The Southeast Guitar Ensemble, open to all Southeast students by audition, performs each semester, offering programs of transcriptions and original compositions for multiple classical guitars. In addition, guitar majors in the ensemble learn and perform standard chamber music repertoire for classical guitar in a variety of configurations. Recent concerts have featured guitar duos and trios, flute and guitar duets, voice and guitar duos, piano and guitar works, and pieces for string quartet with guitar. The Southeast Guitar Ensemble has appeared regularly at the Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival and has performed in master classes with Julian Gray and other coaches. Patrick Rafferty directs the Southeast Guitar Ensemble, conducting large pieces and coaching chamber works.
Guitar studies at Southeast focus on the Classical Guitar through weekly lessons, Guitar Repertoire Class, and Guitar Ensemble. Guitar students at Southeast will study pieces for Renaissance lute; baroque music by Bach and others; the masterworks of Classical and Romantic guitarist/composers like Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Johann Mertz; and the core Spanish repertoire by Francisco Tárrega, Isaac Albeniz, and others. Twentieth-century and contemporary solo/ensemble repertoire is part of our program, too. Our guitarists perform music by Heitor Villa Lobos, Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens, along with other modern composers.
While formal guitar studies feature the classical guitar, Guitar Majors at Southeast can also audition to play electric guitar or bass in the Department's jazz bands and combos. A number of our guitar majors also play in blues or rock bands in the area while others play classical and folk guitar sets on and off campus at open mike nights or in local coffee houses. In short, guitarists at Southeast keep busy as performers in a variety of styles and performance sites.
Our guitar graduates have done very well professionally, and several have gone on to graduate studies and advanced degrees at prestigious institutions like the Peabody Conservatory, Northwestern University, and the California Institute of the Arts.