About Us

Chris Acquavella, SDCMC Director, mandolinist, educator (mandolin, baroque mandolin, guitar)

Chris Acquavella is a classical mandolinist & educator from San Diego, California, who currently lives in Mainz, Germany. He graduated First Class Honors from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, England. Chris studied under the instruction of Alison Stephens, as well as composition with Andrew Poppy. In 2004, Chris won the Wolfsan Foundation Music Award and was awarded the TCM Trust Silver Medal for String Studies in 2006. Chris Acquavella performs across Europe and America both in a solo and chamber music capacity. Aside from chamber music, he concertizes as a soloist & orchestral musician with various orchestras & ensembles throughout the world such as Duo Acquavella (DE), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Detmold Landestheater (DE), Ensemble Lippe Barock (DE), GER Mandolin Orchestra (USA), Bach Collegium San Diego (USA), San Diego Opera (USA) and the San Diego Symphony (USA).

Recordings include: Letter from London, EP (2006), Duo LaRé: In Other Words (Water Village Records, 2010), and Praeludium (Water Village Records, 2011). Chris is currently a recording artist for America’s oldest and largest independent classical label, Centaur Records, Inc. Duo Acquavella with Bach Collegium San Diego; Gimo-Samling: 18th Century Sonatas and Triosonatas for Mandolin (CRC 3466) was released on Centaur Records in March 2016.

Aside from teaching and performing on the mandolin, Chris is a composer of new works for mandolin & mandolin ensembles. He studied composition at Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance, under the tuition of contemporary artist, Andrew Poppy. Up to date, Chris has ten compositions that are published by Joachim-Trekel-Musikverlag, Hamburg and Astute Music, Ltd. Some of his most popular compositions are Imardin for solo mandolin (T6457), 2014 for solo mandolin (T6629), Journey to Pazardzhik for baroque mandolino (T6568), Wishes for two mandolins (am514-28), and Yutuma for zupforchester (R9430). Chris Acquavella is co-author, along with Alison Stephens, of The Mandolin Companion (am514-25).

Chris' website: www.chrisacquavella.com

Chris performs on mandolins by Brian N. Dean of Labraid

Gary Payne, co-administrator, webmaster
A photographer by profession, Gary has been playing the mandolin for a number of years. He has studied, on and off, with Chris Acquavella for much of that time. He has also participated in a number of workshops and classes with Caterina Lichtenberg, Carlo Aonzo, Mike Marshall, Evan Marshall, and Paulo Sá--at events like The Mandolin Symposium and the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA) annual conventions. Gary's main area of interest is the classical mandolin; it's instruments, techniques and repertoire. Gary has also recently taken up the violin, with a particular interest in Baroque music. 

Gary was concert master of the New Expression Mandolin Orchestra (NEMO) in San Diego, and has performed as a trio and a duo in a number of local events and concerts. Gary also plays violin in the Kensington Baroque Orchestra--which he helped found. He also promotes and hosts (mostly mandolin) concerts in San Diego. Gary is president of the Board of Directors of the Bach Collegium San Diego, an early music ensemble dedicated to performing vibrant historically informed music. Gary is also a board member of the national organization Early Music America.

Gary's website: www.garypaynephoto.com
Bach Collegium San Diego: www.bachcollegiumsd.org
Kensington Baroque Orchestra: Facebook
Early Music America: www.earlymusicamerica.org
Most photos on website by: Gary Payne,