Mak Grgic, proclaimed “imaginative, gifted and expressive” by the New York Times and a “guitarist to keep an eye on” by the Washington Post, is an innovative player who programs music as far-reaching as works from the avant-garde to the great classics of guitar repertoire and early works. This program takes listeners down memory lane with some of the greatest cinematic compositions from the past few decades. By offering originals and adaptations of music featured in famous films such as The Deerhunter, Raging Bull, The Godfather, Chariots of Fire, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and many others, the soothing sounds of guitar will evoke your fondest memories.
2023 GRAMMY Nominee: Best Classical Instrumental Solo
for “A Night In Upper Town — The Music Of Zoran Krajacic”
Touted as a “gifted young guitarist” by the New York Times, and “a guitarist to keep an eye on” by the Washington Post, GRAMMY- nominated artist Mak Grgić is a star on the worldwide stage. From the ethnic music of his native Balkans to extreme avant-garde and microtonal music, his roles as soloist, collaborator, and GRAMMY-nominated recording artist are fueled by curiosity, imagination, and boundless energy.
In 2018 Mak was invited by legendary singer-songwriter k.d. lang to perform as the opening act for the North American leg of her Ingénue Redux Tour. An avid new music proponent, Mak has commissioned a multitude of new works for solo guitar and guitar with ensemble.
As both soloist and collaborator, Mak averages eighty-five performances a year—nearly two bookings per week. He is a founding member and active performer in two duos—the Flamenco-style Duo Deloro with Adam Del Monte, and the new music-focused FretX Duo with Daniel Lippel, guitarist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
In 2009 at the age of 22, Mak made his professional debut in Russia, performing the Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Lande. He now makes two regular tours to Asia each season and performs in Europe every other month. Recent engagements include performances and residencies at the Musikverein and the Konzerhaus in Vienna; the Konzerthuset in Stockholm several venues in Portugal; Teatro Cervantes de Bejar in Castilla-Leon/Spain; the Sarajevo Music Academy; several venues in Slovenia; the Paris Guitar Foundation; Zurich University of the Arts; Taipei National Theater; Shanghai Grand Theater; and the Hong Kong International Guitar Festival.
In North America, he has performed at Austin Classical Guitar; Beyond Microtonal Music Festival in Pittsburgh; the Dallas Opera for performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse; Dumbarton Concerts in Washington, D.C.; The Kennedy Center; Mainly Mozart in San Diego; the National Gallery of Art; the NAMM Show in California; Strathmore Hall in Maryland; the New York Classical Guitar Society; the Pacific Symphony; Triangle Guitar Society in North Carolina; Walt Disney Hall; and numerous other venues and guitar societies across the globe.
Mak’s albums capture a probing and continuous exploration of the world of guitar and all its possibilities. His latest recordings, Balkanisms, plus MAKrotonal and the GRAMMY-nominated Mak|Bach, explore a vast repertoire spanning ethnic music, microtonal, new music and early music on re-fretted instruments, such as a “zig-zag fretted Bach prototype guitar” that allows him to create a “well- tempered guitar” for Mak|Bach.
Mak is a member of the leadership teams of several organizations including the European Guitar Festival Collaborative (EuroStrings), the Zagreb Guitar Festival, and the Connecticut Guitar Festival. He serves as an adjunct faculty member at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, and director of Elemental Guitar in Santa Monica, a program designed especially for young people. This year, he founded “Notey’s World” and the company Notey Inc, to develop a unique game for tablets and smart phones intended to popularize music learning and make it more fun.
Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1987, Mak studied guitar in Zagreb with the revered Ante Cagalj at the Elly Basic Music Academy. By the age of 14, he was balancing his world champion status in karate with his love for the guitar. Throughout his high school years, he concertized in Ljubljana and Zagreb, splitting his weeks between the two cities, as well as competing in professional martial arts contests across Europe and Asia. Following an injury to his left thumb, he made the decision to focus solely on a career in music. Pursuing advanced studies in the U.S., Mak was one of the first students to apply for USC Thornton’s new Arts Leadership graduate program. In 2017, he began the Artist Diploma program at USC, the first guitarist in the university’s history to be admitted to this elite program.
Mak plays and endorses guitars made by diverse craftsmen, including German luthier Antonius Müller, the Chinese master Hanson Yao, Bosnian Slavko Mrdalj, Slovenian Samo Sali, Polish Rafal Turkowiak, a 1966 José Ramírez, as well as other re-fretted and remodeled guitars. He is also proud to be involved with the Bosana Foundation, an organization that raises money for Bosnian youth. He also regularly awards education-furthering scholarships to select students across South America.
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