Concerts and Recordings Continue to Raise Money for Music Education, Putting Guitars in the Hands of New York City Public School Students, and Building Awareness of the Guitar's Diverse Repertoire.

NEW YORK, NY - As a universal instrument-perhaps the only instrument to have successfully crossed over to the world's vast number of musical traditions-the guitar holds a special significance to people of all cultures, genders, and ages. Following the success of its first five seasons examining the many aspects of the guitar's musical personality, and with rave reviews in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Jazz Times, the New York Guitar Festival announces its sixth season of concert performances, January 14 though February 8. The festival boasts over 20 performances, by some 60 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock/pop, traditional and avant garde styles. Participating venues will include Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Joe's Pub, the 92nd Street Y, the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, Flushing Town Hall, The American Youth Hostel Concert Chapel, and The Monkey. Featured artists will include Daniel Lanois, Bill Frisell, Jorma Kaukonen, Vernon Reid, Taj Mahal, Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, Toshi Reagon, Sonny Landreth, Rory Block, Cindy Cashdollar, Jesse Harris, David Tronzo, Bill Morrissey, Laura Cantrell, Brandon Ross, Gary Lucas, Chocolate Genius, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The National, Mark Eitzel, Dan Zanes, Martha Wainwright, Michelle Shocked, among many others. Concerts will range from an all-day Guitar Marathon focusing on the guitar's history in Spain, to eclectic tributes to Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Elizabeth Cotten, Charley Patton, and Bruce Springsteen, to multi-media performances combining film, animation and live music.

The New York Guitar Festival, a not-for-profit arts organization, was founded in 1999 by musician and producer David Spelman, who serves as its Artistic Director. The Festival's goal is to broaden the public's appreciation for the guitar by fostering emerging talent, supporting innovative collaborations among outstanding artists, and commissioning new works. In addition to producing eclectic concerts and radio broadcasts, its Guitar Harvest series of recordings supports outreach programs in New York City public schools. The Festival is presented with support from Apple Computer, The D'Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts, Avalon Guitars, WNYC Radio, WFUV Radio, WBJB-90.5 The NIGHT, Guitar Player Magazine, Frets Magazine, Relix Magazine,,, and Brooklyn Brewery.

"The original idea behind the Festival was to put guitars into the hands of New York City school students with no strings attached," says Spelman, "We're proud to have started that process in partnership with the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Center. Because the guitar is used in so many genres of music and by so many cultures, it has a unique potential to bring together disparate communities. The New York Guitar Festival was established to raise money to fund scholarships to provide guitars and musical training free of charge. In the process, we aim to encourage hope and inspiration through music making at a time when arts education has fallen prey to so many budgetary cutbacks." The beneficiaries of the New York Guitar Festival's scholarship programs are young students enrolled at an innovative elementary school on Manhattan's upper west side.


World Financial Center's Winter Garden Tickets and information: (212) 945-2600 /

Saturday, January 14, 8:00pm - FREE OPENING NIGHT CONCERT
The Nebraska Project: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the classic Bruce Springsteen album. All new interpretations of Springsteen classics performed by Laura Cantrell, Dan Zanes, Vernon Reid, The National, Mark Eitzel, Martha Wainwright, Jesse Harris, Michelle Shocked, Kevn Kinney, Lenny Kaye, Gary Lucas, Harry Manx, and more to be announced soon. This distinctive roster of singer-songwriters, bands and instrumentalists will perform their own arrangements of the album's ten songs, in original album order, plus several instrumental interludes. Nebraska, praised as one of the Boss' greatest achievements, recounts melancholy tales of killers and cops, truck drivers and people who have been driven to such a degree that they can no longer navigate their way through the quagmire they find themselves swimming in. The genius of the album is unmistakable though - with just an acoustic guitar and howling harmonica, these songs are sung in the first person, giving them an intimacy that is rarely felt from an album. This opening night event is free, with general admission seating, but a limited number of benefit tickets will be available that include VIP seating, and a post-concert meet-the-artists reception to benefit the NYGF's educational outreach program. More information will be posted on Presented in association with WFUV Radio and broadcast on 90.7 FM.

