Juan Oscar Azaret
Executive Director, Trustee, Performance Party Organizer
A native of Cienfuegos Cuba, Oscar has also lived in Miami, East Tennessee, California, and Massachusetts. He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a BSEE from the University of Tennessee. He is a contributing author to the Guild of American Luthiers and active member of the Acoustical Society of America. Oscar is on the staff at Northern Essex Community College where he lectures on engineering physics and electronics. As a professional luthier, Oscar builds concert quality classical guitars.
Oscar worked for over 3 decades in the Boston area for Bell Telephone Laboratories and subsequent spin-offs in the fields of communication systems and semiconductors where he held various design and management positions working with international teams. During this time, he also studied and honed the craft of lutherie, built his workshop and collected wood. Passionate for the sound, aesthetics, and science of the classical guitar, Oscar strives to go beyond the craft and explore the underlying physics and physiology which endow the classical guitar with its enduring human appeal. He has lectured extensively and published articles on these topics at various universities, conventions, and institutions
Artistic Director, Wallace Memorial Fellowship Director
Classical guitarist Catherine O’Kelly is an active performer throughout New England, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. She performs regularly with Tedesco Duo, alongside flautist Arielle Burke, and together they have performed at numerous concert series and festivals, such as The Carlisle Music Festival. Catherine is a sought after chamber musician and collaborator, and has performed with a number of local groups including Boston’s Cantata Singers and Arthur Murray Dance Studios. She is a frequent guest artist/lecturer at local guitar festivals and programs, and she is the founder of The Rivers School Conservatory’s Guitar Weekend.
Catherine is currently finishing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in classical guitar performance at The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT, where she studies with Christopher Ladd. She earned a position with The Hartt School’s Honors Chamber Music Program, Performance 20/20, providing her a full scholarship for her doctoral studies.
In addition to her performance career, Catherine maintains strong teaching studios at several schools in Massachusetts. She is the Guitar Department chair at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA; and additionally teaches at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA, and at The Powers Music School in Belmont, MA. She is a registered Suzuki teacher, and as a former Suzuki student herself, she is passionate about teaching young students through the Suzuki method.
Dr. Daniel Acsadi
Trustee, Artistic Advisor
Through his acclaimed performances, arrangements, and teaching, Dan Acsadi is a passionate advocate for both the guitar and the music of his native Hungary. Dan’s arrangements encompass art and folk music of the 18th through 21st centuries, innovatively expanding the guitar’s repertoire. He is firmly committed to the guitar as a versatile chamber music instrument, performing regularly with voice, viola, violin, flute, string quartet, and guitar ensemble.
Beginning his musical studies at age six, Dan earned his D.M.A. and M.M. from New England Conservatory (NEC) and B.A. from Cornell University, where he double majored in music and economics. Dan studied with Eliot Fisk, Pablo Cohen and John Hall, and has performed in the masterclasses of Manuel Barrueco, Leo Brouwer, Eduardo Fernandez, and Adam Holzman. He maintains a teaching studio in the Boston area and is on the faculty of Longy School of Music of Bard College, Tufts University, and Powers Music School (Belmont).
Dr. Jérôme Mouffe
Dr. Jerome Mouffe is an active concertist, pedagogue, and community builder. Faculty at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Jerome Mouffe has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. Highlight performances include the Celebrity Series of Boston, the OMNI Series in San Francisco, the Austin Classical Guitar International Series, the International Brussels Guitar Festival, the Festival del Noreste in Saltillo, Mexico, and the Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island, among others. Jerome Mouffe has toured with guitar phenomenon Grisha Goryachev and Pacific Symphony Orchestra principal flute, Benjamin Smolen. Jerome Mouffe has released two albums: Capriccio, on the VGo Recordings label in 2009, and more recently Bach to Beaser with flautist Benjamin Smolen. Jerome Mouffe holds degrees from the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and the Mozarteum Univertität Salzburg. He was the first guitarist to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Jerome directed the Boston Classical Guitar Society during the ’17-18 and ’18-19 seasons. To find out more, please visit: www.jeromemouffe.com
Director of Hingham Guitar Series, Designer, and Trustee
A long time member and trustee of the Boston Classical Guitar Society, George Ward is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston. He has worked as a freelance graphic designer in the hi-tech industry and illustrated trade books for publishers in Boston and New York. George is semi-retired and currently works as a designer/print production manager for Comap, Inc. The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications in Bedford, MA.
