Michael Gratovich DMA candidate

Guitar, Ukulele, Electric Guitar
Michael Gratovich is an active guitarist and music educator based in Los Angeles. In 2016, he was invited to join the USC Thornton Opera in their Fall production of Osvaldo Golijov's flamencoinspired opera, Ainadamar. He has also been an invited artist of the Colburn Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the GRAMMY-winning vocal ensemble Conspirare, with whom he recorded an album of new music on the Harmonia Mundi label. The album, "Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings," received a 2016 GRAMMY nomination for best choral performance. Michael has been invited to present solo recitals by Austin Classical Guitar and the Philadelphia Guitar Society, and presented two programs of solo and chamber music by Latin American composers in the third annual Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival in Los Angeles in 2017.
Michael is a prizewinner in several competitions, including first prizes in the 2014 Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition and the 2014 Pacific Guitar Festival in Los Angeles, as well as second prize in the 2013 ASTA-LA Classical Guitar Competition and first prize in the 2011 Classical Minds Guitar Institute and International Competition in Houston, Texas. His chamber ensemble, Sunset Club Trio, was a winner of the 2016 Beverley Hills National Auditions resulting in concert engagements throughout Southern California in 2017. Performing original arrangements of classical masterpieces, the Sunset Club Trio features Michael on the flamenco guitar alongside his wife, Ines Thomé on electric guitar, and French violin virtuoso, Étienne Gara.  

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In addition to his performance endeavors, Michael is pursuing an academic field of study in Music Teaching and Learning at the University of Southern California. As a graduate teaching assistant at USC he was an instructor for beginning group guitar classes, teacher of applied lessons for non-majors and undergraduate music minors, as well as chamber music coach and teacher of sight-reading classes for performance majors. His interest in curriculum has led him to design syllabi for classes in group guitar instruction, sight-reading, and music appreciation and fundamentals classes. He has been a guest lecturer at the Bright Institute of Music at UCLA and for music appreciation classes at USC. Michael frequently premiers new solo and chamber works for guitar and has assisted composers who are learning to write for the instrument; one such project recently culminated in a performance at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music.
Michael Gratovich began playing classical guitar in Austin, Texas, when he was eight years old. After many years of study with Dr. Matthew Hinsley, executive director of Austin Classical Guitar, Michael continued his musical education at The University of Texas at Austin, earning his Bachelor's degree with legendary American classical guitarist, Adam Holzman. In 2014 Michael earned the degree of Master of Music from USC in Los Angeles, where he is currently engaged in Doctoral studies with a Teaching Assistantship award. Michael studies guitar performance with Scott Tennant and William Kanengiser (both founding members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet), Maestro Pepe Romero, and flamenco guitarist Adam del Monte.

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Cameron OConnor DMA

Guitar, Music Theory
Award-winning and critically acclaimed, Cameron O'Connor is among the most exciting and versatile of the new generation of American classical guitarists. In addition to recently winning First Prize in the Frances Walton Competition, he has also been a top prizewinner in the Tokyo, Indiana, Sierra Nevada, and Appalachian International Guitar Competitions, as well as the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale J.S. Bach Competition, Randy Rhoads Memorial Guitar Competition, and CSUN Concerto Competition. Current performance engagements include projects with John Adams, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Boston's Firebird Ensemble. His playing has been featured in films, including James Franco's Don Quixote, Seattle's Classical 98.1 KingFM, and American Public Media's Performance Today radio broadcasts.  

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Cameron made his Lincoln Center debut under the baton of Tan Dun, in which he performed the Concerto for Six, an ensemble piece which mixes Western and Eastern musical idioms; in a review of the concert, the New York Times observed that Cameron "fluttered on his guitar strings in a manner reminiscent of a pipa player's technique." Other recent highlights include an "especially effective" (South Florida Classical Review) performance at the New World Center in Miami, an invitation to perform at the 9/11 Memorial in New York-- a ceremony which featured Vice President Joe Biden and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, serving as part of the Worcester Chamber Music Society's Fellowship Ensemble, and performing as a guest artist at the Aspen Music Festival.

A strong believer in the importance of the accessibility of arts for the public, Cameron has spearheaded several events, such as free concerts at elementary schools and libraries, and has performed at several Classical Revolution Los Angeles events; he also organized the Royal High School Band Alumni Concert Fundraiser, the funds of which benefitted music students of the school. O'Connor's teaching experience ranges from the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School to the Aspen Music Festival and School, as teaching assistant to Sharon Isbin; and at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music as a graduate assistant. He furthermore provides several interactive performances each month in non-traditional venues-- from hospitals to juveniles' halls-- as a fellow with the Thornton-Gluck Fellows Program.

Pursuing a strong interest in early music, Cameron has studied the lute and Renaissance performance under the esteemed Ron Purcell. This, in addition to a love for music in the ensemble setting, has pushed him into composing and arranging new music for both ensemble and solo guitar; Cameron recently gave a lecture arranging the music of Richard Wagner at USC's Doheny Library, which subsequently led to publications by Los Angeles Classical Guitar Editions. He furthermore performs regularly as an electric guitarist and often on banjo and mandolin in musical theatre productions throughout Southern California.

Cameron graduated cum laude from California State University Northridge, where he studied under Ron Borczon, Ronald Purcell, and Steve Thachuk. He recently received his Master Of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied with Sharon Isbin. Dr. O'Connor studied with William Kanengiser while working on his doctorate at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. He serves on the faculty of CSU Bakersfield, Riverside City College, and Pasadena City College Extension.

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