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Richard Savino

Richard Savino headshot


Office 543

Courses Taught

Guitar and Lute Literature

Historic Plucked Strings


DMA, State University of New York, Stony Brook

MM, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Performance Certificate, Conservatoire de Musique, Geneva


El Mundo, Director

Ars Lyrica Houston

Santa Fe Opera

Awards and Distinctions

Grammy Nominations for Director and El Mundo

Winner, Artists International Carnegie Recital Hall Competition

"Global Hit" on the BBC/NPR/PRI Radio Program The World

perfect balance of sacred and profane...reimagines a wealth of music made in colonial Latin America"

— The Guardian


What is your hometown?

Lindenhurst, NY

What is your favorite recording?

Can't list just one: Revolver & Sgt. Pepper (Beatles), Le Sacre du Printemps (Bernstein/NY Philharmonic), Brahms Third Symphony (Vienna Philharmonic), Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas (Rachel Podger), In the Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson), The Bronx Blues Sessions (Dion), Blonde on Blonde (Bob Dylan), Music of Josquin (Hilliard Ensemble), and Bach Orchestral Suites (Leonhardt).

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Socio-economic political theory, skiing, Shakespeare, Ariosto, and Cervantes.

Who were your major teachers?

Jerry Willard, Oscar Ghiglia, and Albert Fuller.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

I have two: 1) “Using the rhetoric of tolerance we have created an incredibly intolerant environment.” 2) “Those who are unaware of history are condemned to repeat it.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“Is there life after school?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

I had an epiphany on February 9, 1964.

What was a turning point in your career?

In 1982, I won a competition, played numerous times for Andres Segovia, and was appointed Professor of Music at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I could easily have been a chef (I love to cook), lawyer, stock broker (for the adrenaline rush), or meteorologist.

What is your daily practice routine?

I try to get at least two hours of practice in a day, but, in addition, I also try read and rehearse a couple of hours a day. (I don't sleep much.)

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

J.S. Bach, Francesco Canova da Milano, and the third one is a tie: Fernando Sor/Mauro Giuliani.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Rome, 1600: the first Jubilee year after the Protestant Reformation which gave us Le nuove musiche.

What are your most important collaborations?

Virtuoso Sonatas by Paganini and Giuliani with violinist Monica Huggett and Stephanie Chase; Curiose Invenzioni (Music of Biagio Marini) with ensemble Galatea; Kingdoms of Castile (Grammy-nominated CD with El Mundo).

What are your academic publications?

The Secular Monodies from "Il Libro Primo (1618)" by Francesca Caccini (Indiana University Press); Essential Issues in Performance Practices of the Classical Guitar Cambridge University Press); Complete Studies of Fernando Sor (Editions Chantarelle),

What recordings can we hear you on?

Too many to list since I am featured on over 30 commercial CDs as a soloist or principal performer on Harmonia Mundi, Koch, Naxos, Dorian/Sono Luminus, and Stradivarius. But here are some highlights: Complete quintets of Luigi Boccherini, Bardenklange of Mertz & Paganin & Giuliani Sonatas on Harmonia Mundi; Fours CDs of music by Mauro Giuliani including the only recording of Giuliani's Op. 30 concerto with the original orchestration and no cuts; Early Spanish and Latin American music on Sono Luminus.

What is your unrealized project?

To direct and record Francesca Caccini's opera, La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'Isola Alcina (1625)