William Kanengiser is one of the leading classical guitar performers and teachers in the US and a friend of GSI. The USC Professor of Classical Guitar has an extensive history with our favorite stringed-instrument – find out more about his life as a musician below.

kanen4William Kanengiser is recognized as one of America’s finest classical guitarists. He won First Prize in the 1987 Concert Artists Guild International Competition as well as first prizes in both renowned guitar competitions of Toronto (1981) and Paris (1983). Kanengiser has recorded four solo CD’s for the GSP label, ranging from classical to jazz to Caribbean to Near Eastern styles, and he recently recorded two CD’s for the Suzuki Guitar Advanced Repertoire Series. In 2005, he released a live concert DVD, “Classical Guitar and Beyond”, for Mel Bay Recordings, which also features Mr. Kanengiser’s talents as a comedian/mimic in his infamous “GFA Imitation Show”. A member of the guitar faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music since 1983, he was a recipient of the “2011 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching”. He has given master classes around the world and produced two instructional videos, “Effortless Classical Guitar” and “Classical Guitar Mastery” for Hot Licks Video. The 2010-11 season was marked by special performances of Shingo Fujii’s “Concerto de Los Angeles” for solo guitar and guitar orchestra, which was written for Mr. Kanengiser and recorded in Kyoto in 2008. This piece was played with guitar students in seven US cities, as well as in Osaka and Shanghai. Featured recitals in 2012-13 include Spivey Hall near Atlanta and appearances with the Long Island, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Calgary and Indianapolis Guitar Socities.

kanen3As a founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Mr. Kanengiser has toured extensively throughout Asia, Europe and North America and recorded over a dozen CD’s.  LAGQ was awarded a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Recording in 2004. Their newest recording project “Interchange”, features concertos by Joaquin Rodrigo and Sérgio Assad; it was released in March 2010 and received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Composition. In addition to three European tours this season, they recently completed their Australian debut tour, including three sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House.

In addition to the many arrangements and compositions Mr. Kanengiser has written for LAGQ over the years, Mr. Kanengiser recently created the stage production “The Ingenious Don Quixote: Words and Music from the Time of Cervantes”, writing a one-hour script for John Cleese (of Monty Python) and arranging accompanying Spanish Renaissance music for guitar quartet.  This work is now being toured with comedian Phil Proctor of the Firesign Theater, and was recently released as a live DVD on Mel Bay Recordings.


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