Mike Christiansen: Guitar
Mike is the author of over 40 instructional texts for guitar and is widely known as one of America’s foremost experts in classroom guitar pedagogy.
In 1976 he created the Guitar Studies Department at Utah State University, which he chaired until his recent retirement. He remains a member of the music faculty there as Professor Emeritus.
His hard work and dedication have been acknowledged often. In 1994 he was selected as Utah State’s Professor of the year. In 2006, he received the Utah Chapter of the American String Teachers Association’s Outstanding Collegiate Educator of the Year Award. In 2007, he received Utah State University’s Artist of the Year Award. In that same year, he also received the Researcher of the Year and the Scholar of the Year awards from the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at USU.
In 2012 he was named Professor of the Year by Caine College of the Arts and selected as one of the Carnegie US Professors of the Year.
He averages over 130 performances each year as a soloist, with the group Phase II, and with the Lightwood Duo (a clarinet-guitar duo which has released six CDs). Mike has performed with many artists including: Jack Petersen, Glen Frey (the Eagles), Joe Diorio, Johnny Hilland, Tommy Emmanuel, and Natalie Cole and has been a back-up musician on multiple recordings. He has also recorded music for television and films.
Abe Lagrimas: Ukulele
As a young teen, Abe won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music’s summer performance program, where he studied, performed with the Boston, MA, school’s renowned faculty, and ultimately was awarded a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education.
As a high school drummer he became one of the youngest performers ever to be invited to play with Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency Program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
In addition to his drumming and composition skills, Abe has mastered the vibraphone, the piano, the guitar, and the ukulele. He has even played ukulele in New York’s famed Carnegie Hall with the group, Hawaii Calls.
Abe has released several recordings on his own label, Pass Out Records.