Meet the people behind the organization!
Erik Mann, Executive Director
Cleveland Classical Guitar Society is headed by Executive Director Erik Mann, who has led the organization since 2009, a role which combines his love of classical music and education. Under his leadership CCGS has created the International Series, which now presents the finest classical guitarists in the world, as well as the Education Program, in partnership with Cleveland schools. Erik has been a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2004 and previously taught at three other colleges. He served for three years on the committee for review of stringed instrument applications of the Fulbright US student program. Erik’s performances on the classical guitar include The Cleveland Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera, Erie Philharmonic, and Erie Chamber Orchestra. Erik holds degrees in music performance from Towson University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2015 he was one of 25 arts leaders nationwide chosen for the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) of the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
Adam Satorius, Director of Education
Adam Satorius has been involved with music, both as a performer and teacher, for most of his life. He became the CCGS Director of Education in 2021 after joining the organization as an educator in Fall 2019. He believes that every child should believe in their ability to learn, create, and collaborate. Adam’s musical background includes piano, guitar, cello, bassoon, and percussion. He has performed nationally and internationally in various ensembles and as a soloist. He has worked with students of all ages, from five years old through retired adults. Adam received Bachelor’s degrees in Classical Guitar Performance and Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Clare Callahan and Dr. Betty-Anne Gottlieb. As a native to the Cleveland area, the CCGS International Series was his first exposure to the classical guitar. Adam is passionate about providing high-quality, meaningful musical experiences for Cleveland city youth. He actively composes and arranges music for guitar that is pedagogically focused while engaging for students. As an educator, he strives to provide his students with the skills, knowledge, and experiences to discover a love of music-making and their own unique musical voice.
Jon Poor, Events Manager
Jon Poor joined the CCGS team as Events Manager in January of 2022. Jon grew up in Sioux City, IA and Portland, OR. He moved to Birmingham, AL in 2000 and in 2005 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He relocated to Cleveland, OH, in November of 2021. As a songwriter and guitarist, Jon has been a part of a variety of performing groups and has released recordings under his own name as well as with bands Feijoada and Willie and the Giant.
Since 2011 Jon has been an owner and Event Director for a music festival in Birmingham, AL, called Secret Stages which brought close to 600 artists, utilized dozens of venues, and garnered praise in publications like The Wall Street Journal, UPROXX, and Paste Magazine. For ten years Jon has been focused on refining and executing events that deliver a stellar experience for all who are involved including artists, patrons, sponsors, and volunteers. Jon is eager to bring his experience and enthusiasm to Northern Ohio and CCGS.
Deanna Baber, Development Associate
Deanna entered the not-for-profit sector in 2019 when she graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Digital Media/Media Studies. She enjoyed her work so much she went back to school at Cleveland State University where she received her Masters of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership while working for another organization. Having skills and degrees in separate fields has allowed Deanna to become a well-rounded Development professional where she can utilize her marketing and digital media skills to serve her organizations in their fundraising efforts. This has also contributed to the learning and managing of donor databases. After graduating, Deanna decided it was time to take the next step in her career and work for an organization where she could not only grow her talents, but be continuously challenged while learning new skills and meeting new people. This led Deanna to CCGS! While she grew up in a musically talented family, Deanna is a drummer with a respect and admiration for all kinds of guitar and music. Outside of CCGS, Deanna is the Chair of the Surf Rider Northern Ohio Chapter, the Vice President of Growls and Howls Animal Rescue, and advises VP of Programming & Enrichment as well as Director of Ritual Education for the Phi Lamba Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi. She also serves on the National Philanthropy Day Committee for AFP Greater Cleveland, the Scholarship Committee for Alpha Omicron Pi, and the Scramble for Kids Committee for Cleveland Christian Home. Deanna is excited to grow and learn within CCGS while gaining a newfound love and passion for classical guitar and music. Please contact Deanna with any fundraising questions you may have via email at email@example.com! She hopes to see you soon at a concert!
Rodrigo Lara Alonso moved to Cleveland to join the faculty of the CCGS Education Program in Fall 2019. In addition to his work as a full-time guitar instructor in the classroom, Rodrigo serves as Curriculum Lead for CCGS. He holds music degrees from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and Indiana University. He worked for nine years as a professor at UNAM and is fluent in three languages. Rodrigo has extensive experience conducting guitar orchestras, and is the director of the guitar ensemble Sicarú, which has won 15 first prizes in seven different countries. His recordings México de mis sueños (Orquesta de Guitarras Néstor Castañeda), and ¡Candombe! (Sicarú) are available on the Tempus Clásico label. He is finishing his dissertation as part of a Ph.D. degree in Music Education at The University of Southern Mississippi. In addition to classroom teaching, Rodrigo is the Director of the Cleveland Youth Guitar Orchestra.
