Chris Acquavella is a classical mandolinist & educator from San Diego, California, who currently lives in Detmold, Germany. He graduated First Class Honors from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, England. Chris studied mandolin performance with Alison Stephens and composition with Andrew Poppy. He performs classical repertoire on both modern and baroque mandolins, using period techniques.
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Chris Acquavella Bio
Chris Acquavella is a classical mandolinist & educator from San Diego, California, who currently lives in Detmold, Germany. He graduated First Class Honors from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, England. Chris studied mandolin performance with Alison Stephens and composition with Andrew Poppy. He performs classical repertoire on both modern and baroque mandolins, using period techniques. 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), Detmold Landestheater (DE), Ensemble Lippe Barock (DE), GER Mandolin Orchestra (USA), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Bach Collegium San Diego (USA), San Diego Opera (USA) and the San Diego Symphony (USA).
Education about the mandolin and its history is a big part of Chris’ artistic goals in workshops, recordings and performance. As the Artistic Director/Conductor of the New Expressions Mandolin Orchestra, Chris aimed to continue the traditions & education of original classical mandolin orchestral repertoire. NEMO unfortunately stopped performing in December 2013, when Chris moved from San Diego, CA to Detmold, Germany. As founder & director of the annual San Diego Classical Mandolin Camp, Chris Acquavella created a program that explores the depth and breadth of the classical mandolin, from baroque to modern times, through 4 days of intensive classes, rehearsals, and concerts. SDCMC is entering it’s 5th Anniversary and continues to grow from strength to strength.
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 composed over 20 pieces ranging from solo mandolin to large zupforchester works. He currently has nine compositions that are now published by Joachim-Trekel-Musikverlag, Hamburg and Astute Music, Ltd. Some of his most popular compositions are Imardin for solo mandolin, Yutuma for zupforchester, Wishes for two mandolins and 2014 for solo mandolin.
Chris Acquavella has performed at major venues across Europe and America both in a solo and chamber music capacity. Since the early 1990s, Chris has performed as a guitarist/mandolinist and also with many rock bands, playing both electric guitar and bass. He released three albums for Why? Distro, Facedown Records, and Tooth and Nail/Solid State Records. Chris, along with the band Born Blind, toured across the United States; headlining festivals such as Cornerstone Festival and Solid State Festival. From 2000 – 2002, he played mandolin for Celtic/Bluegrass group – Clarsah, who had a residency at Dublin Square Irish Pub in San Diego’s famed Gaslamp Quarter District. Until October 2006, Chris performed and recorded with contemporary music ensemble, Izbuha including performances at Blackheath Halls and the Sunrise Music Festival in Glastonbury, England. In 2007, Chris was the Artist in Residence for the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra, directed by Peter Pupping. He was the composer and founder of contemporary folk ensemble, Dzveli He, which performed until 2009. Chris Acquavella has performed & taught workshops at the San Diego Classical Mandolin Camp, Classical Mandolin Society of America Conventions, the 8th & 10th Annual Mandolin Symposiums, the yearly master course of the Austrian federation VAMÖ and the Stage International de Mandoline et Guitare in France. He is currently a mandolin instructor online via Skype, as well as various locations when on tour.
Chris performs on mandolins by Brian N. Dean of Labraid and Walt Kuhlman of Gypsy Mandolins.