Summer Guitar Symposium

The BSM Guitar Symposium is an online immersive program offering guitar students the opportunity to participate in an intensive and performance-focused learning experience. The two-week symposium will be led by BSM’s classical guitar faculty: Nora Spielman, Mark Appling, Alejandro Cote, and José Maldonado. Participants with prior classical guitar experience welcome.

*Special note for Summer 2020: In compliance with New York City/State mandates, Bloomingdale School of Music will be completely virtual this Summer and will continue to offer online learning options only.


Caribbean Music for Guitar: Puertorican guitarist, José Maldonado, will lead this interactive workshop focused on the music from the Caribbean. The workshop will describe the role of the guitar in different genres of music from the Caribbean among them the Puerto Rican Danza and the música jibara. Students will listen and watch examples together and also participate in hands-on exercises incorporating Caribbean rhythms discussed during the workshop.

Women in Guitar: Learn about the important role of women in the guitar world! This workshop will highlight women composers and performers throughout history. Faculty member Nora Spielman will guide students in this interactive workshop using audiovisual examples to illustrate the indispensable input many women have had and continue to have in the guitar world.


Spanish Music for Guitar: This workshop will focus on Spanish guitar music and highlight several composers including Albéniz and Joaquin Rodrigo with video and live technique demonstrations focusing on strumming and plucking techniques drawn from traditional Spanish music, including elements drawn from flamenco technique.
Essential Studies for Classical Guitar: This workshop is designed to help students Improve and understand what skills are indispensable for improving your guitar playing techniques. The workshop will also profile the composers that wrote important and standard studies for guitar, explaining the different styles and techniques these composers thought out to teach.




Dr. Maldonado holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University. He started studying the guitar at a young age in the Programa de Cuerdas at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico (CMPR). He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance from the CMPR where he studied guitar with Luis Enrique Julia and chamber music with Leonardo Egurbida and Alberto Rodriguez.


Guitar faculty member Nora Spielman grew up in Brooklyn and began playing the guitar at age 13. As a performer, Nora spends most of her time working on solo pieces as well as performing in chamber groups in repertoire ranging from Bach to Steve Reich. She has performed at America’s Society in New York City, the Odeon Guitar Series and the IFCE Guitar Seminar in Brazil. She is part of the Duo Aria (guitar and cello duo) with cellist Alexandra Jones, specializing in reimagining baroque, German art song and South American music in the context of the two instruments. The duo has performed in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s masterclass series at Rose Hall and most recently performed as featured artists for the PITTCON 2019 Conference and Expo in the spring of 2019 in Philadelphia.


Dr. Mark Appling has inspired audiences in venues throughout the United States, performing extensively both as a solo guitarist and chamber musician. He has performed for many of the leading guitarists of our time, including Pepe and Angel Romero, Eduardo Fernandez, Alfonso Moreno, and Eliot Fisk, who praises Appling as a “gifted young guitarist whose great love for music is communicated through the warmth of his sound and the intensity of his feeling.” Recent appearances include performances for the Boston Classical Guitar Society, New Mexico Museum of Art, Syracuse University, and radio broadcasts for WCNY and WRIU.

Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Texas Wesleyan University under Michael Dailey, a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory in the studio of Eliot Fisk, and a doctorate in performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied guitar with Nicholas Goluses and historical performance practice with Paul O’Dette. Currently based in New York City, Mark directs a classical guitar studio in Brooklyn in addition to his role as teaching artist at BSM.


Born in Curacao, Alejandro Cote began studying the guitar at age twelve, influenced by his mother who also played. He later moved to the United States to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Manhattan School of Music where he studied with David Leisner.

Alejandro aims to provide his students with a solid musical and technical foundation from the beginning of their studies. “I believe in the power of observation and that the teacher should learn as much as the student. I have particular ideas about technique and musicality that I like to emphasize but I am not rigid in my approach. Students have different skills. The best teachers are those that can pinpoint what their student’s particular strengths and weaknesses are.” Although classically trained, Alejandro will work with students on classical, folk, or rock music, depending on their preference.

Summer Guitar Symposium
*Summer semester courses are shorter and reduced in price. Select a section to learn more.

What you will learn

Participants will explore a broad range of techniques and repertoire alongside their peers through interactive workshops, performance seminars, and master classes. The symposium will feature multiple faculty concerts, and will culminate in a student concert open to all participants.


Participants will have the opportunity to perform live for their peers in a supportive atmosphere in which open discussion will be encouraged by faculty.


Each participant will take part in an intensive masterclass with a member of the faculty, an invaluable experience that combines live instruction and coaching with the experience of performing in front of an audience.


Faculty will lead workshops exploring diverse musical genres, playing techniques, and historical performance practice where participants will participate in discussion and practical application of musical concepts on their instruments

The Music of Our Students

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We provide access to music education to anyone who seeks it, regardless of economic status, ability, ethnicity, or religion, which has a profound impact on individual lives as well as on our entire community.

We offer Need-based financial assistance

Our goal is to make music education accessible and to remove the financial barrier that may prevent students from participating. Therefore, we offer need-based financial aid to as many students as possible.