Pasquale Rucco studied music at the Conservatorio Domenico Cimarosa in Avellino with Mario Quattrocchi. He also studied with Angelo Gilardino at the prestigious international music academy Lorenzo Perosi in Biella. Pasquale continued his training with the courses on nineteenth century music and the use of original instruments with Carlo Barone in Stresa. He has since led an international concert career, including a 1991 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Since the early 1990’s, he has given concerts and lectures at universities throughout the U.S. including Appalachian State University in North Carolina, the University of Arizona, Radford University in Virginia, Stetson University in Florida, and California State University at Los Angeles for the festival of The Guitar Foundation of America in 2007. In 1995, Rucco formed a duo with American guitarist Douglas James. The Rucco-James Duo specializes exclusively in the early nineteenth century guitar literature, performing on authentic period instruments. Their repertoire includes the first modern performances of recently discovered works for two guitars as well as many of the most famous masterpieces composed in the nineteenth century. Concert programs include works by famous composers Carulli, Giuliani and Sor, along with other lesser known composers such as Filippo Gragnani, Francois de Fossa, Antoine Baron de Barco, Frederic Spina, and Antoine de Lhoyer. The duo has released two albums: “Early Romantic Music for Two Guitars” including a previously unrecorded work by Francois Baron de Barco, followed by “A Night at the Opera,” featuring 19th century arrangements of works by Gioacchino Rossini.
“Thinking to the Presti-Lagoya duo, Abreu duo and Assad duo, we believe this inseparable Italian/American pair will be successfully on the same line, becoming their philological equivalent.” Musica (Italy)
Douglas James has appeared as a classical guitarist throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. He has been a featured recitalist at such notable venues as Italy’s L’Estate Chitarristica sul Lago Maggiore, the Great Lakes Classical Guitar Festival at Oberlin Conservatory, Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto festival, and New York’s Carnegie and Merkin Halls. Soundboard magazine noted his performances to be filled with “…appealing intensity and obvious enthusiasm.” The Arizona Daily Star described his Bach as “warm and ornate,” and his Spanish pieces as “downright sexy.” Violao Intercambio (Brazil) wrote of a recent engagement: “an impeccable performance, the sound clear and clean with beautiful interpretation from the first to the last piece.”
A noted proponent of period instrument performance, Douglas James uses 19th century guitars when playing music of the Classical and Romantic periods. In 1992, he was the top prize winner in the Arturo Toscanini Solo Guitar Competition (Italy) for 19th c. guitar performance. Twice he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship. In addition to solo concertizing, James has played in duo with the Italian guitarist Pasquale Rucco since 1995. The Rucco-James Duo is recognized world-wide for their sophisticated interpretations of the 19th c. guitar duo literature. He also plays theorbo and guitar with the eclectic early music trio Corde Cantante, with Hazel Ketchum and Corinne Cassini.
Douglas James holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Thomas Patterson. He is Professor of Guitar and director of the Appalachian GuitarFest at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Guitar Foundation of America.
“Douglas James’ playing on the record is for my taste totally splendid. His enthusiasm to explore the early guitar repertoire is obvious, and he has an ability to use the old instruments to their full capacity, with all of their timbral possibilities. He plays intensely and sensitively with flow, ease and elegance.”
“Douglas James clearly has a great deal of sympathy for this repertoire and a carefully worked out approach to its interpretation…everything is animated by concern for the life of the music on its own terms and in its own time. This is a welcome addition to the choice of 19th century repertoire played on genuine instruments of the time.” Classical Guitar (Great Britain)
Born in Naples (Italy), Piero Viti obtained a diploma with full marks and honours at Avellino Conservatory and after obtained in the same Conservatory the Bachelor of second level in “Guitar of the Twentieth century” with Lucio Matarazzo (Guitar) and Evy De Marco (Musical Analysis). He first studied with Stefano Aruta and then, since 1982, with Angelo Gilardino, under whose guidance he attained a High Specialization Diploma at “L. Perosi” Academy in Biella. He also attended Master Classes with Maria Luisa Anido, Manuel Barrueco, the Assad Duo and Oscar Ghiglia, and made specialized study of Musical Analysis at the Musical Academy in Pescara and Guitar Composition with Nuccio D’Angelo.
