The Ten Very Best Colleges for Classical Guitar Performance

10. The Hartt School- Hartford, CT

Notable FacultyRichard Provost, Christopher Ladd

A school with a rich history of guitar performance instruction, the Hartt School currently holds one of the oldest classical guitar programs in the nation, having been founded in 1968. Their students have won prestigious academic appointments throughout the nation, including faculty appointments at prestigious music schools such as the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. The school also hosts collaborative performance opportunities with the Connecticut Guitar Society.

Check Out the Faculty: Here is a classic 90’s text by Richard Provost entitled Art & Technique of Practice.


9. Cleveland Institute of Music – Cleveland, OH

Notable FacultyJason Vieaux

In addition to his work as a teacher at Curtis, teacher and artist Jason Vieaux also takes on students in a select studio at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he heads the guitar program. CIM is often cited as one of the top schools in the nation for classical guitar performance.

Listen to the Faculty: Check Out Jason Vieaux performing Bach’s Lute Works


8. Manhattan School of Music – New York, NY

Notable FacultyDavid Leisner, David Starobin

A program headed by several prominent classical guitarists, including David Leisner, who is known not only for his famous performance anxiety conquering 1995 article Six Golden Rules, but also for curing himself of the debilitating hand and forearm disease focal dystonia. Leisner is an important musician outside of teaching, not only because of his leading expert advice on treating the disease that has halted the careers of many musicians, including Peabody faculty pianist Leon Fleisher, but also for playing a role in reviving the works of previously unknown 18th-century composers of the guitar. Another guitar teacher at MSM, David Starobin, is a superb classical guitarist who holds a joint appointment with the very recently created Curtis Institute of Music guitar department. Over 350 new compositions have been dedicated to Starobin.

Below is a video of Leisner explaining his relationship to music to a group of children.


7. San Francisco Conservatory of Music – San Francisco, CA

Notable FacultyDavid Tanenbaum, Sergio Assad, Lawrence Ferrara

California seems to be a hotspot for top guitar teachers, and there is no exception when it comes to the San Francisco Conservatory. Boasting an impressive faculty of many of the most popular guitarists in the entire world, including Sergio Assad, who has been an active pedagogue and clinician throughout the US, Europe, Latin America, etc. Assad, who commonly performs with his brother Odair Assad in the guitar duet Duo Assad. Other teachers included David Tanenbaum, who is a noted champion of modern classical guitar repertoire.

Listen to the Faculty: Check out the recording entitled Sergio & Odair Assad Play Piazolla.

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