Thursday, January 26, 12:30 PM
Cindy Cashdollar & Friends - FREE
A free lunchtime concert in lower Manhattan. What makes steel guitar and Dobro player Cindy Cashdollar's musical journey stand out is a combination of restless creativity and an uncanny ability to understand and add to a wild array of styles. She has worked with the likes of Leon Redbone, Graham Parker, Bob Dylan (on his Grammy winning Time Out Of Mind CD), Jorma Kaukonen, Peter Rowan, and the stellar Cajun group BeauSoleil. As the steel guitarist for eight years with western swing kingpins Asleep At The Wheel, she logged many road miles and won five Grammy Awards.

92nd Street Y
Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Tickets and information: 212-415-5500 /

Sunday, January 15, 2 pm and 7pm, with a break at 5pm.
The Guitar Marathon: 450 Years Of Spanish Guitar. Featuring Pepe Romero (the Marthon's co-curator), Eliot Fisk, Bill Kanengiser, Paul O'Dette, Hopkinson Smith, Martha Masters, Jason Vieaux, Ana Vidovic, Gyan Riley, Dominic Frasca, Bryce Dessner, and others. Our 3rd biannual Guitar Marathon. In this edition, the guitar's rich history in Spain will be explored, from renaissance and baroque, to classical and flamenco repertoire. The programming will also include three world premieres, all commissioned by the NYGF. The three young composers, Gyan Riley, Dominic Frasca, and Bryce Dessner will perform their own works. Tickets $30/Each or $50 for Both Concerts

Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
57th Street at 7th Avenue
Tickets and information: (212) 247-7800,

Sunday, January 29, 8:30pm
Bill Frisell's 858 Quartet featuring Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola) and Hank Roberts (cello), with special guests Ron Miles (trumpet) and Greg Tardy (tenor sax and clarinet). The Grammy Award-winning guitarist and composer Bill Frisell performs new work for his string ensemble & special guests plus the world premiere of a new, short multi-media piece created in collaboration with visual artist Jim Woodring. Deceptively mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Bill Frisell has been described by Spin magazine as the "Clark Kent" of electric guitar who "coaxes and slams his hovering split-toned ax into shapes of things to come." Jim Woodring has been called everything under the sun, but we like "Nuts" and "Genius" the best. | Tickets $30/$35

Friday, February 3, 8pm
Daniel Lanois' "Silvio" Project: The New York premiere of a new experimental film by Daniel Lanois
Celebrated guitarist, singer, songwriter & producer Daniel Lanois brings his music and experimental film images to NYC for the first time. Glorious pedal steel guitar playing and innovative sonics will make for an electrifying night. Lanois will be joined by drummer Brian Blade, and other guests, TBD. Of his last NYGF performance, The New York Times wrote: "In a rare performance playing solo pedal steel guitar, Mr. Lanois, who has produced albums by U2 and Bob Dylan, used the instrument for hovering meditations. Liquid chords welled up behind folky melodies, making music that was expansive yet humble, as if contemplating wide-open spaces." Tickets $30/$35

Merkin Concert Hall
Goodman House, 129 West 67th Street
Tickets and information: 212-501-3303 •

Wednesday, January 18, 8pm
Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain: The music of Mississippi John Hurt. Featuring Jorma Koukonen, Bill Morrissey, Brandon Ross, and the Jen Chapin Trio. Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966) was an amazingly lyrical and refined fingerpicking guitarist, who sang with a warmth and gentleness unique in the field of blues. Classic songs such as "Frankie," "Louis Collins," "Avalon Blues," "Candy Man Blues," "Big Leg Blues," and "Stack O' Lee Blues" were highly influential on subsequent generations of musicians. Tickets $35

Wednesday, January 25, 8pm
Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain: The music of Skip James. Featuring: Sonny Landreth with Cindy Cashdollar, Gary Lucas, Chocolate Genius, and Alvin Youngblood Hart. Among the earliest and most influential Delta bluesmen to record, Skip James (1902-1969) influenced everyone from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton. Tickets $35

Wednesday, February 1, 8pm
Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain: The music of Charley Patton. Featuring: John Hammond, Rory Block, Dave Tronzo, and Toshi Reagon. A giant in the field of Delta country blues, Charley Patton (1887-1934) was an acknowledged celebrity and seminal influence on musicians throughout the Delta. His music embraced blues, ballads, ragtime, to gospel, and his influence can be heard in the music of Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Son House, and Robert Johnson. Tickets $35

Wednesday, February 8, 8pm
Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain: The music of Elizabeth Cotten. Featuring: Taj Mahal, Mike Seeger, Jolie Holland and Marvin Sewell. Elizabeth Cotten (1895- 1983) was a true original and among the most influential guitarists to surface during the roots music revival era. Turning her instruments upside-down to play them left-handed, she developed a truly distinctive guitar style and sound. Her song "Freight Train" has become a fingerpicker's classic. Tickets $35

Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, Queens
Tickets and information: (718) 463-7700 ext 222,

Saturday, January 21, 8pm
"The Goddess" + "Lotus Blossom" featuring the world premiere of two new film scores by Leni Stern and Brandon Ross. Guitarist/composer Leni Stern (whom The New Yorker described as "Fleet and Lyrical" and LA Weekly classified "one of the world's most fully realized songwriters and guitarists") performs live music to accompany a screening of the 1934 silent film "The Goddess." Written/directed by Yonggang Wu, the films stars legendary actress Ruan Lingyu, who plays a single mother whose only hope for supporting her son is to submit to a life of prostitution. Guitarist Brandon Ross, and bassist Stomu Takeishi, will perform music to accompany the surviving reel of "Lotus Blossom" from 1921. Tickets $20

Saturday, January 28, 8pm
"A Story of Floating Weeds" + "A Page of Madness" featuring the world premiere of two new film scores by Alex de Grassi and Henry Kaiser. Guitarist/composer Alex de Grassi ("The level of de Grassi's accomplishment is astonishing" wrote Jazziz Magazine) performs music to accompany the 1934 silent film "A Story of Floating Weeds." Celebrated Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu weaves a tragic tale of rekindled love, showing how it profoundly changes the lives of a retired actor, his present girlfriend, his ex-lover and the son he never knew he had. Henry Kaiser, the highly innovative guitarist/improviser/producer, performs music to excerpts from Kinugasa Teinosuke's 1926 film "A Page of Madness." | Tickets $20.

The Monkey
37 W. 26th Street
Tickets and information: (212) 481-1601,

Last year, guitarist/composer Dominic Frasca opened The Monkey, a boutique state-of-the-art surround sound performance space which seats just 40 people per show. "I wanted to create the ultimate boutique performance space," says Frasca. "A space that is all about the music, the sound and the visuals, not about selling drinks: I was tired of going to clubs to play or hear music in sonically hostile environments."

Thursday, January 19, 8pm
Andre LaFosse. Andre LaFosse calls his live performance style ?turntablist guitar': a cutting-edge cut-up of hip-hop, avant-garde, funk, and left-field dance music... which just happens to be played completely live with only a guitar, an Echoplex, and a tiny smattering of effects. Andre will be returning to both the NYGF (where he shared a bill with David Torn in 2004) and The Monkey (where he presented a highly successful run of shows in March ?05) for a one-night performance, exploring his concepts for the role of a six-string electric guitar in a non-linear, post-DJ world. Tickets $15

Friday, January 20, 8pm
Dominic Frasca. Guitarist Dominic Frasca, winner of the First Annual Guitar Player Magazine Guitar Hero Competition, will perform an evening of original compositions for solo 6-and-10-string electro/acoustic guitar. Time Out New York wrote, "Fans of classical minimalism, the hypnotic counterpoint of early 80's King Crimson, and the peerless techniques of the late Michael Hedges will find much to admire in his rich, propulsive, polyphonic works. It's like New Age music for people who grew up listening to Black Sabbath." Tickets $15

