Dr. Stephen Robinson
Stetson University (DeLand, FL)
Dr. Robinson is a well-respected, internationally renowned concert guitarist, recording artist and outstanding teacher who created the Guitar Studio at Stetson University. Our close and special relationship with him began in the Fall of 2009 where we received a master class and valuable clinic time. Back when we had our first “official” FHS Guitar Ensemble, those were our “salad” days; very inexperienced, we needed and wanted to improve. Needless to say, that one visit had a big and lasting impact on each other, where to this day we average two to three visits a year from him.
Through Mr. Perez’ recommendation to FMEA, Dr. Robinson was the 2013 All-State Guitar Clinician, and though he was unable to perform with the Guitar Orchestra at FMEA in January 2013 due to personal injury, we performed together at our Spring Concert in May 2013. He was again invited to be the FMEA All-State Guitar Clinician for 2018. The FHS Guitar Program was twice invited (2015 & 2017) to participate and perform at the Stetson University Guitar Day, hosted by Dr. Robinson. Our program will be back in the spring of 2019 to again participate and perform. Impressed with our rapid growth in attaining a very high level of musicianship and musical artistry, Dr. Robinson proudly and affectionately calls us his “Adopted” High School Guitar Program.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet &
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Bill Kanengiser is a co-founder of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, GRAMMY Award winner, internationally recognized award winning concert artist and Professor of Guitar at the University of Southern California. We met Bill at the 2013 Long Island Guitar Festival and after seeing our Guitar Orchestra performance, he expressed great interest in working with our program. Impressed with the FHS Guitar Program’s musicianship and collectivism, he visited for a week in February 2014 as “Artist-in-Residence”, working with our students and guitar ensembles in rehearsals, lessons, clinics and masterclasses. His visit culminated in a concert performance which included performing with the FHS Guitar Orchestra, Shingo Fujii’s three movement masterwork, “Concierto de Los Angeles – for Solo Guitar and Guitar Orchestra”. The FHS Guitar Orchestra performed a five movement concerto by Sergio Assad titled “The Walls” with Bill at the 2018 Florida Guitar Festival, at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
State College of Florida (Bradenton, FL)
In February 2012, all three FHS Guitar Ensembles participated in the FMEA State Guitar Festival at Blake High School in Tampa, FL. Mr. Willis was our clinician for all three ensemble performances. His tireless energy, valuable musical advice, technical insight and wonderful compliments were greatly appreciated by our students. He was so impressed by our overall program that he gave to us as a gift, a collection of his music, “Ten Vignettes for Guitar Ensemble”.
Working together again in the Fall of 2012, Mr. Willis worked with our classes and ensembles, elevating our musicianship. Impressed by his teaching, Mr. Perez recommended to the Florida Music Educator Association that Mr. Willis be strongly considered for hire as an FMEA All-State Guitar Ensemble Clinician; happily he was for the 2014 FMEA All-State Music Conference. He is an outstanding guitarist, teacher and composer. Many of his compositions are published through ClearNote Publications. In concert we have prominently featured many of his compositions in recent years including exciting ensemble performances of “Fire and Ice“, “All In A Day’s Work“, “¡Fuego! A Tango for Guitar Quartet“, “The Floating Ancillary Ants“, and “Fresco: for Solo Guitar and Guitar Ensemble“.
The Legato Foundation, Suffolk County Community College & Stony Brook School (Long Island, NY)
We met Christopher at the 2013 Long Island Guitar Festival. After hearing the FHS Guitar Orchestra perform, he was very impressed with our students’ music ability and wanted to visit FHS and work with our guitar program. Being a very passionate educator and outstanding musician, we enjoyed having him as “Artist-In-Residence” during the Fall of 2013 where he worked with our students in rehearsals, masterclasses and clinics. He ended his visit with us by presenting an outstanding and musical concert, of which we performed together Rex Willis’ “Fresco: for Solo Guitar and Guitar Ensemble” in concert together.
In 2016 he founded “The Legato Foundation” with its’ goal and purpose to create connections between classical music and the diverse communities across Long Island, New York. He is a performance artist and endorser for Savage Classical Guitar in Long Island, NY and the Hill Guitar Company, of Ben Lomond, CA.
Long Island University (Brookville, NY) &
Festival Artistic Director of Midsummer Music Dream (Quebec, Canada)
In looking at various guitar festivals in the U.S., Mr. Perez noted a wonderful learning opportunity through the internationally renowned, Long Island Guitar Festival (LIGF) in New York. In May of 2012 and January 2016, Mr. Becker visited the FHS Guitar Program and spent a day as “Artist-in-Residence”, working with all of our guitar classes in presenting performances, conducting rehearsals, as well as giving master classes and clinics. He returned again in October 2017 to perform in concert as a soloist and with the FHS Guitar Program.
