AMGuSS (The American Mandolin & Guitar Summer School) was founded in 1986 to promote the art of ensemble playing for the guitar and mandolin family. The idea was to combine classical study with an exploration of folk and world music in workshops, chamber ensembles and an all-school plucked-string orchestra. From Baroque ornamentation to Brazilian choro, AMGuSS was dedicated to broadening the musical horizons of its students.
One of the first American summer schools for mandolin & guitar, AMGuSS ran annually the last week in June every summer until 2009. In addition, frequent winter AMGuSS week-ends were held to continue the work of AMGO (The American Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra). All instruction was hands-on, with instructors working to develop students’ musicianship and artistic interpretation.
In 2010 the AMGuSS directors, Marilynn Mair & Ralph Costanza, unhooked the summer school from its annual week, and reestablished the concept as “The American Mandolin & Guitar Suitcase Seminars,” a peripatetic music seminar.