“The Harris Guitar Foundation’s connection to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is, I hope, a harbinger of similar endeavors to come as collectors, in cooperation with important educational institutions, make historically significant and rare examples from the great makers of the guitar available to future generations to know, study and appreciate.” –Richard Bruné , luthier and scholar
The Harris Guitar Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) public charity built around an important collection of classical and flamenco guitars, the Harris Guitar Collection, showcased at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
HGF is linked as a “supporting” organization to SFCM and to the OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts. HFG’s mission is to support SFCM’s world-famous classical guitar program and the OMNI Foundation’s award-winning series of guitar concerts by making the Collection available for a variety of uses in the classroom, on stage and in the recording studio.
The Harris Guitar Collection: At the very heart of HGF’s role at the SFCM is the use of the Harris Guitar Collection by the students who, often for the first time, are able to hear and perform on instruments made by the great historical luthiers who developed the instrument we know today–luthier’s like Torres, Santos, Ramirez, Hauser, Fleta and Bouchet, just to name a few of the iconic makers represented in the Collection. In a dramatic 18-foot glass display case, a rotating selection of guitars from the Collection’s 30-plus instruments are on display.
“The magnitude of the Collection and the insight students will gain by playing the instruments is unmatched and irreplaceable.” —Matt Bacon, SFCM student
Events and Projects: Our collaboration with SFCM also allows for a variety of events and projects that serve the Foundation’s goal of supporting the Bay Area’s large community of classical guitar lovers, while enhancing the Conservatory’s guitar program. This includes commissions of new compositions for the guitar to be played on the Collection’s instruments. (See Calendar for information on current programs.)
The Guitarrada: Leading up to the formation of HGF, seven successful Guitarrada events brought the Harris Guitar Collection to the Conservatory’s guitar community as well as the broader music-loving public. (See History for more on the Guitarrada.)
Featured Luthier: In addition to integrating the Collection into SFCM’s guitar curriculum, HGF has launched a Featured Luthier program which will give to SFCM students a deep insight into how the evolving history of the classical guitar has always been a collaboration between luthiers and players to provide an instrument that meets the musical needs of their time. (See Featured Luthier for more on the program and the current Featured Luthier.)
The Omni Foundation: In collaboration with our second supported organization, the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts, HGF has an opportunity to work with the visiting artists presented in OMNI’s award-winning concert series. HGF and OMNI are in discussions to produce smaller salon concert venues for OMNI’s world-class artists who will perform on historic guitars in an intimate setting where the qualities of these guitars shine the most.
Conservation Criteria: Finally, HGF, working closely with SFCM’s guitar faculty, will apply strict conservation criteria to the display and use of the Collection. By keeping the Collection’s instruments secure and in top playable condition, their important role as musical tools will never take ‘second fiddle’ to their role as cultural artifacts.