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Guitars Concert Finale Salute to Director

Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013

USU's Guitar Program director Michael Christiansen

USU music professor Mike Christiansen, head of USU's guitar program, will retire this year. The spring Guitar Ensembles concert is a salute to his leadership through the years.

guitar illustration with multiple hands

The Guitar Ensembles concert is Monday, April 22, 7:30 p.m., Taggart Student Center Auditorium.

Utah State University’s Department of Music presents the annual Guitar Ensembles concert Monday, April 22, in the Taggart Student Center Auditorium on USU’s Logan campus.

This is the last concert with director of guitar studies Mike Christiansen conducting, as he is retiring this year.

“Mike Christiansen leaves a legacy of not only great players that have gone on to every corner of the world, but also a legacy of great teachers,” said Corey Christiansen, Mike’s son and temporary instructor in the Caine College of the Arts. “Without him, there never would have been a guitar program at Utah State University.”

Mike Christiansen received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from USU and became a faculty member in 1977. At that time, USU did not have a guitar program, but through the efforts of Mike, the program was created. He developed and taught 16 courses on guitar, including a guitar pedagogy series.

“Mike made me realize that being a music educator is not only possible, but you can make a living of it and have fun,” said Kellen Tew, a senior majoring in guitar education. “I am absolutely sad to see him go; he is a fantastic teacher who brings out the best in your playing.”

Christiansen has authored and co-authored several books and videos of instructional guitar, including My First Guitar Book, Guitar Basics Vol. 1 & 2 and more. He has received many awards throughout his time at USU, most recently winning the 2012 Carnegie Professor of the Year for the state of Utah.

“Mike is a good guy who really cares about you learning the guitar and progressing rather than focusing on a paycheck,” said Gavin Nichols, a sophomore majoring in guitar performance. “He’s the best music professor here.”

The Guitar Ensembles concert on April 22 will feature both acoustic and electric guitar ensembles, with Mike Christiansen directing the acoustic ensembles and Corey Christiansen directing the electric ensembles. The students will perform multiple selections, including the music of Pink Floyd, the Eagles and Led Zeppelin.

Tickets for Guitar Ensembles are $10 adults, $8 seniors and youth, $5 USU faculty and staff and free for USU students with ID. For more information or to get tickets, visit the Caine College of the Arts Box Office in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus, call 435-797-8022 or see the college’s Production Services website.

Related links:

Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203,

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

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