Sunday, January 22, 7:30pm
The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo
Guitarists Laura Oltman and Michael Newman have received acclaim for their 10 CDs and have been featured widely in the national media. Their concert tours and collaborations with such artists as fiddler Eileen Ivers (Riverdance), Turtle Island String Quartet, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes), have taken them to forty-nine states and five continents. They will perform new duets they have premiered in the past few years by Roberto Sierra, Augusta Read Thomas, Dusan Bogdanovic, Lowell Liebermann, Rami Vamos and Randall Avers. Tickets $15

February 2, 8pm
Stephen Griesgraber. Guitarist/composer Stephen Griesgraber will present Redhooker, an evening of music for guitar and live electronics. Inspired by his interest in hypnagogia and the altered auditory experiences reflected in various dream states, Stephen will perform music for solo guitar, guitar with live electronics and samples, as well as music for guitar and ensemble. he work will be representational as well as interpretive in its exploration of states of semi and unconsciousness. Tickets $15

February 4, 7pm
Kevin Gallagher. Kevin Gallagher, winner of both the 1993 Guitar Foundation of America Competiton and the 1997 Francisco Tarrega competition, will premiere his new "avant-pop" group, Electric Kompany. The group arranges, composes and commissions music for rock quartet. For this concert, they will perform compositions by Arvo Part, Jacob Ter Veldhuis, Marc Mellits, and others. Tickets $15

February 5, 4pm
Michael Nicolella. Praised by Gramophone for his "stunning technical skill and unfailing musicality" and characterized by Classical Guitar magazine as "a fully enlightened musician of our time," Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America's most innovative and eclectic classical guitarists. He will perform music for classical and electric guitar, including works by Steve Reich, J.S. Bach, Hans Werner Henze, Jimi Hendrix and himself. Tickets $15

Joe's Pub
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
Info: 212-539-8770 • Tickets: 212-239-6200 •

Dates & Programs TBD...

American Youth Hostel Concert Chapel
891 Amsterdam Ave. (@ 103rd Street)

January 22, 3pm
Flamenco in the City Featuring Dennis Koster, Jose Ramos, and Ivan & Juan Gomez. A celebration of the flamenco soul with some of New York's finest guitarists and dancers, presented in partnership with the New York City Classical Guitar Society. Tickets $25 and $20 for NYCCGS members.

Thanks to the generosity of Apple Computer and the New York Guitar Festival artists, podcasts of live concert recording, artist interviews, commentary, readings, and previously unreleased tracks by festival artists will be available for free download on the iTunes Music Store. Full information and links will be posted on the festival website.

WNYC Music Director John Schaefer and NYGF founder, David Spelman, have produced an exclusive compilation CD entitled Guitar Harvest, to promote the New York Guitar Festival and raise money for it's scholarship fund. Echoing the educational emphasis of the festival, the theme of the disc is "Teachers, Mentors & Inspirations." Acoustic guitarist Alex DeGrassi plays a tune by guitar icon Jimi Hendrix; the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo pay respect to their Cuban mentors in a rendition of Isaac Albeniz's "Cuba," while eclectic jazzman Bill Frisell actually plays a duet with his former guitar teacher, Dale Breuning. Ralph Towner (Oregon) contributes a multi-tracked duet in tribute to the German lutenist Sylvius Leopold Weiss, while gifted young acoustic guitarist Richard Leo Johnson honors the Delta blues tradition with "The New West Helena Blues." Gary Lucas's addition fondly remembers his late songwriting partner Jeff Buckley. Other guitarists represented on Guitar Harvest include Andy Summers (The Police), Pierre Bensusan, David Patterson (New World Guitar Trio), Benjamin Verdery, Vernon Reid (Living Colour, Black Rock Coalition), the California Guitar Trio, Henry Kaiser, and others. Full CD liner notes, and information on how to order the recording is available on the festival website.

[Published on: 11/15/05]

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