GuitarSarasota is a non-profit organization that promotes the education, appreciation and cultural significance of the classical guitar as a solo and chamber music instrument.
GuitarSarasota was founded in 2006. The founding members were Thomas Koch, Jennifer Ahearn Koch, Kurt Wolf, Robert Turffs, Jesse Wiederspiel, David Hoover and Kimberly Perkins. Thomas Koch served as President and Artistic Director from 2006 until 2016.
GuitarSarasota held its inaugural concert on February 18, 2006 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sarasota, Florida. During our first decade, the number of concert goers attending our International Concert Series grew steadily each year. In 2015, following numerous sold-out performances, GuitarSarasota moved the International Concert Series to a larger venue, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sarasota, with up to 300 seating capacity.
Over the years, our International Concert Series has featured outstanding artists from around the globe, some among the most distinguished teachers of the classical guitar. GuitarSarasota sponsors local and regional guitar students to take master classes with world class performers and instructors as part of the education element of our mission.
Many classical guitar students from schools like Booker High School in Sarasota, Southeast High School in Bradenton, State College of Florida, Hillsborough Community College, Stetson University, Florida Gulf Coast University and Miami University were able to attend these master classes – free of charge thanks to sponsorships by GuitarSarasota.
GuitarSarasota also sponsors a Mini-Recital & Lecture Series featuring six events. Local and regional musicians perform a 45-minute concert, followed by an artist lecture and/or question and answer session. This series is free and open to the public and is aimed at increasing awareness and education, community-wide, of the beauty of classical guitar music.
In 2017 GuitarSarasota launched an outreach program to deliver free musical performances to senior citizens residing in publicly funded assisted-living facilities in Sarasota. GuitarSarasota believes that this outreach program will enrich the lives of senior citizens who cannot attend our concerts due to infirmity or advancing age and give them the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the classical guitar and discover the thrill of live performances.
Board of Directors
- Rudy Lucek, President (email)
- Karen DeBorja, Secretary (email)
- Frank Fernandez, Treasurer (email)
- Zachary Johnson, Director of Mini-Recital & Lecture Series (email)
- Lois Lucek, Board Member
- Michael White, Board Member