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Cornish College of the Arts Announces Guitar Appointments

September 27, 2009

SEATTLE, WA – Cornish College of the Arts announces the appointment of Michael Nicolella as the classical guitar faculty member and Stephen Stubbs as the Baroque guitar and lute instructor in an expansion of the guitar program in the College’s music department. Nicolella and Stubbs join longtime Cornish faculty member, jazz guitarist Dave Peterson and Flamenco guitarist Marcos Carmona as the primary guitar instructors in the College’s expanded guitar curriculum.

“We’re thrilled to have Michael and Stephen join our faculty this fall,” said Cornish Music Department Chair Kent Devereaux. “The addition of these two internationally renowned guitarists strengthens our program immeasurably and makes Cornish truly the premiere guitar program in the Pacific Northwest. It also represents an important first step in a new, more diverse, and more expansive guitar program that we’ll be developing at Cornish over the next few years.”

With a repertoire spanning from J.S. Bach to Jimi Hendrix, Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America’s most innovative classical guitar virtuosos. Known for his creative programming, Nicolella has introduced electric guitar into his “classical” programs and extended the repertoire and audience for the guitar. The Washington Post stated recently: “Since the passing of Andres Segovia the guitar world has needed an advocate… perhaps Michael Nicolella is that person.”

Nicolella has released four CD recordings to critical acclaim; his latest release Shard features the music of Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Christopher DeLaurenti, and Joshua Kohl. Classical Guitar magazine described the disc as “an endlessly rewarding release from one of the contemporary guitar’s most gifted stars.”

Nicolella received his undergraduate degree from Berklee College of Music, where he studied improvisation with Gary Burton and Billy Pierce, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University where he studied guitar with Benjamin Verdery and composition with Martin Bresnick and Jonathan Berger.

Born in Seattle, Stephen Stubbs studied composition, lute, and harpsichord at university and privately in Holland and England before making his professional debut as a lutenist at Wigmore Hall, London in 1976. From 1980 until 2006 Stubbs served as professor for lute and performance practices at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen.

With his direction of Stefano Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo at the 1987 Bruges festival, the multi-talented Stubbs launched his career as an opera director and simultaneously founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, which has since recorded numerous CDs and completed tours of Europe, North America and Japan.

Since 1997 Stubbs has also co-directed the biennial Boston Early Music Festival opera. This has resulted in Grammy-nominated recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne in 2005 and of Lully’s Thesee in 2007. Stubbs’ solo lute recordings include the music of J.S. Bach, S.L. Weiss, David Kellner and the Belgian lutenist Jaques St. Luc, and with baroque harpist Maxine Eilander Sonate al Pizzico on the ATMA label. His performances on lute and Baroque guitar can also be heard on the Vanguard Classics and ECM labels.

For additional information or to request images please contact Meike Kaan or Beth Fleenor.

About Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish College of the Arts is nationally recognized as a premier college of the visual and performing arts offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in dance, theater, art, design and performance production, and a Bachelor of Music degree. A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today.