As an active BCGS member George produces the quarterly newsletter and Artist Series promotional material. He also curates the Hingham Public Library Sunday Sounds Special concert series, The Tufts Library Saturday Series in Weymouth, and coordinates guitar performances with the Westford PCA in Westford, MA. His interests include helping talented musicians find an audience, Classical Guitar, 3-cushion billiards, and dog training with his Red Heeler, Wendy.
Trustee, Artistic Advisory
William Riley has an active career as a guitarist and educator. Currently, he serves on the music faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (Cambridge, MA), the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Wheaton College. He also teaches at New England Conservatory Preparatory School, is a Co-Director of the Young Guitarists’ Workshop, and is on the Board of Directors of the Boston Classical Guitar Society. As a guitarist, Riley has won top prizes and been a finalist and semi-finalist in several national and international solo competitions, including the ECU National Guitar Competition 2000, the 10th International Guitar Competition at the Portland, OR Guitar Festival, and the 2001 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition. William Riley holds a BM degree (cum laude) from The University of Texas at Austin, studying under Adam Holzman, and an MM (with honors) from New England Conservatory, where he studied with acclaimed virtuoso Eliot Fisk. www.willrileyguitar.com
Kim Perlak is the chair of the guitar department at Berklee College of Music. Kim’s versatile approach to the instrument embraces new music, education, and public service. Her performances of new classical works, original and improvised pieces, and collaborations with jazz and traditional players have been featured on National Public Radio, at the Yale Guitar Extravaganza, at Boston GuitarFest, and on five recordings. Kim’s curriculum development for Berklee includes the book Classical Technique for the Modern Guitarist (Berklee Press/ Hal Leonard 2016). Her guitar work in education and with American veterans has been honored by the PBS program “From the Top” as part of their Arts Leadership series, and was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives. Kim holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (’08 DMA), Yale School of Music (’01 MM), and Stetson University (’98 BM). She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Guitar Foundation of America, and served as the Editor-in-Chief of Soundboard for GFA from 2010-2013.
Dave McLellan has been performing in the U.S., South America, Great Britain, and Europe since 1976. He has appeared in major concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Wigmore Hall (London). After setting aside the music career for one in software engineering in 1981, he lived a double life as programmer and concert guitarist with duo partner Neil Anderson. The Anderson-McLellan Duo gave numerous concerts throughout the 1980’s, including two concert tours of Great Britain, performing also for festivals in the US and South America. Their farewell performance in November 1989 in Merkin Hall, New York, was a program of American duo guitar music, supported grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the D ’Addario Foundation.
Mr. McLellan’s collaborators stretch across New England, including guitarist/composer Frank Wallace, the Serata Quartet, soprano Rebecca Grimes (with whom he participated in the Symphonic Relief for Haiti world-wide series of concerts to raise money for aid to earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010), soprano Rebekah Alexander with the ‘This is My Letter to the World’ series of concerts, contralto Emily Marvosh (Handel & Haydn Society, Lorelei), and flutist Tracy Kraus. An early collaboration with fellow teacher guitarist Edward Flower resulted in two full length recordings of duo guitar music for Music Minus One.
Mr. McLellan has served on the faculties of The Hartt School and the University of Connecticut, where he also performed regularly with Edward Flower. He currently is on the faculty of the Performing Arts Center – Metrowest in Framingham, MA, and in the Town of Harvard Artist in Residence program. He is a self-taught free-lance timpanist and mallet percussionist and has appeared with community and professional orchestras in the Metrowest Boston area. He is the timpanist, publicist, and guitar soloist of the Lincoln-Sudbury Civic Orchestra, in residence at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
Mr. McLellan is committed to using music to change lives and help charitable causes. In 1998, he founded and continues to perform in Concert in Your Living Room, a service dedicated to helping non-profits raise funds. In 1996, he established the David S. and Margaret McLellan Endowment for Performance Outreach at The Hartt School. While he served on the Hartt School Board of Trustees in Audience Development (2015-2021), he created and curated the first six season of the popular Hartt@Home program, an initiative that brought Hartt students, faculty, and alumni performers into private homes for intimate performance experiences. Hartt@Home served over 2300 listeners in its six seasons, one living room (or Zoom call) at a time. During the COVID pandemic, Hartt@Home had its busiest year, attracting nearly one thousand online listeners. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Boston Classical Guitar Society in 2021.