The winner of several prizes in national and international contests, Piero Viti undertook early and intense concert activity as soloist, and soloist with orchestras as well as in chamber ensembles (particularly in duo with the flutist Salvatore Lombardi and the guitarist Paolo Lambiase). Furthermore, he collaborated with other well-known artists and with leading orchestras, (Michele Placido, Trio Chitarristico di Roma, Nello Alessi, Alaria Chamber Ensemble of New York, Philarmonic Orchestra of Cluj-Napoca, Orchestra of Moldova Television, Moscow Chamber Orchestra “The Seasons”, “Nuova Scarlatti” in Naples, etc.) and held concerts and recitals in the the main concert institutions main in USA, Russia, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, and Italy, always with unanimous affirmation by the critics. Piero Viti has been featured on numerous programs for radio and television both Italian and foreign (RAI3, Radiotre, Rete 4, Radio Vaticano, Radio France and other private networks).
Viti is also very committed to contemporary music, and has premiered new works especially dedicated to him, the revision of which he undertook on behalf of famous publishing houses. He has released many CDs, all favourably reviewed by European and Italian critics. He is currently guitar professor at the “Nicola Sala” Conservatory of Benevento (Italy). He has given master classes at prestigious international music institutions, is also regularly invited as a jury member in important national and international competitions. He is a contributor to the magazine “Guitart”, the web-magazine “dotGuitar” and also to the magazine “Falaut”. He also has published numerous Musicological articles, and has transcribed music for the guitar. He has made a number of years of research dedicated to Ferdinando Carulli, and has made numerous discoveries of unpublished music of the composer. He regularly holds conferences and seminars dedicated to Ferdinando Carulli in major international music institutions, he also edits a series of unpublished 19th c. music for guitar published by the prestigious publishing company Ut Orpheus in Bologna. Since 2015 Viti is an official endorser of the manufacturer of guitar strings Aquila Corde Armoniche.
Vito Nicola Paradiso
Born in Puglia in 1964, after many experiences in various music genres, he graduated in guitar in 1987 as a soloist with the highest marks and praise. Since the end of the eighties, and for over a decade, he has been the winner in numerous national and international competitions.
He has since given countless concerts in prestigious venues and theaters in Italy, France, England, Spain, Germany, Scotland, Holland, Hungary, Switzerland and Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, China, Japan and various US states: California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Indiana, Washington and New York.
As a soloist, he has performed several concerts for guitar and orchestra. In chamber music he has been part of several duo ensemble ensembles with flute, violin, harp, voice, and percussion up to quintet with strings, collaborating with Italian and international artists of the highest renown.
He has recorded several records as a soloist, including: A Guitar in “Frack” (Curious Editions); Latin serenades of the 1900s (attached to the magazine GuitArt); The Wizard of a Guitar (WLO Records), a CD dedicated entirely to his Parthenopean music transcriptions.
Paradiso is the author of the very successful basic method THE GUITAR GUIDED, divided into three volumes with minus-one enclosures CD – a real “Best Seller” of the basic musical didactic, published by Curci di Milano . THE GUITAR GUIDED, which for many years has been instrumental in musical instruction, has reached the Top Ten as the best-selling music book in Italy. In addition, the same method is introduced and adopted in several schools and conservatories in Europe, the United States and South America, and in 2015 was translated into the Portuguese language by the Vitale publisher of Rio de Janeiro under the title O Violao Màgico.
Apart from the method, in recent years he has released several original descriptive publications for guitar solo to the guitar orchestra: Preludi Sentimentali (CD attached by Giulio Tampalini), Volante Ensemble Guitar (volume 1 & 2), I love Guitar (music by Remo Vinciguerra), Travel in America, Latin American Dances and Faunistic Impressions. His publications have won numerous critics’ awards including “Five Stars” on Seicorde’s magazine and GuitArt’s cover.
Paradiso is regularly invited throughout the world to hold masterclasses and seminars on his didactic methodology and especially for guitar orchestras.
He is currently a guitar professor at the Istituto Superiore di Musical Studies “G. Paisiello” in Taranto.
In Rome, in 2000, over one hundred and fifty of his students received first place with 100/100 points at the First National Contest for guitar lessons in music-related courses.
