The Guitar Department at California State University Northridge has enjoyed a reputation for excellence for the past forty years since its establishment by Professor Emeritus Ronald Purcell. It is considered to be one of the pre-eminent guitar departments in the Los Angeles area and is respected as a leader in the field throughout California and North America. Students accepted to the guitar department receive serious classical guitar training to prepare them for professional life as a musician, while providing an excellent basis from which to pursue graduate studies on the instrument. Al students receive their instrumental training by highly trained faculty from the first semester of entrance. No teaching assistants are used in the instruction of the guitar. This allows or excellent faculty to monitor and mentor our students towards a path to excellence. The environment amongst the study is competitive, yet highly supportive. A high standard of diligence and study of the instrument are encouraged and demanded by faculty and students alike.
Guitar performance majors acquire the skills to be successful through the music department’s sequence of courses, as well as a sequence of courses specifically designed for classical guitarists. The library at CSUN holds the International Guitar Research Archive (IGRA), one of the largest collections of guitar music and research materials in the world. This collection, which is the result of the dedication to guitar by Professor Emeritus Purcell, is available as a valuable tool to the serious student of the instrument
In addition to these courses, a strong emphasis is placed on regular performance. This is achieved through weekly studio classes and once-a-semester chamber music classes. Guitarists also regularly have the chance to perform for the student body in Noon Recitals, New Music Concerts and other students’ recitals.Additionally, the CSUN music department holds a yearly concerto competition, and over the years many piano students have had the opportunity to perform concertos with the CSUN Symphony Orchestra as a result of winning the competition.
The Guitar Department encourages further study through masterclasses and studies with master teachers. In recent years, some of the world’s most renowned artists have worked with guitar students at CSUN. These include residencies by Oscar Ghiglia and Hubert Kappel and concerts/masterclasses by Zoran Dukic and Stephen Robinson.
We also feature one of the school’s professional performing groups, the CSUN Guitar Quartet. The quartet is chosen by audition and represents the school through outreach concerts and tours of Los Angeles and the State of California. Auditions to the quartet are open to all current BM and MM guitar performance students.
Recent graduates have commenced further studies at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, These include the Eastman School of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Hochschule fur Musik in Koln, and the MusikAkademie Koblenz.
The guitar area of the CSUN Music Department offers the following undergraduate and graduate degree programs:
- Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance
- Master of Music in Guitar Performance
The acceptance and placement in one of these degree programs are determined by the quality of the audition and by the goals and interests of the student. In addition, students applying for the graduate program are required to present a list of previously studied repertoire and three letters of reference.
Courses offered in the guitar area include the following:
- Fretboard Sightreading
- History and Literature of the Guitar (2 semesters)
- Guitar Pedagogy
- Guitar Masterclass
- Guitar Chamber Music Performance (offered every semester)