Marshall University Guitar Ensemble to perform at OUS

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Marshall University Guitar Ensemble, directed by Dr. Júlio Alves, will perform a “sweetheart” of a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14 in the Collins Center Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern in Ironton.

In addition to Dr. Alves, student performers include Erik Anderson, Jonathan Thorne and Rodrigo Almeida.

The guitar ensemble agreed to perform on short notice when John Mock, the artist originally scheduled to perform, cancelled his performance due to an injury.

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Currently the guitar studio has nine undergraduate and two graduate students. During the course of their studies at Marshall they are guided to improve their musical abilities by learning to incorporate efficient habits in their practice routines that will allow them to perform at a high level.

Students learn to teach guitar, give master classes and lectures and have the opportunity to gain extra experience by learning from guest artists.

An important component of the guitar studio at Marshall is the Guitar Ensemble. The ensemble is devoted to the performance of works originally written for the guitar and works composed for other instruments arranged for small guitar ensembles such as trios and quartets. Their repertory features music written in contrasting styles by composers from many countries including the United States, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina and England.

The MU Guitar Ensemble has performed in several local venues in Huntington, throughout the Tri-State and in several other cities in West Virginia. The group has also performed in cities such as Baltimore, Maryland, and Martinsville, Indiana.

In 2011 the ensemble performed in the Brazilian cities of Brasília and Goiânia, and in 2014 the group performed three recitals in Costa Rica. The ensemble was also featured on a podcast, participated in instructional workshops and performed during Alves’ lecture titled “Folk Music of West Virginia Arranged for Classical Guitar Ensemble.”

In addition, the group recorded videos featuring folk music of Costa Rica and West Virginia together with the members of the National University of Costa Rica Guitar Ensemble. The OUS program mostly features the same pieces performed in Costa Rica.

The performance is sponsored by the Ironton Council for the Arts. Admission is $10 and is free for students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by visiting the Ironton Council for the Arts website at



Dr. Júlio Ribeiro Alves is a faculty member in Marshall University’s School of Music and Theatre. He is responsible for overseeing the guitar studio teaching applied lessons, guitar literature, guitar pedagogy, guitar techniques and directing the Guitar Ensemble. He also teaches music theory and aural skills. Alves holds a Doctor of Music degree in guitar performance and music literature from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a master of music degree in guitar performance from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of music degree in guitar performance from the University of Brasília in his native Brazil.

He has performed throughout Brazil and in the United States, Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica. He regularly performs as a soloist, as a member of the Violauta Duo, the Duo Alves, the Violautalino Trio and in other chamber music ensembles. His programs feature music from various ethnicities and historical periods. He also performed with his former teacher, Eustáquio Grilo, in the Grilo-Ribeiro Guitar Duo, and in the Duo Caesar with guitarist Júlio de Alexandria Cruz.

Erik Anderson is a junior at Marshall majoring in music performance with an emphasis in classical guitar. Anderson was introduced to the guitar when he was 5 years old and spent most of his teenage years in the music scene in his native Miami, Florida. He now plays professionally throughout the Ohio Valley as a soloist, but spends much of his time during the academic year performing with his colleagues at Marshall. A recipient of the prestigious 2014 Donald Harper Scholarship at Marshall, he was a member of the Guitar Ensemble during the Costa Rican tour in 2014. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, Anderson plans to earn a master’s degree in performance while continuing to live out his dream of being a professional musician.

Jonathan Thorne is a classical guitarist originally from Charleston, West Virginia. He earned his bachelor of arts in music education from Marshall University in 2014. During his time at Marshall, Thorne participated in many master classes and public performances in the Tri-State as well as in Brazil and Costa Rica. In his senior year, Thorne was selected to study abroad for a semester at the Santa Catarina State University in Brazil. After returning to the United States, he was selected as a semifinalist for the Belle and Lynum Jackson Music Competition at Marshall. He continues to work with and instruct the national “Guitars4Vets” program in Huntington. The program allows military veterans to have free guitar lessons with Thorne and to be equipped with a new guitar and additional equipment that affords them the opportunity to play music whenever they choose.

In addition, Thorne is currently preparing to audition for graduate studies in guitar performance.

Rodrigo Almeida was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in guitar performance at Marshall. Prior to studying at Marshall, he studied at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he received his performance diploma. He also earned the bachelor of music degree in guitar performance at the Carlos Gomes Music College in the studio of Professor Henrique Pinto. In addition to his studies, teaching duties as a graduate assistant and solo and ensemble recitals, Almeida has devoted a substantial part of his performing activities to the Villa Guitar Duo. This is a guitar ensemble that has been together for more than 10 years and has been awarded prizes in several competitions in the U.S., Brazil and Europe.