New York City Guitar Orchestra


Click here for upcoming New York City Guitar Orchestra concerts.

The New York City Guitar Orchestra was established in 2010 by the New York City Classical Guitar Society. Directed by Jason Sagebiel, the orchestra is committed to providing a valuable ensemble experience for guitarists of diverse backgrounds, while maintaining musical excellence and a commitment to fostering the creation of new music. Through its new music project, made possible by the generous support of The Augustine Foundation, the Orchestra has comissioned the following new works:

For the 2013–14 Season:

  • Catwalk by Andrew York
  • Magnetic Trance by Clarice Assad
  • Inner Voices by Richard Charlton (commissioned for the NYCGO by Jillann Farmer)

For the 2012–13 Season:

  • Chorale by Frederic Hand
  • Unsung Hymn for a Friend by Pat Irwin
  • How Slowly, All of a Sudden by Joshua Eustis

For the 2011–12 Season:

  • Folksongs by William Anderson
  • Ambienspheres by Jonathan Pieslak
  • Granada by Dave Hart
  • Mist by Tanikawa Takuma

For past Orchestra concert programs, see the archive page. For video, see the video page, or visit the Orchestra’s YouTube channel.

Becoming a member of the New York City Guitar Orchestra

If you are ready to join, please visit our sign-up page.

If you have any questions that are not answered below, you may email the director at jason [at] nyccgs [dot] com or call (212) 920-7026.

Who can be a New York City Guitar Orchestra member?

Membership is open to qualified guitarists who meet audition requirements and are members of the New York City Classical Guitar Society. We also welcome non-playing members who wish to be involved by volunteering to support the orchestra’s many technical and administrative tasks. If you would like to join in any capacity, please contact us at nycgo [at] nyccgs [dot] com

What can you expect at your audition?

The Orchestra Director and the President of the Guitar Society will hear you play. You may be asked to play a short prepared piece and sight-read some music from the upcoming concert repertoire to show that you’ll be able to learn the music. Don’t be discouraged by the sight-reading — good tone, good memory, and enthusiastic attitude are usually all that’s required. After the audition, you may be accepted as a full member, or accepted as a conditional member as long as you continue to meet expectations and are prepared for rehearsals. Conditional members will be re-evaluated before the performance to show that they have successfully learned the music. Please send an email to us at nycgo [at] nyccgs [dot] com to schedule your audition. When you’re accepted, your Section Leader will contact you to help get you settled into the orchestra.

What costs are involved?

The season is split into two sessions, the first running from September to December, the second from January to May. For each session, orchestra dues are $125, $80 for student and college student members, and $50 for non-playing adult members. All orchestra members must also be members of the New York City Classical Guitar Society.

What is expected of orchestra members?

Members are expected to practice, to attend weekly rehearsals, and to be prepared for rehearsal each week. We have prominent composers write music for our orchestra, and we expect to perform the music to the highest standards. Members are expected to spend time at home to learn their parts securely, to reinforce the work done in rehearsals, and to attend sectional rehearsals. For the more difficult music, we’ll provide recordings and schedule extra sectional rehearsals as needed.

What are the attendance policies?

Unless otherwise noted, rehearsals are held each week on Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. See the NYCCGS Community Calendar for location. The rehearsal may be followed by a brief (optional) gathering at a local restaurant or pub, and most people leave by 10:00 PM. Members are expected to attend all rehearsals.

There is one dress rehearsal for each concert during the season, for which attendance is especially critical, and which will be held before each concert. Attendance at all rehearsals, sectionals, and dress rehearsals is required. It is your responsibility to check your name off on the sign-in sheet when you arrive. If you are unable to attend a rehearsal, you must notify your Section Leader and the Orchestra Director in advance.

If you miss three rehearsals or more for any reason, you’ll need the Director’s permission to perform in the concert. This may require a second audition on the current repertoire to demonstrate that you are prepared to play.

What other work is required?

The administration of the orchestra is handled by the Director, the President of the Guitar Society, and by volunteers. We rely not only on the musical talents of the members, but also on their efforts to sell tickets, publicize performances, recruit new members, serve on committees, and take on special projects of all sorts. For concerts, our members help set up our chairs, stands, and other equipment, and load it all back up when the concert is over. It’s easy when everyone helps. We’re an organization of volunteers, and so each member is expected to help in some way.

Auditions may be arranged by appointment throughout the season. To schedule an audition, send an email to nycgo [at] nyccgs [dot] com or leave a message at (212) 720-9026. Interested guitarists are encouraged to “sit in” on the first rehearsal for each concert before deciding if they might be interested in participating, before signing up for an audition.

Please check the season schedule for rehearsal and concert dates, and please contact the Director if you have any questions.

Orchestra photos by Roberto Pieraccini