Biography

I have been playing guitar since age 10 and lute since age 19. I come from a musical and very religious family that includes many decorated Polish war heroes. I started with lessons for three and a half years with Lehel Farkas, an amateur who worked at Radio Free Europe along with my parents and lived in the same apartment complex. He really taught me to love the guitar, lent me all of his records and took me to Segovia concerts. In fact, he introduced me to Segovia - I played him the beautiful E-minor study by Fernando Sor, and he called out for his wife, Emilia, to come listen told my teacher I was very very talented.

I then studied guitar and renaissance lute with Barbara Polasek at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, Germany, and went on to the Royal Academy of Music in London to study guitar with Hector Quine and Michael Lewin and renaissance lute with Robert Spencer. Besides getting Division V With Merit on the guitar and Division V With Distinction on the renaissance lute, I made it a point to take and pass the highest examinations in Harmony, Orchestration and Aural Training in an endeavor to do away with the misconception that guitarists know nothing about music apart from their own repertoire. My teacher in these subjects was Dr. Malcolm Hill. It probably sounds terribly ungrateful if I like to call him my "More-Harmony-Than-Good" teacher (hee hee), but he had such an amazing sense of humor and would probably forgive me. He was absolutely the greatest, and spent countless hours giving me private extra lessons that really helped me to understand music from a musician/composer perspective, made my Academy stay worthwhile, and got me started on my love of transcriptions for guitar ensemble. I also took phenomenology of music courses held by the famous Romanian conductor, Sergiu Celibidache when I got back to Munich.

Every spring and summer in my student days and afterwards, I  went to masterclasses with Oscar Caceres and Betho Davezac to learn more about South American and Spanish repertoire. Here in Seattle, I have taken masterclasses with David Russell, William Kanengiser, Benjamin Verdery, Phil de Fremery, Pat O’Brien, Roland Dÿens and Eliot Fisk. I have also studied with Paul O’Dette, Hopkinson Smith, and Jacob Lindberg on the renaissance lute and Toyohiko Satoh on the baroque lute in various classes in Europe and the US.

I have arranged many pieces for guitar ensemble, primarily for the Hense guitar quartet in Munich, Germany. They have recorded three of my transcriptions of music by Manuel de Falla (Miller's Dance, La Vida breve and Hommage a Debussy). Edition Margaux in Berlin has published my arrangement for guitar quartet of Golliwogg's Cake-Walk by Claude Debussy. Hofmeister Verlag in Leipzig has published my guitar trio version of Spanish Dances 2 and 12 by Enrique Granados as well as my guitar quartet version of Chacony by Henry Purcell.

For guitar solo, Mel Bay has published a BCD of mine entitled An American Christmas and we are working on one called A Scots Tune with transcriptions from the Margaret Wemyss Lute Book. I am also a co-contributor to Arranging Concepts for Classic and Fingerstyle Guitar to be published by Mel Bay.
 
I teach and perform on guitar and lute in the Seattle area. I have a studio in my home, give individual lessons through the Gene Nastri School in Mukilteo, and teach beginning folk guitar in groups through the Lynnwood  Parks and Recreation program.
 
Mary
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