About AGS

About AGS

Our Mission

The Alternative Guitar Summit, founded in 2010 by guitarist/ composer Joel Harrison, is a yearly summit of daring, inventive players who emphasize new and unusual approaches to the guitar. The music we present celebrates the guitar’s enormous range, beyond style or genre. The AGS seeks to commission new work, whether improvised, notated, or both, and is devoted to promoting new music through education and performance in the New York City metropolitan area and beyond. We commission new work and provide opportunities for lesser known, non-commercial musicians. Lifeforce Arts Inc., a new 501 c3 started by Joel Harrison in 2013, is the fiscal sponsor for the Alternative Guitar Summit.

Specific goals for the future are:

  1. Build solo repertoire, whether nylon string, steel string, or electric
  2. Create unique pairings of players whose primary focus is improvisation, hopefully leading to long-term collaboration.
  3. Commission work for multiple electric and/ or acoustic guitars
  4. Commission work for individual guitarists and work that combines guitar and non-western string instruments.
  5. Advocate for guitarists through our record label, AGS Recordings
  6. Run a NYC-based performance series
  7. Run a yearly guitar camp

What Makes our teaching and philosophy different

This is the core of our philosophy: we teach music not just guitar, artistry at its highest level. By putting you face to face with some of the greatest players on earth we challenge you to grow exponentially, to seek your own voice.

We want to improve your time, harmony, groove, composing, band leading skills no matter what your background is. Although many of our teachers focus on jazz we are not a jazz organization. By celebrating the great universe of what the guitar is capable of  we offer you the tools to be a better improvisor and and composer in what ever style you choose.

Much of this work involves fundamental practice tools. But undergirding the fundamentals is a philosophy. Music is sacred. It speaks the passions, pains, and joys of our lives. We want you to discover and express the deepest part of yourself. To do so, ideally, involves being open to ideas and approaches from many viewpoints, cultures, and practices. This openness defines the concerts we present and the teachers we bring to you.