Israel, appearing in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (with violinist Midori), the Caramoor Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Tel Aviv Henry Crown Hall, Teatro Solis ,Uruguay with glamourtango, Hayuza teatre ,Tokyo with Kumatubara and Silvia Duran dance companies and Teatro Presidente in San Salvador with the El Salvador National Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to her solo recitals, Ms. Roth has performed in a variety of settings — as an ensemble player with tali roth trio, on live television and radio in the U.S. and abroad, on stage in the New York Off-Broadway musical production of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s The Odyssey, by invitation for the U.N. in Washington, and for dignitaries such as former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and General Colin Powell.Among her prizes and awards are Top Prize in all categories at the Twenty-Third Masterplayers Music and Conductors Competition in Switzerland, First Prize in the Israeli National Guitarist Competition, and the New York Artist International Competition Award.
Ms. Roth studied with Joseph Urshalmi at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and subsequently with Sharon Isbin at the Juilliard School, where she earned her Master of Music degree. She has also trained at the Academia Chigiana in Sienna, Italy and the Cologne Academy in Germany, studying under Oscar Ghiglia and Hubert Käppel, respectively.
Tali Roth is heading the guitar program on the faculty of the Juilliard School’s Pre College Division. She is also an adjunct professor at NYU. In addition, she has presented master classes throughout the United States Japan and Latin America and has taught at The Aspen Music Festival.
Instruments Of the People, formed in 2009 by Francisco Roldàn and Danny Mallon, encompasses the global pairing of guitar and percussion throughout the ages. These easily obtainable instruments allowed a way for people to gather together and create music in communities around the world. IOP is a reflection of this living tradition and the people who continue to create a rich tapestry of musical culture.
Internationally celebrated musicians, Roldàn (guitar) and Mallon (percussion), come together to create a multicultural music experience. Instruments Of the People showcases a variety of styles including Bambuco, Blues, Danza, Joropo, Porro, Tango and more! This eclectic duo features music from Columbia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Spain, the United States of America and Venezuela.
The Paul Green Rock Academy (PGRA) is an advanced touring ensemble of young musicians between the ages of 10 and 18 who have been selected for their musical prowess, showmanship, love of performing, and ability to share the stage with professional musicians as they tour the world. This past summer, students of PGRA performed 10-day tours of the east coast, including headlining a festival with guest artist Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) and the incredible opportunity of opening for and performing with Jon Anderson (Yes) .
The Suzuki Music Schools, founded in 1997, is a non-profit community music school dedicated to the teaching of the Suzuki Method. With two schools in Westport and Orange it is one of the largest specialist community music schools of its kind in the US. As the organizing institution behind the Connecticut Guitar Festival it is the lead institution in a partnership of music institutions, presenters and artists throughout the region, organizing the festival artists and educational outreach of the festival with the festival administration. For more information on the educational side of the festival please contact our Educational Director, Sven Rainey