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  • Judy Handler

  • Judy Handler - CGS Co-Founder & Professional Member

    Judy is Co-Founder of the Connecticut Guitar Society and is established as a preeminent guitarist in the region. She performs in a mandolin and guitar duo with her husband Mark Levesque, with the New American Mandolin Ensemble, the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble, Blackledge Music and other ensembles. Judy has given solo concerts & workshops at numerous venues throughout the United States including the University of Arizona, Commons Theater in Chicago, the Boston Classical Guitar Society and the Guitar Salon in New York. Her extensive repertoire includes traditional classical guitar pieces, Spanish & Latin-American music and arrangements of jazz, Brazilian & contemporary music.


    Judy is an experienced teacher and is passionate about sharing her love of music and the guitar with her students. Her lessons are tailored carefully to each student to increase their motivation and progress. She teaches all levels of guitar as well as music theory and arranging. She and her husband run unique Performance Development Classes for players at all levels.


    Judy and her husband Mark Levesque have performed over 2,000 concerts together over the past 25 years. Their captivating & expressive arrangements blend classical, Brazilian, Latin American, klezmer, gypsy, jazz, Celtic and folk music influences to create a unique and extraordinary sound. This matched with their impeccable musicianship and outstanding, inspiring stage presence has won them a widespread enthusiastic following. They have 3 critically acclaimed CDs that have been sold in countries throughout the world. In September 2019 they released a new recording of holiday music arranged for guitar & mandolin, Joy to the World.

    Highlights from duo and ensemble concerts include venues in England in 2018, Portugal & Spain in August 2016, Eurofest 2014 in Bruchsal, Germany, The English Church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Classical Mandolin Society of America Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon, The Performing Arts Complex of Delaware County, The United Methodist Church in New Market, Maryland, Troy NY Music Hall, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Caramoor Center in Katonah, NY, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Hudson River Museum, Roger Williams University, The Connecticut Guitar Society, The New England Guitar Society, The University of Connecticut, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Musical Dialogue Series, The Byron Colby Barn, Music Mountain and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. They have performed for many community events including First Night Westport, The Mystic Arts Café, Bean Blossom Music Series in Indiana, the Rainbow’s End Series in Chicago, Nashua Public Library in New Hampshire and the Quechee Club in Vermont.


    As a founding member of the New American Mandolin Ensemble (NAME) in 2013, Judy has performed in the U.S. and toured abroad with this groundbreaking group. NAME has performed at prestigious festivals in the U.S, Spain & Germany, premiered a number of new works for plucked string ensemble and released a CD in 2017.

    Since 2008 Judy has performed in the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble with flutist Barbara Hopkins. The group brings history to life by performing programs of 19th century music on period instruments. Judy and Barbara have taken their unique blend of musicality, humor, and scholarship to many notable venues including the Adams National Historical Park, Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, Litchfield Historical Society, and the National Flute Association Conventions in New York and Washington D.C.


    Judy has experience playing for hundreds of weddings and special events and a soloist and in small ensembles. She works with each client to create the perfect ambience for any occasion.


    Judy studied under internationally renowned performer and teacher Oscar Ghiglia at The Hartt School, where she received her Master of Music degree, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Her B.M. degree is from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. She has also studied abroad, earning a Certificate from the Vila-Seca Salou Conservatory in Spain with José Tomás, Segovia’s teaching assistant and a Diploma of Merit from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy with Ghiglia. Judy performed in master classes for many great guitarists including Pepe Romero, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Carlos Barbosa Lima, Eliot Fisk and others.

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