Through his first visit and seeing the musical capability of our program, it was then that he invited the Guitar Orchestra to perform at LIGF. Mr. Becker runs an incredible guitar festival in LIGF; the educational impacts and musical experiences have forever left a positive mark on our guitar program. Since our concert performances at LIGF in 2013 and 2017, Mr. Becker has extended an open invitation for the FHS Guitar Program to come back to participate and perform at LIGF at any time! He is a recording artist and member of “The Artisan Guitar Quartet”.
Rollins College (Winter Park, FL) &
University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
Bobby is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, an outstanding teacher and one of the most versatile, virtuoso guitarists in Central Florida. Performing and recording with a wide variety of groups including “DEATH”, “The Absinthe Trio” and the University of Central Florida’s “The Jazz Professors”, he is very comfortable performing in numerous musical styles including Rock, Jazz and Classical mediums. As a concert artist, he tours extensively all over the world and has published online, many guitar lessons through different educational sources.
Our program first worked with Bobby for the Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Guitar Ensemble Festival in 2011 and several times since then including performing together for our 2015 Spring Concert Series, his arrangements of standards including “The Sidewinder”, Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster, (Jammin’)” and “Cantina Band” from Star Wars. He was our OCPS 2016 All-County High School Guitar Ensemble Clinician, and was a clinician for our 2017 OCPS Fine Arts Pre-Planning sessions, educating our OCPS Guitar Faculty. He will return in the spring of 2019 to work and perform in concert with our FHS Guitar Ensembles!
Dr. Ulisses Rocha
Unicamp Faculty of Music (São Paulo, Brazil) and
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Considered one of Brazil’s finest guitarists/composers in the past twenty years, Dr. Ulisses Rocha hails from Rio de Janeiro and has performed and recorded with some of the country’s best-known artists, including Gal Costa, Cesar Camargo Mariano, and Hermeto Pascoal. He has also shared the stage with Egberto Gismonti, Al Di Meola, Eliane Elias, Marco Pereira, and Paulo Belinatti.
Mr. Perez first met Ulisses in 2013 at FMEA after the Guitar Orchestra’s All-State performance. He was very impressed with our musical ability and wanted to work with the FHS Guitar Program. In February 2016, we hosted Dr. Rocha as “Artist-in-Residence” for several days. An outstanding musician in Classical and Flamingo styles, he worked closely with all our classes and ensembles. At the end of his stay, in his well attended concert, the Guitar Orchestra and Advanced Guitar Ensemble “Tasto” joined together with Dr. Rocha on stage to perform a World Premier of his piece “Trip to Freedom”, commissioned by and dedicated to the FHS Guitar Program.
He began playing and studying classical guitar at a young age but also took up electric guitar and began to explore rock and roll music. In the early 1980’s he united with fellow guitarists André Geraissati and Mozart Mello to form the Group D’Alma, a musically eclectic trio that influenced the formation of the enormously successful trio of John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, and Al di Meola. Dr. Rocha has released twelve CDs and participated on numerous other recording projects.
Dr. Rocha has been a professor at the Unicamp Faculty of Music since 1990 and was a visiting professor of guitar in the School of Music at the University of Florida and is the the 2012-2013 Bacardi Eminent Scholar through UF’s Center for Latin American Studies. He recently defended his thesis on compositional etudes and received his Doctoral Degree from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.
Dr. Eva Beneke
Norwegian Academy of Music – (Oslo, Norway) &
Artistic Director of Lowertown Classics – (St. Paul, MN)
Dr. Beneke hails from Berlin, Germany and received her Doctorate with Honors in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California. From 2012 to 2017, she was a Professor at McNally Smith College while still extensively performing in concerts around the world and recording several CD’s, both as a soloist and collaborating with other artists.
Mr. Perez met Dr. Beneke in March of 2017 while working together as adjudicators for the Clark County Guitar Festival in Las Vegas, NV. Sharing the same philosophy in Music Education, a strong friendship quickly formed and Mr. Perez invited Dr. Beneke to join the FHS Guitar Program as “Artist-in-Residence” in the Fall of 2018.
In addition to working with our students and classes, Eva performed in concert with several of our guitar ensembles including Rex Willis’ “Fresco: for Solo Guitar and Guitar Ensemble” and her arrangement of Issac Albinez’ “Asturias – for Solo Guitar and Guitar Ensemble“. She is now Associate Professor for Guitar at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway.