Chris - Director

Chris Acquavella - graduated First Class Honors from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance. Chris mandolin studied under the instruction of Alison Stephens and composition with Andrew Poppy. He won the Wolfsan Foundation Music Award; was awarded the TCM Trust Silver Medal for String Studies and won 1st Prize at the 2016 Call For Scores hosted by the Kalamazoo Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra. Chris Acquavella has released four CDs and is currently a recording artist for America’s oldest and largest independent classical label, Centaur Records, Inc. Chris has performed and taught workshops at the Classical Mandolin Society of America Conventions, River of the West Camp, the David Grisman & Mike Marshall Mandolin Symposium, the annual course of the Austrian Federation of Amateur Musicians (VAMÖ) and the Summer School of the British BMG Federation. Acquavella is a published composer of new mandolin repertoire through Joachim-Trekel-Musikverlag, Hamburg and Astute Music Ltd, UK. 2014 by C. Acquavella:

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Vincent - Invited Teacher

Vincent Beer-Demander - Vincent Beer-Demander (born in 1982) has won many awards from prestigious Conservatoires in France and Italy. He graduated Licence de concert from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and has won several international competitions, among which Giacomo Sartori Competition (2004), Raffaele Calace Competition (2008) and the Jose Fernandez Rojas Competition (2009). As a solo artist, as well as in chamber music groups, Vincent has performed across the globe. He is a regular collaborator with various orchestras such as L'Orchestre National de France, Minsk Philharmonic, L'Orchestre National de Lyon, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, L’Orchestre National de Toulouse, The Israel Chamber Orchestra Ramadgan, and l'Orchestre National de Nice. Vincent was a former member of the Kerman Mandolin Quartet. As a professor at the National Conservatory of Marseille in France, the Royal Conservatory of Liège in Belgium, and the Superior Private Music School of Brescia-Montova in Italia, he is regularly called upon to give master-classes internationally. Vincent is a composer of contemporary classical music. He has produced a vast array of pieces which have been published by the Oz musical library (Canada), Mundoplectro (Spain) and Joachim-Trekel Musikverlag (Germany). Improvisation on "The song of Japanese Autumn" for Mandoloncello by Vincent BEER DEMANDER:


Marilynn - Invited Teacher

Marilynn Mair - Marilynn began her studies with Hibbard Perry in Providence, Rhode Island, and continuing in Vienna with Professor Vincenz Hladky. She has also taken lessons with Takashi Ochi and Sigfried Behrend (Germany), Hugo d’Alton and Jack Duarte (England), Joel Nascimento (Rio), and with Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer. Marilynn performs in a number of duos, partnering with Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas, classical pianist Nancy Nicholson, guitarist/composer Robert N. Martel, viola-da-gambist/composer Will Ayton and others. Marilynn is co-founder and director of Enigmatica, a mandolin octet performing various styles of music, which has released three CDs. Marilynn performs internationally, appearing at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Newport Music Festival, Lincoln Center, Sala Cecelia Mirelles, the Palacio de Cristal, Tivoli Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and hundreds of other venues. Over the course of her career Marilynn has released two dozen CDs, and appeared on numerous compilations. Although best known as a performer and recording artist, Marilynn is also held in high regard as a teacher and scholar. She is the author of several mandolin books including The Complete Mandolinist and The 100 – Techniques & Exercises for Mandolinists. She is founder and director of the American Mandolin & Guitar Summer School since 1986.  Ctyri Kusy by Stepan Rak:

Gary - Co-administrator


Gary Payne - A photographer by profession, Gary has been playing the mandolin for a number of years. He has mainly studied with Chris Acquavella for much of that time. He has also participated in a number of workshops and classes with Caterina Lichtenberg, Carlo Aonzo, Mike Marshall, Evan Marshall, and Paulo Sá--at events like The Mandolin Symposium and the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA) annual conventions. Gary's main area of interest is the classical mandolin; it's instruments, techniques and repertoire. Gary has also recently taken up the violin, with a particular interest in Baroque music. 

Gary was concert master of the New Expression Mandolin Orchestra (NEMO) in San Diego, and has performed as a trio and a duo in a number of local events and concerts. Gary also plays violin in the Kensington Baroque Orchestra--which he helped found. He also promotes and hosts concerts in San Diego. Gary is president of the Board of Directors of the Bach Collegium San Diego, an early music ensemble dedicated to performing vibrant historically informed music. Gary is also a board member of the national organization Early Music America.

Gary's website:

Bach Collegium San Diego:

Kensington Baroque Orchestra: Facebook

Early Music America: