Instructors

Our teaching staff has been, and continues to be, the highest caliber of professional musicians and composers hailing from a multitude of genres.

 

instructors

We have been privileged to have masters and Grammy winners in Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Texas style, Quebecois, Old Time Music, Gospel, Western, Swing, Classical, and Jazz as our instructors. These most respected teachers eat all their meals with the students, teach in small classes, and take the time to have many one-on-one sessions throughout the week. At the end of the week the instructors and students put on a concert for the community.

 
 

Phoebe Hunt

Phoebe Hunt began playing violin at age 6 studying the Suzuki method.  Raised in a family of musicians, she began exploring alternative styles of music in her teen years, studying Jazz improvisation at the University Of Texas at Austin.  Additionally, she began branching out further into the fiddle world studying country, swing, bluegrass and has ventured as far as to study in India with Master Violinist Kala Ramnath.  Phoebe currently is touring with her band, Phoebe Hunt and The Gatherers and has been a touring musician for the past decade.  She brings an amalgamation of influences into her teaching styles.


Alex Hargreaves

Newest member of the world renowned, Grammy award-winning, Turtle Island Quartet, Alex Hargreaves is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” by virtuoso mandolinist/composer Mike Marshall, and “the best young jazz violinist in America” by Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program. Since 2008, Alex has been performing regularly on stages around the world, including Austin City Limits, Panama Jazz Festival, A Prairie Home Companion, Grand Ole Opry, Cambridge (UK) Folk Festival, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, Bonnaroo, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, as well as in France, Italy, Spain, and South Korea. He joined the Turtle Island Quartet in January, 2016. At age 17, Alex, along with bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), teamed with Mike Marshall to form The Big Trio, and performed together extensively following the release of their self-titled album (Adventure Music 2008). From 2007-2014, Alex toured with Grammy-nominated singer/multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Jarosz, appearing on her three critically acclaimed albums, Song Up In Her Head, Follow Me Down and Build Me Up From Bones (Sugar Hill Records), as well as being featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, Mansinneedof.  In between, he has also toured with Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Danilo Perez, Darol Anger, Noam Pikelny, Leftover Salmon and has performed with many others including Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, Brian Blade, Tim O’Brien and Sam Bush. In pursuit of his passion for jazz and improvisational music, Alex completed the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez (Wayne Shorter Quartet), the program allowed Alex to work one-on-one with a select group of faculty, including Perez, Joe Lovano, and John Patitucci. While studying at Berklee, Alex toured with Danilo Perez, and recorded on Perez’s album, Panama 500 (Mack Avenue Records, 2014). The all-star lineup on the recording includes jazz icons John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Ben Street, Adam Cruz and others. Recently, Alex recorded and toured with longtime friends and musical collaborators Dominick Leslie, Nathaniel Smith and Samson Grisman. Their EP The Brotet, was released in June 2014.


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eli west

Eli West is a Seattle-based acoustic musician. Known for his solo work and collaborations with Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva, Cahalen Morrison, and more, the singer and multi-instrumentalist oozes understated talent.


Roy Williams


Roy Williams, an American songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, writes music with a curious ear and an open mind. From the classic pop tunes heard on the first cassette Roy owned—The Beatles “Live at the BBC in 1963”—to the incomparable instrumental canon of Django Reinhart, Roy’s influences eclipse genre categorization, a trait that is reflected in the adventurous spirit of his own original songs. After growing up in Clark’s Green, Pennsylvania, in a musical house where Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, and especially The Beatles were religion, Roy began playing gigs in nearby Scranton and soon moved to New York City to perform gypsy jazz with renowned guitarist Stephane Wrembel. Roy worked with Wrembel for four years and toured throughout Central America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he regularly plays out with his mentors and friends Jim Campilongo, Nick Driscoll, and Alex Hargreaves, and leads his own band. Roy often performs on piano, mandolin, bass, and has known how to play a G chord on guitar since he can remember. He released his debut solo album, Throwing Punches, in February 2015, which features ten original compositions. Roy is currently at work on two upcoming albums: a compilation of instrumental songs by his group Roy Williams and the Human Hands (featuring Alex Hargreaves and Nick Driscoll), and a solo record of rock n roll tunes.

