Advanced Guitar Ensemble Director
Helen Sanderson studied guitar at the Royal College of Music with Charles Ramirez, graduating with both the Madeline Walton prize for guitar and the prestigious Anthony Saltmarsh Bursary. Her active concert career has included concerts at major international guitar festivals and recitals at the Purcell Room, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Barbican Hall, the Academy of Arts (Berlin), the British Embassy in Vienna, Bath International Guitar Festival and Winchester Guitar Festival. In addition to her solo performances, Helen is a member of the Vida Guitar Quartet and is much in demand as an adjudicator, recording artist and accompanist for voice and guitar repertoire, working in partnerships with Mark Wilde (tenor) ‘Ancient Melodies’ (Docker Records), Susan Legg (mezzo-soprano), and countertenor James Bowman.
Since its launch in 2007, Helen has been the Director of the World Youth Guitar Festival, a biennial residential festival for young classical guitarists aged 8-18 years old.
Intermediate Guitar Ensemble Director
As an international concert artist, Michael Nigro has performed across the Unites States and abroad, playing concerts in the Philippines, Argentina, Chile, and Bulgaria. He has given concerts and master classes for numerous universities, performing arts centers, church concert series, guitar societies, libraries, and museums, including Auditorio Juan Victoria in San Juan, Argentina, Salon Parroquial-Conciertos “El Rincon” in Villa-General Belgrano, Argentina, and the Ventura County, Colorado Springs, Sacramento, Bloomington, Jefferson, Knoxville, and Portland Guitar Societies.
As a recording artist, his discography includes a total of 5 CD’s: His debut CD, “Homage to Piazzolla,” received critical acclaim from the American Record Guide and Classical Guitar Magazine. His second recording titled,“Guitar Sudamericana,” features compositions by José Luis Merlin, Jorge Morel, Eduardo Falú, Antonio Lauro and Villa-Lobos. Most Recently “A Journey through Latin America,” features compositions by Gentil Montaña, Isaac Albéniz, Francisco Tárrega, and José Luis Merlin. As a supporter of chamber music with guitar, Mr. Nigro collaborated to record 2 CD’s with flute and guitar; “Between Flute and Guitar” and “As in Dreams…Reflections for Flute and Guitar” which features the premiere recording of a new composition by José Luis Merlin titled, Agua del Trapcihe.
As an Assistant Professor of Music at Vanguard University, Michael has established a thorough and comprehensive guitar program that includes a cycle of guitar based courses in Guitar Literature, Pedagogy, and Fretboard Techniques. Michael also teaches Guitar Ensemble, Guitar Quartet, Beginning Guitar, and Intro to Music. As director of the Vanguard University Guitar Ensemble, Michael is responsible for organizing several tours and establishing the group as a first rate ensemble with the release of their debut CD, Soundscapes.
In 2015, Trio Camino was formed when Michael Nigro joined the established duo of David Grimes and Gregory Newton. The Trio has already gained an enviable reputation for intensely musical performances of uniquely colorful programs. Together the trio has performed across the U.S., and have been invited to guitar festivals and chamber music festivals around the globe.
Michael holds a Master of Music degree in Guitar Performance from California State University, Fullerton and a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance from Indiana University, Bloomington. His principle teachers were David Grimes and Ernesto Bitetti. He is an active member of the guitar community; he is co-founder of the Long Beach Classical Guitar Society, co-author of “The Essential Classical Guitar Scale Book,” reviewer of new music publications for Soundboard, and sought after teacher and performer.
Michael is Savarez endorsed artist and exclusively uses Savarez Cantiga Strings 510AJ.
Youth Festival Director
Classical guitarist Lynn McGrath is being heralded as a phenom. Blending expressive musicianship with her passion for Spanish Language, literature, and theater, she has shared the poetry and music of “Platero y Yo” with audiences on 4 continents in the role of both guitarist and theatrical narrator. One critic wrote the following after hearing her performance at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention: “…wonderful timing, poise, wit, and grace, while getting a full rich sound from her guitar. Anyone who loves either music or poetry would have been charmed, but those who appreciate both, not to mention stage presence and acting skills, were electrified by this tour-de-force of artistic multi-tasking.” —Richard M. Long, Editor, Soundboard
A touring soloist, chamber artist, and respected pedagogue, Lynn McGrath has appeared in North America, South America, Europe, and New Zealand as performer, lecturer, conductor, and an adjudicator for a number of international and national festivals including the Nikšić Festival (Montenegro), Silesian Guitar Autumn Festival (Poland), and the Guitar on the Mediterranean Festival (Italy), and the Guitar Foundation of America Convention (US). She has also presented at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Veracruz, and Mannes College and appeared at venues including the Troy Savings Hall (NY), The National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque), and the Skirball Cultural Center (LA) in addition to performing on radio stations in the Southwest and along the East Coast.
After receiving degrees in Spanish Language and Literature as well as Education, she completed a music degree with Douglas Rubio at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (where she taught as a full-time instructor) and went on to earn a MM and DMA from the University of Southern California, studying with such luminaries as William Kanengiser, Pepe Romero, and James Smith.
While living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lynn established a guitar program at Sandia Preparatory School, taught at Central New Mexico Community College The University of New Mexico’s Music Prep School, and ran a thriving private studio. She is the Director of Regional Symposia for the Guitar Foundation of America and the Artistic Director of the organization’s annual International Youth Competition. Her students have been accepted, and many have received full scholarships to some of the best undergraduate and graduate schools in the nation, have placed in international competitions, and have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top”. In 2016, Lynn taught as an adjunct instructor at Oklahoma City University and in Fall of 2017 joined the faculty at the Eastman Community Music School, University of Rochester, NY.
Mickey Jones has had an extensive career as a soloist and chamber musician. He has been a featured soloist at the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival, played with the New Mexico Philharmonic, the Church of Beethoven, Chatter, and the Rio Grande Guitar Quartet. As part of the New Mexico Guitar Duo, Mickey was Artist in Residence at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 2012 and in 2014 gave several performances in Santiago de Chile which concluded with a recital at the historic Teatro Casona Dubois.
Mickey has appeared as a clinician at many important festivals and institutions around the United States and in 2008 he was a featured educator and conductor at the Bergen Cultural School in Bergen, Norway. Mickey was music director and conductor for two ballets featuring the Albuquerque Academy Advanced Guitar Ensemble in which he also contributed original music. In 2009 he conducted Shingo Fuji’s Concierto de Los Angeles with famed guitarist William Kannengiser as featured soloist and in 2012, Mickey conducted the world premiere of Carillons by the renowned French composer, Roland Dyens at the New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival. Mickey has had compositions dedicated to him by Carlos Rafael Rivera, Roland Dyens, and John Truitt.
Mickey now directs the Awen Classical Guitar studio in Corvallis Oregon. He has served on the faculties of the Albuquerque Academy, the University of New Mexico and Oregon State University. He holds degrees from the University of New Mexico (M.M. and B.M.) and his mentors include John Truitt, Michael Chapdelaine, Matthias Stegmann, Pedro Cuadra, Chuscales, and Bill Wood.