Rocco grew up in Dorchester, part of a large Italian American family. He holds a BS in biology from Boston University and MA and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University in zoology and neurobiology. Rocco worked as a research neuroscientist at the Biophysics Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography doing neuroscience research on mammals and fish life. After a decade as a research scientist, Rocco joined Digital Equipment Corporation working in the field of computer operating systems. Having reinvented himself as a software engineer, Rocco then owned a business developing database applications for large corporations such as Fidelity Investments. Most recently, over the last 13 years, Rocco has built a financial advising business associated with Ameriprise Financial, which he then sold in 2016.
Rocco is married to Merle Bombardieri, a psychiatric social worker in private practice specializing in psychological stresses associated with infertility and adoption, as well as helping clients decide whether to have children. She is a specialist in behavioral medicine techniques such as hypnosis and is the author of The Baby Decision: How to Make the Most important Decision of Your Life. Merle is writing a novel on sister surrogacy. Rocco has two grown daughters – Marcella, an education analyst at the Center for American Progress, and Vanessa, a development operations specialist at Columbia University. Vanessa and her wife run an off-off Broadway theatre company in Manhattan’s White Horse Theatre. Soflyan, Marcella’s son, is Rocco’s only grandchild. Rocco lives with his wife, two cats, and three guitars in Stow, MA.
Rocco first came to the classical guitar at the age of 30, and since, it has been a rich part of his life. He has been privileged to study with such fine guitarists as Robert Ward, Berit Strong and Celin Romero. He is the proud owner of guitars by Kevin Aram, two by Robert Ruck, and a custom short-scale Oscar Azaret guitar.
Michael Bester is a classical and jazz guitarist, as well as a professional web developer. He earned a B.A. in the Studio Music and Jazz program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music under the direction of Jazz guitarist and pedagogue, Randall Dollahon. In recent years, he dived into the classical guitar world, becoming an active member of the Boston Classical Guitar Society. Through his arranging and performance, he attempts to bridge the divide between classical and jazz guitar
Keith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, both from the University of Vermont. He worked for Philips Electronics for 34 years developing Ultrasound technology software and has recently retired.
The Guitar has been a central part of his life since childhood. Keith began playing guitar at age twelve and started studying Classical Guitar in his late teens. He continues to work on technique and enjoys discovering new repertoire.
Keith has completed 35 marathons and enjoys cycling, hiking, and traveling. He and his wife Claudia live in Andover Massachusetts. Their two children live and work in Boston. His daughter Megan is a Senior Director at a biotech firm, and his son Stephen is a jazz saxophonist and music educator.
Social Media Director
Jhon Alvarado is a devout music educator. Inspired by his studies at the New England Conservatory, Jhon believes that “Music in education plays an essential role in the early stages of a child’s development by fostering a growth mindset that rewards and praises students based on effort put forth rather than test score or innate ‘talent.’” Jhon is currently located in Boston, MA and teaches guitar to students of all ages through his in-person, online private guitar studio, and Powers Music Studio.
Jhon re-energizes the classical guitar repertoire with captivating contemporary performances of world renowned 20th and 21st century composers. Jhon’s performances are always unique and exciting, with the inclusion of music by Toru Takemitsu, George Gianopolous, Dusan Bogdanovich, and many other world-class contemporary composers. Jhon’s eclectic concert program’s continually take his audience members on trips around the world discovering music from different corners of the globe, often beginning in Latin America and ending as far as Japan and the Middle East. In March of 2018, Jhon was awarded the prestigious President’s Honor Recital Award from the University of Redlands, for displaying high levels of musicianship and performance on the concert stage.
Jason Stripinis is a development advisor to the BCGS board.