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Finger Lakes Guitar Quartet: Bio

Joel Brown

Guitarist Joel Brown’s actively eclectic performances as a soloist and chamber musician have included appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, the Caramoor Festival, and the Killington Festival. Internationally, he has played at the Barbican in London with soprano Dawn Upshaw, in British Columbia at the Music in the Mountains Chamber Music Festival, in the Czech Republic at the Mikulov Guitar Festival as concerto soloist with the Martinu Chamber Orchestra. Notable appearances in the United States include Carnegie Hall with Dawn Upshaw, recitals on both coasts with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, and with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Brown has also performed on NBC’s Today, CNN’s Showbiz Today, on NPR, and on the BBC. Brown is the founding member of Tritonis, a flute (Kristin Bacchiocchi), cello (Ann Alton) and guitar trio that has appeared at the Guitar Foundation of America conference in Miami, at National Flute Association conventions in New York and Boston, and in universities and recital halls across the nation. He also commissioned new music by composers such as Andrew York, Vivian Fine and Loris Chobanian for their critically and internationally acclaimed CD, Five Premiers— Chamber Works with Guitar (Albany). Brown performs regularly as a member of Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play, a crossover group blending jazz with blues and folk music. The trio, which is rounded out by harmonica virtuoso Peter Madcat Ruth, has played in nearly every state of the Union, and in 2006 performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet for the world premier of Dave’s Cannery Row Suite before a Monterey Festival audience of nearly 8000. In August of 2007, Triple Play was invited to perform with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, blending jazz, blues and even rock and roll with a traditional Chinese ensemble. The performances will be released in the near future as a live CD. Their newest CD, Live at Arthur Zankel Music Center, which features Dave Brubeck as their guest, is climbing the jazz charts. Brown’s other recordings include Bach to Brubeck with the London Symphony Orchestra (Koch International) that includes a world premier recording of J.S. Bach’s prelude BWV 997 arranged for guitar and orchestra by Chris Brubeck, Chords and Thyme (Dorian Records) with English guitarist Edward Flower, King’s Court and Celtic Fair (Telarc) with the Empire Brass, and Across Your Dreams (Telarc) with Frederica von Stade. In 2002, Brown joined Dawn Upshaw, Fredirica von Stade, Meryl Streep, Chris Brubeck and the late Bill Crofut on Dance on a Moonbeam: A Collection of Songs and Poems (Telarc), In 2005, Brown’s critically acclaimed Christmas Cedar and Spruce was released by Albany Records. Joel Brown is a Senior-Artist-in-Residence in classical guitar at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Sten Isachsen

Sten Isachsen has appeared as concerto soloist with the University at Albany Orchestra and the Ithaca College String Quartet. Possessing a Bachelor and Master of Music in Guitar Performance from Ithaca College, he has studied guitar with Frederick Hand, Ed Flower and Joel Brown, and has participated in master classes with Manuel Barrueco, Sergio and Odair Assad and Benjamin Verdery.

Isachsen is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Guitar Quartet, which has commissioned works from composer Anthony Holland. He is also a member of the Musicians of Ma’alwyck, a string trio in residence at the Schuyler Mansion, the Cohoes Music Hall, and Schenectady County Community College. Musicians of Ma’alwyck have steadily gained acclaim in the Classical world of music and the addition of classical guitar make them an unusual and in-demand string trio.

In addition to his work as a classical guitarist, Isachsen is endorsed by Martin Guitars, Eastman String Instruments, D’Addario Strings and performs regularly on steel string and electric guitars, as well as mandolin, providing support for artists like Country Music Hall of Famers, Charlie Louvin, The Haggar Twins and many Upstate New York musicians including Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys, MotherJudge, Bear Tracks, Harold Ford and the Cash Band and Michael Eck.

A dedicated teacher, Isachsen is member of the faculty at Schenectady County Community College – which oversees an outstanding undergraduate music program. He maintains a private studio in Delmar, NY.

In addition to his influence on the Capital District guitar studies community, Isachsen is owner of North Albany Studios, a rehearsal studio complex and recording facility. Isachsen is also engineer and producer at Bender Studios a recording facility in Delmar, NY. Clients include Gibson-endorsed mandolinist Skip Gorman, jazz guitarist George Muscatello, jazz saxaphonist Brian Patneaude, Empire Jazz Orchestra, The Lustre Kings.

Brett Grigsby

Brett Grigsby has performed as both soloist and chamber musician giving audiences heartfelt performances over the past 15 years. Notable performances include solo concerts at the 92nd St Y, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, an all Bach program at Steinway Hall, and at the esteemed concert series at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City. As chamber musician, Brett has performed with both his guitar duo, A Piacere, and as a member of various guitar quartets performing at the International Festival Domaine Forget in conjunction with the National Jazz Ballet Company of Montreal. A 1992 Skidmore graduate, Grigsby received his Masters in Guitar Performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York City where he studied with Peter Segal, Pat O’Brien, Michael Newman, Ben Verdery, and Patrick Roux. Brett has performed in master class settings for Roberto Aussel, Hubert Kappel, Andrew York, Bruce Holzman, Nigel North, and The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Brett is a dedicated instructor having held faculty positions at Lehigh University, The College of St. Elizabeth, and Kean University. Brett is currently on the faculty at Skidmore College.

Paul Quigley

Guitarist Paul Quigley has performed with the Glens Falls Symphony, the College of Saint Rose Camerata, and at the Saratoga Arts Center Theatre, Troy Music Hall,The Riverside Church Christ Chapel series, Bowdoin College Summer Chamber Music Festival, Lang Concert Hall at Hunter College, The Spanish Institute, Shakespeare & Company, and the Oberwald Concert Series in Basel, Switzerland. Additionally, Paul was a featured performer on the Queen Elizabeth II World Cruise as well as the Queen Mary II and Crystal Symphony ships. A graduate of Schenectady County Community College and the Manhattan School of Music, Paul earned the A.S., BM and MM degrees in guitar performance and recently completed coursework for the New York State Music Certification Program at the College of Saint Rose. Major Teachers include Joel Brown, Mark Delpriora, Norbert Kraft, and Tony Sano. Paul has performed in masterclasses for Magnus Anderson, Eliot Fisk, David Russell. David Tanenbaum, David Starobin, Luis Zea, and Duo Suonare. Paul Quigley is a member of the Finger Lakes Guitar Quartet and is currently on the faculty of Schenectady County Community College, The College of Saint Rose and SUNY Adirondack where he teaches classical and electric guitar.