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Dominick Leslie

27 year old mandolinist Dominick Leslie has spent every one of those years immersed in bluegrass and acoustic music, and his innovative style and musical curiosity are clearly informed by these deep roots.  He has studied with mandolin masters David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, won numerous mandolin championships, and performed abroad with several different musical configurations. He has toured with The Deadly Gentlemen, Missy Raines, The Bee Eaters, The Grant Gordy Quartet, Noam Pikelny and Friends, The Infamous Stringdusters, Tony Trischka, The Brotet featuring Sam Grisman, Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith and can currently be seen performing with Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers and several other NYC based bands. Dominickleslie.comPhoebehuntmusic.com


William Coulter

William Coulter is an internationally acclaimed, Grammy award winning master of the steel-string guitar. His most recent recording Fire & Grace, with Canadian violin virtuoso Edwin Huizinga, is an eclectic collection of Classical and Traditional music. Coulter has been Music Director for Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas since 1998, and has performed with the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Apollo’s Fire and many other ensembles. In March of 2016 he debuted Celtic Journey, a full length pops concert with the Omaha Symphony featuring Irish singers, dancers, musicians and storyteller. Collaborations have been a mainstay of his career including tours and recordings with Gourd Music artists Neal Hellman and Barry and Shelley Phillips; classical guitar virtuoso Benjamin Verdery, and Irish flute wizard Brian Finnegan.  His trio, One Lane Bridge, with fiddler John Weed and cellist Aria DiSalvio released it’s first CD in 2014. Tours have taken him around the states and to Ireland, Europe, Taiwan and most recently to Chile. Coulter teaches classical guitar at UC Santa Cruz and at many summer camps and festivals. Upcoming projects include a new recording with Native Irish singer Eilis Kennedy, and performances with the Edwin Huizinga. Coulter earned degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UC Santa Cruz.

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Edwin Huizinga

Canadian-born Dutch violinist Edwin Huizinga has a reputation as one of North America’s most versatile violinists. This season Edwin will be touring North America, and New Zealand with his duo Fire & Grace, with legendary guitarist William Coulter. Edwin is also a member of a 5 piece Canadian Indie-Rock band called The Wooden Sky. Edwin can be found on stage performing with Yo Yo Ma, Itzaak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw, Mike Marshall, and Steve Wonder. Edwin is a founding member of the Classical Revolution, as well as the 12 piece, New York City based early music band called ACRONYM ENSEMBLE. This year he has been commissioned to write a piece for Canada’s 150th Anniversary, will be a guest artistic-director with the Carmel Bach Festival, as well as being Artistic Director of the Big Sur Land Trust’s camp for kids.  Check out more info and videos at www.edwinhuizinga.comnew album "Fire and Grace" out now!!! 


JESSE SAHBI

Jesse Sahbi was born and grew up in a village of Barata in Cote D'ivoire ( Ivory Coast) West Africa. With his  band  (Jess Sah Bi & Peter One) he traveled in many West African countries, filling the stadiums of cities of Bouake, Daloa, Man in Ivory Coast,Ouagadougou and BoBodioulasso in Burkina, Bamako in Mali, Lome in Togo, Cotonou in Benin. In the US he had concerts in cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia,Wilmington, Baltimore, Silver Spring, Raleigh, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles,San Francisco, Oakland, Atlanta and at Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Since moving to the Bay area Jesse Sahbi  has performed in many venues and events : weddings, schools, churches, conferences, San Francisco Public Libraries. Jesse Sahbi also has experience as an instructor, teaching  African music to kids in Philadelphia PA, Orlando FL,Baltimore MD, Newark NJ, San Francisco and Oakland. Jesse Sahbi is a recording artist singer, composer, and Cartoonist He plays several African instruments ( Djeme, Kolon, Pkete, Balafon ( xylophone).

 

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Georgy Gusev

A graduate of the famed Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Georgy performs at major festival and venues worldwide with musicians and actors such as Natalia Gutman, Giovanni Sollima, Enrico Dindo, Rocco Filippini, Monika Leskovar, Andrey Gavrilov, Boris Andrianov, Eliso Virsaladze, Pavel Vernikov, Sonig Tchakerian, Moni Ovadia, Elsa Lila and many others. In 2011, in Moscow, Georgy founded GOSH Projects - a nonprofit association of young artists, which is actively promoting the cultural exchange between artists of different countries and supports new projects of young extraordinary talented artists from Russia. He is also a founder of the International Music Festival ‘Masters of Music’ held annually in Moscow since 2013. As a composer, Georgy started his career with the series of compositions for cello solo named 'Traveler's Diary' that has been used as a background for various shows by the Italian national television RAI and a few films. His first solo (as a cellist and composer) album CELLO DRIVE was sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld Vienna and released by UK label North2North in July 2016. His NYC debut as a cellist and composer took place at Carnegie Hall on February 2, 2018. Follow Georgy Gusev on instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @cellodrive


