Guitarist Sven Rainey is becoming known for his expressive playing, versatility of musical programming, and enthusiasm for collaborations. He is a recent graduate of the doctoral program in classical guitar performance at the Hartt School of Music, studying with Richard Provost and receiving the La Bella Strings scholarship. His doctoral essay is titled “The Solo Guitar Sonatas of Manuel Ponce: The Influence of Nationalism, Impressionism, and Neoclassicism.”
Sven’s past solo and ensemble performances have been for Leo Brouwer’s 80th Birthday Concert, the Hartt School’s Evening With Guitar series, and concerts in the New England area at the Simsbury Historical Society, Connecticut Guitar Society, Eric Carle Museum, the West Hartford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Loves’ Labour’s Lost, and the Suzuki Music School’s concert series. Recent online collaborations include contributing to the international Virtual Guitar Orchestra and Twisted Spruce’s Parts, Together.
Sven is a registered Suzuki guitar instructor and maintains a thriving studio at the Suzuki Music Schools of Westport and Orange, CT, where his students regularly perform in both studio and community outreach recitals. Students have earned performance opportunities in the Honors Recital and Concerto and Aria Competition, and Sven was honored to direct the guitar department’s spotlight performance at the school’s 2015 Carnegie Hall concert. He was appointed Educational Director of the Connecticut Guitar Festival in 2019.
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 [GER-gich] is a star on the worldwide stage. An expansive and adventurous repertoire attests to his versatility and wide-ranging interests. From the ethnic music of his native Balkans to extreme avantgarde and microtonal music, his roles as soloist, collaborator, and recording artist are fueled by curiosity, imagination, and boundless energy. As a testament to his versatility and wide-ranging appeal, in 2018 MAK was invited by legendary singer-songwriter k.d. lang to perform as the opening act for the North American leg of her Ingénue Redux Tour.
As both soloist and collaborator, MAK averages eighty-five performances a year — nearly two bookings per week. 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 [Los Angeles Times].” Other ongoing collaborations include the JACK Quartet, The Assad Brothers, violinists Augustin Hadelich, Martin Chalifour and Chee Yun, and cellists Jay Campbell, Joshua Roman, John Sant’Ambrogio, and Clive Greensmith, formerly of the Tokyo String Quartet, as well as a residency with the Slovenian Philharmonic.
Charity activities include mentorship and fundraising for Bosana Foundation, a foundation for funding studies of underprivileged youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of fostering a better and more diligent working society for future prosperity in the country, fundraising concerts for underserved communities in Eastern Europe and orphanage support residency in Zenica, Bosnia.
Award winning and internationally renowned classical guitarist Christopher Ladd is recognized throughout North America and abroad as one of the most promising classical musicians of his generation. Fingerstyle Guitar hails his performances as being“… rendered confidently and expressively.” Praised as“… an exercise in extremes.” by Soundboard Magazine, he is highly sought after as a soloist and chamber musician.
Most recently Mr. Ladd was a featured performer at the 2017 Sarajevo International Guitar Festival. Noteworthy performances include appearances at the Vijećnica in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzgovina, Mengi and the Kaldalon Theater at Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland, the DiMenna Center in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Viennese Opera Ball hosted by the Austrian Embassy, the historic Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY and for former vice-president Al Gore at his residence in Washington, D.C. Active also as a chamber musician, Mr. Ladd is a founding member of The Pandora Duo which features acclaimed flutist Janet Arms, and The Amaranth Duo with Icelandic violinist Asa Gudjonsdottir.
In addition to performing pieces of standard repertoire, Mr. Ladd has premiered numerous new works by composers such as Kenneth Steen, Robert Carl, Nolan Stolz, Lief Ellis, Kathryn Swanson, Ty Alan Emerson, Ernst Bacon, Phillip Houghton and Frank Wallace. Recently he had the opportunity to work with GRAMMY and Academy Award winning composer John Corigliano, in a performance of his work Troubadours for guitar and chamber orchestra conducted by Edward Cumming.
As a recording artist Mr. Ladd’s multi-faceted career exemplifies his continual search for new ways to present the classical guitar. He has appeared on numerous projects for feature film, theater and the stage. His performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez can be heard on the documentary The Real Royal Trip directed by Sangh Kim and his performance ofJ.S. Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998 can be heard in The Asylum’s cult-hit Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. He also contributed his skills to the 25th Anniversary of the epic metal band While Heaven Wept’s newest release “Suspended at Aphelion” on Nuclear Blast Records which was released in late 2014. Most recently, his world-premiere recording of Robert Carl’s Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra entitled The Calm Bee in the Busy Hive was released on A Geography of Loss from New World Records in August 2016.
Mr. Ladd has been a prize winner in numerous competitions including the Appalachian Guitar Festival Solo Competition, American String Teachers Association Solo Competition and he was twice a semi-finalist in the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Competition.
Mr. Ladd currently serves on the faculty of The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts and The Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut as the Chair of the Guitar and Harp Program.
David Madsen founded what is now The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) Suzuki Guitar Program in 1991 and is now the Suzuki Guitar Coordinator. Madsen graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance from the University of Connecticut, studying with David McLellan and Ed Flower.
He has since studied with David Leisner and Pepe Romero. His Suzuki studies have been with Bill Kossler and Frank Longay. In 2000 David became the third registered Teacher Trainer in guitar with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has conducted training courses throughout North America and in Peru, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. In January 2016, David began training in Suzuki Early Childhood Education (birth to three) with Lynn McCall. Madsen currently serves on the Teacher Development Advisory Committee for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), and is also a member of the SAA Guitar Committee.