Here's a chance to meet some of the members of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Some of us are full-time professional players, and some are hobbyists. Some are true "amateurs" in the traditional sense (those who are motivated by a love and passion for playing)...which may actually describe all of us to some extent.

If you would like to have your name and a short bio added to this page, you can send a "jpg" photo along with your information here.
Please limit your text to around 100 words or less; thanks!

dturechek.jpg Dennis Turechek - Past President and founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Dennis is an accomplished classical and jazz guitarist with an extensive solo and ensemble career. In addition to his current position on the staff of Hartwick College, he is retired at SUNY Oneonta. Dennis has taught music and guitar at the Brooklyn Music School, Henry Street Settlement, the Metropolitan Music School, all in New York, as well as Jersey City State College in New Jersey. He has performed for the Glimmerglass Opera productions of The Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale and Falstaff. He has also performed with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra and the Catskill Chamber Players. He is featured on three CD's--"Dennis Turechek Plays Dennis Turechek", "From The Bridge", and "With Strings Attached" all on Li'l Pumpkin Productions CDs.

William SimcoeWilliam Simcoe - Founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York, began his classical guitar studies with Anthony Sano, and continues his guitar education by attending summer workshops and festivals. He has had master classes with Nicholas Goluses, Ricrdo Cobo, Lily Afshar and Fabio Zanon. Mr. Simcoe is an artist member of the Monday Musical Club of Albany. He regularly performs solo recitals in the Albany area. Mr. Simcoe is active in the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York, and is a member of their guitar ensemble. In the 2000-2001 season Mr. Simcoe performed in joint recital with guitarist Townsend Plant, and performed David…Three Moons with cellist Lisa Nielson.

Salvatore Salvaggio Salvatore Salvaggio - Mr. Salvaggio has performed recitals for concert associations as a soloist, accompanist and continuous player for the past 30 years. He has played with early music consorts, chamber ensembles and as an orchestral musician. Notable performances have included recitals at the 1999 and 2001 Boston Early Music Festivals, the Long Island, Philadelphia, Upstate New York and New Jersey Guitar and Mandolin Societies, Dreamcatcher Guitars, Georgia, Cafe Lena, Saratoga, NY and the Stamford Performing Arts Center. In April of 2002 Mr.Salvaggio recorded an hour long program of Renaissance lute music for NPR station WSKG. In addition, he has taught at the college and secondary school level and has served as the Director of Music/Fine Arts at the Cooperstown Central School District since 1989. Coordinated the Hartwick Summer Music Festival Guitar program. Currently Professor of Classical Guitar at SUNY Oneonta.

Frederic HellwitzFrederic Hellwitz - earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Music Performance from The State University of New York at Buffalo where he studied under the Castellani-Andriaccio Duo.In addition, Dr. Hellwitz has performed in the masterclasses of such artists as Manuel Barrueco, William Kanengiser, and Carlos Barbosa-Lima.Prior to settling in the Capital District, Dr. Hellwitz had performed in New York, Florida, Chicago, as well as Great Brittan. In 1995 Dr. Hellwitz took a hiatus from his musical career to pursue a medical degree and now practices in the Albany area where he specializes in thoracic radiology. Dr. Hellwitz’s recently released his first CD, Works for Classical Guitar. Net proceeds from the sale benefit the charitable and non-profit organizations

Harry George Pellegrin Harry George Pellegrin - is a graduate of The Mannes College of Music, where he studied with Albert Valdés-Blain and Eliot Fisk. He has also performed in master classes with Benjamin Verdery, John Duarte and David Russell and wrote a regular column for Soundboard Magazine during the early 1980’s. He taught and performed in New York City until 1993, relocating to the Capital District. Recuperation from fused vertebrae and nerve damage curtailed any professional performance for fourteen years.

He performed his second debut recital in 2007 at the Troy Music Hall . Harry teaches classical guitar at Union College and privately and regularly performs at corporate events, gallery openings and track season cocktail parties.

matt-downey.jpg Matthew Downey - has been a member of the CGSUNY for the past 8 years and currently serves as the Treasurer for the society.   Matt has an undergraduate degree in music education and masters in classical guitar performance from SUNY Fredonia. While at Fredonia, Matt was a member of the prestigious Fredonia Guitar Quartet and arranged music for the group.   He also worked with the Fredonia Guitar Ensemble and helped in the preperation of the 2014 Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Fredonia Guitar Ensemble performance of "Shiki" by Shingo Fuji. He has played in master classes for Roland Dyens, Macro Feri, Ana Vidovic, Martha Masters, The LAGQ, Paul Odette, and Duo Scarlatti.  Matt now works in the Bainbridge Guilford School District as the General Music teacher for grades pre-k through 6th.   Matt teaches guitar privately, works a pit musician, gigs locally, arranges guitar ensemble and solo music, and does piano tuning for local school districts. 

Original Founders

GGail Hamiltonail Hamilton - Vice-President, and a founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Ms. Hamilton has 6 years experience playing classical guitar, studying under Dennis Turechek. Currently Ms. Hamilton plays duets with Carolyn Rifenbark, is a member of the SUCO Guitar Ensemble, the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York ensemble and she also performs as a soloist.
Ms. Hamilton is also the coordinator for the Musical Moments Concert Series.

Bruce WalkerBruce Walker - A founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Mr. Walker is a retired Guitar Builder. He now resides in East Branch, NY where he spends his time building custom-commissioned guitars, studying classical guitar and enjoying the beauty of life in the Catskills.

crifenbark.jpg Carolyn Rifenbark - A founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Carolyn has served as the Secretary since incorporated and Treasurer for 6 yrs.

Dennis Turechek


Paul Sweeny

Vice President
Harry Pellegrin

George Lesh

Matt Downey

Salvatore Salvaggio
Deena Freed
Giancarlo Sidoli
Dennis Turechek
Gerald Stulc



WEB SITE/EVENTS, Carl Turechek