Established in 2002 by classical guitarists eager to share their art form, the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS) extended this passion to the broader community in 2009 through public performances by highly acclaimed classical guitarists. The well-regarded International Series, as it is now known, brings world-renowned musicians to Cleveland, drawing more than 1,300 audience members in its most recent season to performances at Plymouth Church UCC and the Maltz Performing Arts Center (each known for its timeless aesthetics and excellent acoustics). Two years after launching the series, CCGS introduced an education program in response to the limited access of instrumental music instruction in Cleveland K-12 schools, providing the youth of Cleveland an opportunity to engage in deeply meaningful music-making.
Now in its 17th year, CCGS employs three full-time staff and full- and part-time teachers while continuing to offer its two signature programs: the International Series and Education Program. The two programs frequently interact, with CCGS students performing as the “opening act” at all International Series concerts, and every International Series artist teaching CCGS students through school outreach and public masterclasses. 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, Connect.
TEACH: CCGS creates life-changing experiences for Cleveland’s kids.
INSPIRE: CCGS presents the world’s greatest performers.
CONNECT: CCGS provides meaningful connections between people.
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, presenting a roster of internationally renowned artists. The annual Showcase Concert features some of the finest local performers in Northeast Ohio in a free concert. CCGS collaborates with many organizations in the Cleveland community including: Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Les Délices, John Carroll University, and the 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, masterclasses with visiting guest artists and other events are occasionally held to provide educational opportunities for budding guitarists.
CCGS provides outreach where it is needed most through its education program at schools in Cleveland. To provide an opportunity for students who are unlikely to have the exposure to high-quality instrumental music education, CCGS partners with schools and community centers in neighborhoods where instrumental music has been eliminated from the school curriculum. CCGS students perform more than 60 times a year for over 4,000 people, ranging from informal performances at school to concert performances at Cleveland’s most prestigious venues and events (Severance Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Institute of Music, John Carroll University, Council of Great Schools, Foundation Center’s 40th Anniversary, etc).