Pedro L. Pérez Cáceres, Educator
Pedro L. Pérez Cáceres was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and joined CCGS in summer 2022. He began studying the guitar at Interamerican University, and obtained his B.A. in Music from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. Later he received his Masters Degree in Music from Arizona State University, where he was a Fulbright scholarship student of Professor Frank Koonce. Pedro was awarded the Pro-Arte scholarship from the Asociación Pro Orquesta Sinfónica (APOS) to attend the National Guitar Workshop. His many chamber music performances include collaborations with flutists Sherry Finzer, Monica Anthony, and the former Phoenix Symphony Principal Flutist Alex Viazovtsev. Pedro previously taught guitar and was Estudiantina Director at the Rivera High School in Brownsville, Texas; and taught for Phoenix College, Arizona School for the Arts, and Lead Guitar.
Jeremy Bass joined CCGS as a contracted teacher in January 2020. He specializes in contemporary music for classical guitar, and in recent years, has focused on historical plucked strings. Jeremy has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, and the Lexington Chamber Orchestra. He was a fellow at SoundSCAPE and Nief-Norf, and guest artist with Alia Musica Pittsburgh and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. His principal teachers were Dieter Hennings, Andrew Zohn, and Rafael Scarfullery. Jeremy holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky and Columbus State University, and was a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar Grantee at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His solo debut recording, David del Puerto: Guitar Sonatas, Volume I, is available on the Orpheus Classical label. He can also be heard on the Irish-Americana group Wolf and Clover’s self-titled album. A fluent Spanish speaker, Jeremy is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ecuador 2007-2009), and a graduate of Woodstock School, Mussoorie, India.
Kevin Covney is a classical guitarist and music educator based in Greenwich, CT and teaching for CCGS’s remote platform, Guitar@Home Academy. In his teaching, Kevin focuses on a compassionate, equitable, and student-centered teaching approach, which helps learners of all types achieve their musical goals. As a performer, he has collaborated in Upstate New York with groups such as the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and Opera Ithaca, and has also played in masterclasses for Grammy-Award winner Sharon Isbin in the 2019 Aspen Music Festival. Kevin received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music in Guitar Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Grammy-Award winning guitarist Jason Vieaux and Colin Davin.
Baltimore native Andy Poxon joined CCGS as the first Teaching Fellow in Fall 2017. Now a lead teacher for the program, he is an accomplished guitarist and arranger across many styles and genres. As a guitarist, Andy has won numerous competitions and awards across the United States, and has played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Sacramento Music Festival, and Festival D’été, both as a soloist and with various bands. He has recorded three albums of original music released on Ellersoul Records, which have received extensive airplay on Sirius/XM radio and have been nominated for numerous awards. Andy is an active freelance musician in Cleveland, including several performances as a guest musician with The Cleveland Orchestra. As an arranger, he has been commissioned by Grammy-award winning artists such as Jason Vieaux and Anne Akiko Meyers. Andy holds degrees from Towson University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to CCGS, Andy is a faculty member of the CIM Preparatory Department.
Craig Slagh, Educator
Craig Slagh joined CCGS in Fall 2021 as a contracted teacher. He began his music career in Cincinnati working with Jeremy Collins and Rodney Stuckey at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Prep department. He received his Bachelor of Music Performance in May 2021 from Oberlin Conservatory. At Oberlin, he studied under Stephen Aron and received numerous honors and rewards that included being a finalist in the Jim Stroud All-Ohio Guitar Competition and performing in the Dannenberg Honors Recital. He will be pursuing his Master’s Degree at CIM this fall with Jason Vieaux.
Rob Thorndike has been a lead teacher with CCGS since Spring 2018. He has had a diverse career as a musician, actively working as a guitarist, music director, and composer in Cleveland after completing his classical guitar studies with Dr. François Fowler at Youngstown State University, where he earned his degree in guitar performance and music education (2011). Currently, Rob is a guitar class instructor and private lesson teacher at several CCGS partner sites throughout Cleveland. In addition to his work for CCGS, Rob teaches guitar lessons, classes, and camps at Chagrin Valley Music in Chagrin Falls, and is Music Director at the UMC of Chagrin Falls. As an active composer, he scores music for film, brand-based media, and arranges music for high school vocal and instrumental ensembles.
Kadirah McJunkins joined the CCGS teaching roster in March 2020 as the organization’s Teaching Assistant. She started learning classical guitar four years ago through CCGS classes at her school. She is an active student in the CCGS Education Program, performing regularly with the CCGS Advanced Quartet at events around Cleveland (including the MLK Day Celebration at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the CCGS International Series). As a soloist, she has participated in the organization’s open recitals and masterclasses. Kadirah was named the 2020 CCGS Education Program’s Student of the Year, awarded at the annual Showcase Concert. Her duties as the CCGS Teaching Assistant include assisting with classes, working one-on-one with students, and recording videos of student repertoire. A multi-talented artist, Kadirah is pursuing her visual arts talents at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she is majoring in Animation.