The Classical Guitar Department at the USC Thornton School of Music is one of the most prestigious in the country. It is known for extraordinary faculty members including Pepe Romero, Scott Tennant, William Kanengiser and Brian Head. It is also one of the schools where students can pursue a DMA degree in Classical Guitar Performance.
Classical guitarists at USC Thornton have been regularly involved in outreach concerts since the 1980’s. However, until now their outreach network didn’t include public schools. In order to expand their reach, the GSI Foundation has offered to help. This cooperation will allow USC students in the program to play concerts in public schools in the Los Angeles area and we believe that this exposure to such high-level performers will inspire and motivate these kids to pursue further musical education. The GSI Foundation has dedicated $5,000 to establish the GSI Foundation Classical Guitar Scholarship for USC students who show an exceptional interest in outreach activities and volunteer above and beyond the department’s expectations.
This year’s scholarship recipients, Mircea Stefan Gogoncea and Tomasz Fechner, have been chosen by the USC Classical Guitar Department for their exceptional outreach activities over the past few years. Currently, they both are doctoral students at USC. Mircea is Romanian-German and Tomasz is from Poland. They are both winners of many international prizes at guitar competitions and active recitalists.
In April 2018, Mircea organized a charity fundraiser to help guitar programs in Lagos, Nigeria. Fundraising consisted of a 7-concert tour of India and one performance in Germany, where together with his ensemble members, Mircea raised triple their project’s target amount. The trip to India and Nigeria was turned into a YouTube documentary titled “Trip Around the World of Music”. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks8ItxzoPcY.
Tomasz Fechner is currently finishing his doctoral studies. He’s been a student at USC since 2014 and throughout the years he’s been involved each year in outreach activities. Tomasz taught group guitar classes in elementary schools surrounding USC and did guitar presentations as a part of “Meet the Instruments” program, organized by the USC Thornton Outreach Program. He also performed multiple times at the Eastlake Juvenile Hall Court Schools.
Mircea and Tomasz have been playing in a duo since 2018. We’re excited to present their ensemble to children from public schools supported by GSI Foundation.