Guitar Harvest vol. 1 (a 2-CD set) is now available
for $19.99. or call toll-free
1-800-649-4745 .



27 Leading Guitarists Donate Their Artistry on Guitar Harvest to Support Unique Music Scholarship Fund for New York City Public School Children

NEW YORK, 7/24/03 The New York Guitar Festival is releasing Guitar Harvest, a new 2CD set of performances by 27 leading guitarists from the worlds of jazz, rock, folk and classical music. Andy Summers, guitarist from The Police, Ralph Towner, solo guitaristand member of Oregon, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, and two dozen other guitar legends offer new or previously unreleased performances  all to benefit the New York Guitar Festival  scholarship funds for New York City school children at the Kaufman Centers Lucy Moses School and the Manhattan School for Children.

Founded in 1999 by executive director David Spelman and WNYC-FM radio host John Schaefer, the New York Guitar Festival  has presented many of the world leading guitarists in an innovative series of concerts in New York City, celebrating the instruments universal appeal andraising funds for the festival educational endeavors. The first release in a planned series that will raise awareness of the festival and its scholarship programs, Guitar Harvest (SACD 2042) will be issued by the California-based Solid Air Records label, and will be available in major retail stores as well as online at and through the Acoustic Music Resource (toll free at 1-800-649-4745 or online at:

"The idea behind Guitar Harvest," said David Spelman, "is to put guitars into the hands of New York City public school students with no strings attached, and we're proud to have begun that process at the Lucy Moses School and the Manhattan School for Children. Because the guitar is used in so many genres of music and so many cultures, it has a unique potential to bring together disparate communities. Proceeds from the sale of the Guitar Harvest CD will fund scholarships that provide guitars and musical training free of charge, encouraging inspiration through music-making at a time of starkly diminsihed budgets for arts."

David Spelman, a conservatory-trained classical guitarist who heads a New
York City public relations firm in New York City, created the New York Guitar
Festival because "music has enriched my life, and its time to give something
back. Representing clients like the Orpheus Chamber
Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic is
deeply gratifying, but I also wanted to make a contribution to society through my first passion--the guitar. As I began, a comment by the playwright August Wilson served as my mantra: changes individuals, and individuals change
society... These words continued to inspire me. While I am deeply indebted to the
D'Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts for their support, I decided early on
not to pursue only large foundations or government grants. I would, of course,
welcome them if they came to us. What I really wanted to do was to ask artists to contribute what they do -- and I am especially grateful to the wonderful guitarists who have contributed to this CD. And finally, the talented kids who benefit from this
program are an inspiration to us all; our contribution to their education is a contribution to our own future."

The artists who donated their music free of charge to Guitar Harvest span many genres and instrumental approaches. "The guitar is unique among the world
instruments," writes Schaefer in the set’s liner notes, "because it is the only instrument (apart from the human voice) to have genuinely and successfully crossed over to all of the worlds  major musical traditions: classical,
rock/pop, jazz and traditional musics."

In their individual contributions, most of the guitarists chose to celebrate their own formative influences and educational background. Noted acoustic-music pioneer Alex De Grassi kicks off the first disc with a tribute to another iconic guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. Ralph Towner, equally at home in the worlds of jazz, classical and world music, plays both parts in a unique multitracked duo in homage to legendary Baroque lute player and composer Sylvius Leopold Weiss. Contemporary classical specialist Benjamin Verdery
offers an original composition that honors the maverick American composer Lou Harrison. Folk-rock guitarist Arlen Roth supplies a rag inspired by folk tradition, while Tony McManus draws upon Jewish klezmer tradition as passed down by eclectic Irish folk band De Dannan.

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo, mainstays of the New York classical guitar scene, performs music by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz in honor of their own Cuban-born mentors. Swing guitarist Frank Vignola celebrates the Gypsy-jazz legacy of Django Reinhardt, while the unclassifiable Bill Frisell and his teacher Dale Bruning join forces to pay homage to another swing legend, Charlie Christian. Composer-performer David Cullen drew inspiration from his early years as a working jazzman. The celebrated pop guitarist and former Paul McCartney sideman Laurence Juber recalls a very different kind of nightclub experience for his solo offering. Scottish classical virtuoso David
Russell closes the first disc with a composition by one of his primary influences, Argentine composer-guitarist Jorge Morel.

The second disc begins with a performance by the California Guitar Trio (and special guest bassist Tony Levin) that reflects the influence of the groups teacher and mentor, British guitar legend Robert Fripp. The eclectic Bay Area improviser Henry Kaiser teams up with bass virtuoso Michael Manring to offer a tribute to two Miles Davis sidemen, Pete Cosey and Michael Henderson. Rock innovator Vernon Reid found his inspiration in a friends visual art, while the astonishing acoustic virtuoso Richard Leo Johnson drew upon such far-flung influences as Hendrix, John Fahey and Igor Stravinsky. Classical guitarist and New World Guitar Trio founder David Patterson celebrates a very different kind of guitar hero, Led Zeppelins Jimmy Page.

Another uniquely uncategorizable artist, Gary Lucas offers a moving tribute to a friend and collaborator, the late singer Jeff Buckley. Newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Andy Summers, best known for his work with the Police, explores his passion for jazz with a rousing, large-scale rendition of a piece by jazz luminary Charles Mingus, while jazz guitarist and composer Joel Harrison pays homage to Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia. Russell Donnellon closes the set with a quiet, dignified rendition of the traditional hymn "Amazing Grace."


DAVID SPELMAN is the founder and executive director of
the New York Guitar
Festival® (NYGF). Since 1999, the NYGF has been
producing concerts, broadcasts
and CDs as part of its mission to raise money for a
scholarship fund that
provides free guitars and guitar lessons to public
school children in New York
City. In addition to managing the NYGF, Spelman is the
principal of David Spelman
& Company, a New York-based public relations firm that
has been hired by
companies including Decca Records, RCA/BMG Classics,
Concord Jazz, The New York
Philharmonic, The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The
American Symphony Orchestra and
Columbia University School of the Arts. Spelman
currently serves on the Board
of Directors of the D’Addario Foundation for the
Performing Arts, whose
mission is to fund music education, concerts,
festivals, symposiums and education
research. He also served on the Board of Trustees of
Naumburg Orchestral
Concerts, Inc., an organization that produces free
symphonic concerts at the Naumburg
Bandshell in Central Park. Spelman, an alumnus of the
New England
Conservatory of Music and the Peabody Institute of
Johns Hopkins University, has also
performed with an eclectic variety of bands, from punk
rock and jazz bands to
early music ensembles.

JOHN SCHAEFER has hosted and produced the popular
new-music radio program New
Sounds since 1982. The program was called "The #1
radio show for the Global
Village" by Billboard magazine. Schaefer is also
executive producer and host of
the nationally-syndicated series Chamber Music New
York. Since 1986, he has
produced and hosted New Sounds Live, an annual series
of live broadcast
concerts devoted to many types of new, unusual and
overlooked forms of music. He also
produces and hosts WNYC’s programs of classical
performances, both in the
studio and in various concert halls. He has been heard
regularly on the BBC, the
ABC (Australia), Taipei Public Radio and Radio New
Zealand. Schaefer’s
writings include New Sounds: A Listener’s Guide to
New Music; a biography of composer
La Monte Young (in Sound and Light, Bucknell
University Press, 1996); and
"Songlines: The Voice in World Music" (in Cambridge
Companion to Singing,
Cambridge University Press, UK, 2000). He was
contributing editor for Spin and Ear
magazines, and has written numerous articles and
reviews. His liner notes appear
on more than 100 recordings, ranging from The Music of
Cambodia to recordings
by Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, and Terry Riley