There are numerous awards and attestations for his prolific teaching activity, including the prestigious “Guitar d’Oro” award for the Didactics at the XVII Interactionary Conference at the Conservatory “A, Vivaldi” in Alexandria and the prize “Maestro d ‘Italy’ obtained twice in 2008 and 2012.
With Special Guest Artists:
Hazel Ketchum is an accomplished singer and instrumentalist of highly diverse talents. While completing degrees in Classical Guitar performance from the University of Southern California, Hazel also studied voice and Renaissance lute. Combining these disciplines, Hazel began accompanying herself on guitars and lutes, performing the solo and song repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day.
Along with her solo performances, Hazel has been a member of several chamber ensembles, most notably the early music ensemble Sonus, whose three CD’s on the Dorian label feature her vocal and instrumental talents. As a member of Sonus, Hazel has performed throughout the United States and at the Tage Alte Musik festival in Regensberg, Germany, and has been featured on radio broadcasts both in the US and in Europe. Her newest collaborative project is Corde Cantanti, featuring Hazel’s vocal and instrumental talents along with Douglas James on theorbo and guitar, and Corinne Cassini on cello.
Hazel is also a composer of songs. Writing her first songs as a teenager, Hazel has continued writing and performing her own compositions as a soloist and for her group, The Hungry Monks. The Hungry Monks have released three CDs – Superior Crust, Organic Tangerines and All Through the Night. Hazel’s other projects include playing drums for the blues/gospel trio The Harrows, and guitar with the Irish duo Banna de dha. Hazel’s music is the focus of two children’s CDs, Big as the World and Say Darlin’ Say. In 2012, Hazel premiered her first commissioned composition, Heloise and Abelard – a masque, a 30-minute piece for Counter Tenor, Alto and instrumental ensemble.
Hazel is in demand as a music teacher, and directs music studies for the Cooper School and Oak Grove Montessori. In the summers, Hazel teaches with her husband, John Holenko, for the American Music Systems Camps in Boston, Maine and Charleston. You can also find them teaching music at Green River Preserve in North Carolina, where their musical performances and classes are combined with outdoor experiences. Hazel is co-founder of Science Songs Rock, which brings nature and music programs together for elementary school children and nature fans of all ages.
Hazel Ketchum has performed countless times for Piccolo Spoleto over the past 22 years, and for the following groups and series: Sonus, Na Fidlieri, The Hungry Monks, Charleston Pro Musica, The Taylor Festival Choir, The Harrows, Donnybrook Legacy, Fretwork and Folk Series, Early Music Series, Blues Series, Festival of Churches, and Contemporary Music Series.
Hazel has given master classes and seminars for many American universities, including: Oberlin Conservatory; Appalachian State University; University of Akron; Berklee School of Music; University of Southern California; Mississippi State University; and Agnes Scott College. She has also presented seminars on music, movement and composition for the Music for Young Children conferences in Banff and Ottawa, Canada. Hazel, with her Science Songs Rock partner Ian Sanchez, are regular presenters for the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. Hazel also teaches workshops for the Allegheny Mountain String Project at Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia.
Hazel Ketchum lives with her family in Charleston, SC. Together they run Hungry Monk Music, where students of all ages come to play music, dance, and sing.
Genevieve Leitner actively performs and teaches guitar throughout the US and Chile. She has also concertized in Germany, Austria and Argentina. Her top prizes include:
1st prize, Greensboro Music Teachers Assoc. Young Artists Competition, 2007
1st prize, Columbus State University Guitar Competition, junior div., 2003
1st prize, Deborah Beene Memorial Competition, 2003
2nd prize, Ozelia Vassar Memorial Competition, 2007
She has performed in master classes for Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, Carlos Pérez, Scott Tenant, Jason Vieaux, and others. Genevieve received her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied with Gerald Klickstein.
Genevieve has performed in various ensembles with voice, flute, English horn, violin, harpsichord and other instruments. She regularly teaches guitar master classes and lessons to students of all ages. In addition to performance and instruction, her musical work includes collaboration on theatre and film music. She enjoys playing repertoire from a wide range of time periods and countries. Genevieve was born in Chimayó, New Mexico to a musical and artistic family.