Guitarists return for CSU alumni concert

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 7, 2012 

  • What: The First Columbus State University Guitar Alumni concert, featuring Chad Ibison, Robert Sharpe, Mark Edwards and Arash Noori, all students of guitar professor Andrew Zohn

    When: 4 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Legacy Hall, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway

    Tickets: Free

    Information: 706-649-7225

For the first time in the 14 years Andrew Zohn has taught guitar in the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music, he's presenting an alumni concert.

"From its humble beginning (with four students), we have turned into a program" recognized nationally and internationally.

And he's able to showcase four of his outstanding students, Chad Ibison, Mark Edwards, Robert Sharpe and Arash Noori. All have gone on to graduate work and are competing nationally and internationally.

His CSU guitar students features 14, which he calls his "target number." He wouldn't be able to give the students the attention they need if he had any more students, he said.

With two Guitar Foundation of America International Convention & Competitions at CSU, and his annual Guitar Symposium, CSU has the attention of national and international guitarists, he said.

"I am looking forward to setting up the next alumni concert," Zohn said. "I have some great candidates."

CHAD IBISON

Chad Ibison, 38, is originally from Houston, now living in Austin, where he is the graduate assistant to Adam Holzman at the University of Texas. He said he was just 3 when he first picked up a guitar, but he was 32 before deciding the study the art.

Ibison graduated from Columbus State University in 2010 and received his master's degree from the University of Texas this year. He's now starting on his doctoral work there.

He's single and has three cats named Bella, who is the mother of Lorenzo and Matteo, who are named after two Italian guitarists who have often performed in Columbus.

Ibison says he loves "spending time in nature, painting and, of course, playing guitar."

What made you pick CSU and why you made the decision to come to Columbus?

It has a great program and a great teacher.

What was it like studying with Andrew?

It was very fruitful. He fixed my technique.

What kind of lasting impression did he make on you?

Dr. Zohn taught me how to be professional in all that I do with the guitar and school.

Did he help with your career path? Going to graduate school?

Yes, he was instrumental in getting me into UT.

Is there a memory of something that happened while you were a student here? Something funny, sad or just memorable?

When I won the CSU Guitar Symposium in 2009, it was the first serious guitar competition I did well in. It let me know the work we were doing was making a real impact. I've gone on to win five more international competitions since then. The latest being the 2012 Boston Guitarfest this past June.

What do you miss the most about Columbus?

I miss the historic district, where we all lived.

Would you, do you, recommend CSU to young guitarists who are serious about studying?

Yes, I feel it is the best decision for someone started out. The program Dr. Zohn has created is first rate. His lessons are plentiful and practical. In addition, students also get the opportunity to listen and learn from the best guitarists from all over the world through the large amount of visiting artists he brings. Also important, the scholarships available are more than adequate.

ROBERT SHARPE

Robert Sharpe, 26, is originally from Albany, Ga., and now lives in Phenix City. He's an instructor in the Schwob School of Music's College Preparatory Division. He graduated from CSU in 2008, got his master's degree from Yale University in 2010 and he's working on his doctorate from the Cleveland Institute.

He's married to Diana Sharpe.

Sharpe first started playing guitar when he was 11, and decided to "go to college for music during my freshman year in high school."

In his spare time, he plays tennis.

What made you pick CSU and why you made the decision to come to Columbus?

I picked CSU because of Dr. Zohn. The facilities, scholarships and proximity to home were an added bonus.

What did you miss most about Columbus?

I missed everything. The Smokey Pig and Pepper's BBQ restaurants. My wife and I decided to move back!

Would you, do you, recommend CSU to young guitarists who are serious about studying?

I have and will recommend CSU to every guitarist who asks my opinion. For undergraduates, I think it is the premier guitar department in the nation.

ARASH NOORI

Arash Noori, 26, is from Toronto, Canada and now lives in New Haven, Conn. He's teaching in New Haven and is getting ready for his "Great Lakes" tour next spring.

Noori, who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 2008 and his artist diploma from CSU in 2010. He received his master's degree from Yale University last May.

He says he's still living the life as a "tragically immature bachelor," who is a film and literature buff.

Noori first picked up a guitar when he was 11.

What made you pick CSU and why did you make the decision to come to Columbus?

Dr. Zohn! He's the man!!!

What was it like studying with Andrew?

Incredible!

What do you miss the most about Columbus?

Barbecue. Minnie's. Hush puppies ... all sorts of great Southern eats that I can't get up here in the Yankee states.

Besides the Schwob School of Music, what is Columbus' best-kept secret?

Pepper's Barbecue.

Would you, do you, recommend CSU to young guitarists who are serious about studying?

I would without a hesitation call it one the finest guitar studios in the country.

MARK EDWARDS

Mark Edwards, 28, is originally from Montgomery and is now living in Baltimore.

After receiving his master's degree in 2009 from Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, he received his graduate performance diploma in 2011. He's a full-time musician who works at Classical Guitar Ceremonies, Artists International and Face to Face Guitars.

He's still single and has two cats, Felix and Sophie. He loves soccer, playing Ultimate Frisbee, trail biking and running.

Edwards was 12 when he first picked up a guitar and six months later, decided that he would study guitar in college.

What made you pick CSU and why you made the decision to come to Columbus?

I came to CSU to study with Dr. Zohn, I had known him as a teacher and performer since I was 15, and was always extremely impressed with his knowledge and performances.

What was it like studying with Andrew?

It was an intense program, one that prepared me for the realities of a music career. Never being given the option to fail was a big influence on me.

What kind of lasting impression did he make on you?

How to live happily as a performing musician, and that if I worked at being the best, good things would happen.

Did he help with your career path? Going to graduate school? Or setting off on your own to perform, if that's what you decided to do?

Yes, he helped me in both picking a school, and has continued to give me guidance and opinion on how my career is going.

Is there a memory of something that happened while you were a student here? Something funny, sad or just memorable?

I remember when RiverCenter for the Performing Arts was made (when I was still in high school). It was great to move from the main campus to a real performing arts venue for the yearly symposium.

What do you miss the most about Columbus?

The community involvement in the arts.

Besides the Schwob School of Music, what is Columbus' best-kept secret?

Minnie's Restaurant.

Would you, do you recommend CSU to young guitarists who are serious about studying?

Yes, absolutely, even to students at Peabody looking into masters programs. The information and drive that Dr. Zohn has is truly invaluable!

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