CCGS Composers-In-Residence Program

The fundamental purpose of the CCGS Composers in Residence Program is to provide a direct connection between our students and passionate, talented BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) composers-guitarists. CCGS commissions works that are accessible to student players, reflect a variety of musical styles, and convey the diversity of composers and artists working and producing today. Many works reflect social justice themes. Our Composers in Residence visit our classrooms, work directly with our students through lessons and feedback, and culminate their involvement with CCGS by playing with our students at our annual Cleveland Community Celebration.

“Beyond Ferguson”

The CCGS Composers in Residence program traces its beginning to the composition “Beyond Ferguson” by Thomas Flippin, based on the shooting of Michael Brown. While CCGS didn’t commission this, CCGS students did give both the live and the recording premiere of the quartet version of this overlooked gem, despite its publication years earlier. In addition to the deep meaning the composition held for students, the video was presented by the Guitar Foundation of America and shared around the world, resulting in many other ensembles performing it. It also demonstrated the need for more student works by Thomas Flippin and other BIPOC composers.

Learn more about this music including thoughts from Thomas Flippin here.

You can watch the video performance of this piece by CCGS students below:

Creative Fusion

During the 2020-2021 concert season, CCGS presented three Artists in Residence:
Hermelindo Ruiz (Puerto Rico/New York), Anastasia Sonaranda (Mexico), and Thomas Flippin (Connecticut). This program was presented in collaboration with El Comité Mexicano de Cleveland as part of a Creative Fusion project funded by the Cleveland Foundation. The resulting works included nine professional and student works and resulting video recordings, three of which were in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra. This program demonstrated the incredible power of direct connection between students and composers.

More details and all videos from this project can be found here.

Here is La Llorona, with original poetry in the Zapoteco language and over 100 guitarists.

The Inaugural CCGS Composers-In-Residence Program

The 2021-2022 season marked the first official year of the CCGS Composers in Residence Program, funded in part by the Ohio Arts Council. Hermelindo Ruiz and Thomas Flippin composed 29 works specifically for CCGS students, conducted workshops, and participated in a live performance in which CCGS students premiered most of these works. The resulting collections were groundbreaking: 14 Études on the Music of Black Americans by Thomas Flippin, based on African American spirituals; and Memories of Cleveland/ Recuerdos de Cleveland by Hermelindo Ruiz, based on the music of Puerto Rico.

More details about our very first official CIR Program can be found here.

Watch a montage from our inaugural Cleveland Community Celebration below.


Alana Amore Colvin is our 2022-2023 Composer In Residence

Former CCGS student and Berklee College of Music Alum, Alana Amore Colvin has already been working with CCGS students. She will return in spring and summer 2023 to continue to teach, inspire, and connect with young players.

With the addition of ten works by Alana Amore Colvin in 2022-2023, CCGS has commissioned 48 compositions to date.

Learn more about Alana and our 2022-2033 CIR Program here.


CCGS Education is made possible in part by the generous support of: