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Eric Hamilton

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Eric Hamilton - Biography

Eric Hamilton, classical guitar

     Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Eric Hamilton received his first guitar at age three and began formal study at age nine.  At fifteen, he made his first public performance with the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra playing the lute part in Haydn's Kinder Sinfonie,.  Since then, he has been thrilling audiences with his guitar playing all across North America.

     In 1974, Eric studied guitar privately with Paul Henry, a resident professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and, later, the Chicago Institute of Music. In the following year, Eric moved to California to continue studying, performing, and teaching guitar in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. 

      From 1979 to 1983, Eric was on the road, performing with the international touring group Headliner, based in New York City. A Vegas-style show band, Headliner toured the US, Canada, and the Caribbean with over 800 shows in more than sixty major cities.  Following that tour, Eric moved back to San Francisco and continued performing and teaching throughout the Bay Area until 1987, when he moved to the Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan area. Eric lived there until 2004, continuing to perform as a soloist and a member of various ensembles. He raised a family and became a master stringed instrument repair technician. 

      In 1994, Eric recorded an album with the Yugoslavian-born hammered dulcimer player Ranka Mulkern, entitled Transcriptions for Dulcimer and Guitar. That album featured music by J. S. Bach, O'Carolon, and Clementi. In 1997, he teamed up with Mimosa, a Toledo, Ohio–based quartet consisting of marimba, harp, guitar, and string bass, and recorded a self-titled CD that features impressionistic pieces from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Ravel's Mother Goose Suite.

     Eric released his first major solo recording, Music from the Great Hall in 1999.  Accompanied by musicians from the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas and armed with classical, twelve-string, and synthesized guitars, he produced and arranged an album blending works by Bach, Praetorius, Ibert, Schubert, Llobet, and Mason Williams.  The CD features a myriad of musical textures, from solo classical guitar to highly developed guitar synthesizers to the grandness of a sixty-piece orchestra. 

As a result of this recording, Eric ha, in recent years, collaborated with Mason Williams. In 2001, he was invited to produce and record a major CD of Mason's music entitled Eric Hamilton plays Mason Williams: Music for Guitar and Orchestra, which features the famous work, Classical Gas.  Eric also performed a classical guitar duet with Mason on his 2004 Grammy-nominated EP, Music for the Epicurean Harkener, and in 2002, recorded seven tracks for the CD accompanying the second edition of the book, Classical Gas: The Music of Mason Williams (Warner Bros. Music, 2002).

     Returning to San Francisco in 2004, Eric now performs regularly as a soloist and in various ensembles throughout the Bay Area. Some credits include: San Francisco City Hall, Trinity Episcopal Church, the Victorian Englander House, Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers, Café Trieste in Sausalito, Grace Cathedral, The Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, among many others. 

     He was concert manager for the San Francisco Lyric Chorus from 2005-2007 and was commissioned to transcribe several major performance works, most recently the United Nations' Anthem, which was performed for the United Nation's sixtieth anniversary celebration at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and webcast worldwide. 

    Eric also teaches the guitar privately, arranges and transcribes music, and from 2005-2007 served as a faculty member, arranger, principal accompanist, and archivist for Young Performers International. In 2004, Eric was nominated “Guitarist of the Year” by fans at and, where his music is featured globally.

     A specialist in orchestral string and guitar repair and restoration, Eric is certified as an A-level technician by most every guitar major manufacturer, both in the US and abroad. 

     Eric has also been a crew-member of the world renowned pipe organ restoration firm of Edward Millington Stout, III, servicing and restoring historic instruments throughout the bay area, including major projects at the California Theater in San Jose, the California Legion of Honor and Trinity Episcopal Church.

      Early in 2009, he was chosen by, a west-coast teacher/student online network as one of the Bay Area's top 10 music instructors. He continues to teach music to students at three private schools in San Francisco, a performing arts public charter school in Oakland CA and accepts private students in the city of San Francisco.

     Eric is primarily a self-taught musician and not without some conviction of past life experience. His grandfather, a former member of the famous early 20th century society band The California Ramblers, recognized his abilities at a very early age and gently guided him into the deep waters of music. He has since studied with maestro Christopher Parkening at Montana Sate University in 2000, friend and collaborator Mason Williams (the composer of “Classical Gas”) from 1099 – 2004, and Roland Dyens, professor at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris in 2006. He currently studies performance technique and music interpretation with life-long friend and colleague, Robert Gurney, organist at Grace Cathedral and conductor of the San Francisco Lyric Chorus. Eric Hamilton may be contacted regarding performance, instruction or repair services directly at .


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