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Rick chelew

Rick Chelew--guitar/vocalsRick takes a fresh, original, and very musical approach to his material--whether it’s one of his own compositions, a familiar song from Dylan, The Beatles or Motown , or something more obscure from one of his British guitarist/songwriter mentors such as John Martyn, Richard Thompson, John Renbourn or Bert Jansch—Chelew makes it his own, welcoming the listener to hear it in a brand new way.Rick says, "Music is a conversation between the player and the listener. I like to let the audience, the room, and the tone of the day effect the performance, so we are building something together. That way it's new and different every time."Rick has been a familiar figure on Central Coast stages for twenty years, playing with Andrea's Fault, The Cachagua Playboys, Nico Georis, Heartstrings, Keith Greeninger, The Hayboys, Northstar, and others. He is also a record producer, with credits including Dave Van Ronk (“Live in Monterey”), Pentangle’s "Open the Door" and Bert Jansch's "Heartbreak", which was recently re-released to wide acclaim and was a New York Times Christmas Pick.


Wilhelmina Frankzerda

Wilhelmina Frankzerda is a fiddler and songwriter based in Nashville, TN. Her roots go deep in to traditional American music as well as celtic, classical, and pop music. She is the former Oregon State Fiddle Contest Junior Champion, National Twin Fiddle Champion, and was selected to study and collaborate at the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar twice. She recently released her debut album, FLIGHT, as well as an album with her folk duo, Paper Wings. My websites are: wilhelminamusic.com and paperwingsmusic.com


EMILY MANN

Emily Mann is a Big Sur, CA native with her heart in the old Appalachian mountains. She grew up immersing herself in a variety of traditional music styles at music camps and is a fluid and well rounded musician as a result. While at home in many genres and traditions, her artistry is strongly influenced by her time spent with oldtime musicians such as Paul Brown, Bruce Molsky, and John Herrmann. She tours with her duo Paper Wings with Wilhelmina Frankzerda. She has also toured with Darol Anger's Furies and she is a current touring member of old-time string-band, The Crooked Jades. Emily stands as a musician of deep intention and curiosity, ably conveying tradition into the future.

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Nicholas Leahy

Nicholas Leahy is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living in Big Sur. His focus is mainly on the claw-hammer banjo and the square-neck dobro. Nicholas has over 12 years experience and teaches songwriting annually at the Esalen institute in Big Sur. Catch Nick on John Smith's album, GINKO playing Drobo and Banjo!


Makiah Star

Makiah Star is a 23 year old, self taught singer-songwriter from Big Sur California. Makiah has been writing and performing her own songs since age 7 and now spends her summers creating, organizing and teaching both acting and singing camps for the local youth of Big Sur. Makiah is known for her fun yet effective way of teaching songwriting and vocal improv to kids. Favoring styles such as folk, country and blues, she helps kids find their voice and become fluid in songwriting, stage presence, harmonizing and improvising.


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Elise Leavy

Raised on the central coast of California and currently living in Boston, 20 year-old singer and songwriter Elise Leavy has written more than 60 songs and has recorded two solo records of original material, accompanying herself on accordion, tenor and six-string guitars, and piano. She co-leads Boston-based folk-grass quartet Ruthless Moon, and is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation Program. Elise performs as a solo artist as well as with Ruthless Moon and in various configurations with fellow songwriters and musicians. She is currently in the process of recording her third solo project in Los Angeles, CA, which will be released in 2019, and will be accompanied by release shows throughout the country. Listen to her recent solo album “Home for the Summer” here: https://doodleev.bandcamp.com/album/home-for-the-summer. Watch Elise performing two of her songs here: https://youtu.be/MwdUKuP-BDY and https://youtu.be/k7vyV13Svvg


Caitlin Belem Romtvedt

Caitlin Belem is a musician, performer, and educator in Seattle, Washington.  Growing up in a house full of music in northern Wyoming, she fell in love with the fiddle at a young age and later took up saxophone and guitar.  Caitlin sings and plays with Maracujá, Modern Bygones, Ospa!, and various other local and traveling musicians.  She has performed everywhere from living rooms to 1200 seat concert halls to television programs from Barcelona to Brazil.  Caitlin also teaches music through school programs, private lessons, workshops and summer camps.  She is driven by the power of music and the arts to bring people together, create communities, introduce people to new cultures, histories, and ways of thinking, to make people smile and dance, and to help us to discover how we want to engage with the world.

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nandi forrest

Nandi began playing guitar at age ten and became obsessed with Doc Watson and Jimmy Martin. Now he plays and sings the old country songs of Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens. He also plays back up old time guitar and loves flat picking.