Established in 2002 by a group of amateur classical guitarists with a passion for sharing their music and exploring their art form, the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS), eager to extend this passion to the broader community, first began presenting performances for the public by highly acclaimed classical guitarists in 2009. The well regarded International Series, as it is now known, brings world renowned musicians to Cleveland and, in its most recent season, drew nearly 1,300 audience members to performances at Plymouth Church UCC in Shaker Heights, a venue known for its timeless aesthetics and excellent acoustics. Two years after launching the International Series, recognizing the limited opportunities for music and arts instruction in Cleveland public schools, CCGS launched an educational program aimed at providing primarily urban youth in Northeast Ohio with the much-needed opportunity to learn music, play the guitar, and perform alongside their peers.
Now in its 15th year, CCGS employs two full-time staff and several part-time, contracted music teachers while continuing to offer its two signature programs: the International Series and educational outreach, frequently blending the two so that students can watch and learn from famous professional artists. Just as the organization has evolved over time, so has its purpose, from providing an informal outlet for music enthusiasts to connect over a shared passion to its current, comprehensive mission to teach, inspire, and connect.
Teach: CCGS provides educational opportunities to young people who would not have these experiences otherwise.
Inspire: CCGS presents the world’s greatest performers to diverse audiences in celebration of the classical guitar.
Connect: CCGS provides valuable, integrated services and creates meaningful collaborations throughout the Greater Cleveland community.
The CCGS is committed to presenting thrilling and diverse concert experiences in Cleveland. The International Series has already established itself as one of the finest series in the country, with internationally renowned artists and a superior concert experience. The CCGS collaborates with many organizations in the Cleveland community including: Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Les Délices, John Carroll University, Polish American Cultural Center JPII, Boys & Girls Club, and Cleveland Institute of Music.
Guitarists of all ages and abilities are encouraged through events such as Open Recitals, which provide an outlet to perform in front of a supportive community. In addition, master classes with visiting guest artists and other events are occasionally held to provide educational opportunities for budding guitarists.
The Cleveland Classical Guitar Society provides outreach where it is needed most through its education program at schools in Cleveland and Akron by providing classical guitar ensemble classes during the school day and after school at no cost to the school or the students. The majority of the students are economically disadvantaged and minorities. The CCGS is proud to be providing educational opportunities to young people in need. The Cleveland Classical Guitar Society is a member of the artist roster of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, works with Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, and partners with schools throughout Northeastern, OH.