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.

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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.

Gail 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 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.

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.

Jim Adams - Founder of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Mr. Adams is the proprietor of The Guitar Clinic in Oneonta, where he repairs guitars and gives private lessons in addition to retail sales. Mr. Adams has over 30 years experience performing professionally as a soloist, and as a member of several groups and ensembles including the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York.

Albert Muir - Albert's formal training on the classical guitar has been in private lessons from excellent teachers in the area, in Syracuse and in NYC. He also attended the National Guitar Summer Workshop in Connecticut, and seminars of the Guitar Foundation of America. Albert is a member of CGSUNY and the Monday Musical Club in Albany. The recipient of a doctoral degree in economics, he recently retired from a career in technology transfer, a field in which he authored a book and a number of journal articles. Albert now spends more time on his music. He has performed at CGSUNY events, at open mics, and as a volunteer for senior citizens.

William 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.

Lou Romao - A native of Connecticut, Louis Romao has been an active performer and teacher of classical, jazz, and popular styles of guitar. He has performed in the northeast United States and Europe, and was considered by the New Haven Advocate as one of Connecticut's ten most recognized guitar soloists two years in a row. Louis received his Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the Hartt School in 1990, and studied in masterclasses with such outstanding artists as David Tanenbaum and Eliot Fisk. He is currently on faculty at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury where he teaches guitar, music theory, and computer multimedia.

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.

Paul Quigley - Paul has performed, as soloist, at Troy Music Hall, and in New York City at The Spanish Institute, Myers recital Hall, Pforzheimer Hall, and The Riverside Church. Chamber music concerts include, Lang Concert Hall at Hunter College, the Interfaith Concert Series in New York with Mark Delpriora, SUNY Cobleskill Chamber Music Series, the Kresgke Theatre at Bowdoin College, and most recently with the flute and guitar duo, Manhattan Ensemble at the Saratoga Arts Center Theatre, and the "Music at Noon" Concert Series at Troy Music Hall. Paul has also been a guest performer at the "Saint Rose Camerata Musicale" series in Albany, NY.

Jon Tario - Is a NYS Certified Music Teacher with a Master's Degree in Music Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of CGSUNY. Mr. Tario currently teaches over 50 private students a week at his guitar studio in Clifton Park, NY.

Frederic 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

Robert Burnside – Treasurer of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York (CGSUNY). Robert has 4 years experience playing classical guitar, studying under CGSUNY Vice-President Paul Sweeny. He earned his Associates Degree in Music from Broome Community College and is currently working on a Bachelors Degree in Music Industry at SUNY Oneonta. He has performed with the BCC Guitar Ensemble, BCC Jazz Band, SUCO Guitar Ensemble, and SUCO Guitar Orchestra.

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.

Ray Andrews - has performed extensively in the Northeast both as a soloist and with recorder player, Laura Hagen as Regalo Musicale, and in the guitar quartet Guitarras Quatro. In 1978 he premiered Lou Harrison’s Serenade for Guitar and Percussion and his tablature for the composer’s preferred scordatura tuning is published by Peer Recording. Ray holds a Master of Music degree in Classical and Baroque Guitar performance from the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford, Connecticut. He studied Baroque guitar with Richard Provost and Robert Strizich. Ray is currently devoting his energies exclusively to exploring and performing the Baroque repertoire for the guitar.


Paul Sweeny

Vice President
Matt Downey

George Lesh

Robert Burnside

Gail Hamilton
Frederic Hellwitz
George Lesh
Harry George Pellegrin
Carolyn Rifenbark

Giancarlo Sidoli

Francis Wilkin

GENERAL INFO, Fred Hellwitz


WEB SITE/EVENTS, Carl Turechek