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Location: Chicago
Start Term: Fall, Spring
Program Type: Major, Minor, Diploma

Chamber music and ensemble studies are integrated into the curriculum, giving students regular opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty of other instruments.

Denis Azabagic
,  Head of Classical Guitar Program Artist Faculty of Classical Guitar

What Differentiates Us



For students who are looking for an intensive music conservatory experience paired with the rich musical and cultural experiences provided by living in a major city, CCPA will prepare help prepare students for a successful career in music. CCPA's emphasis on entrepreneurial activities also prepares students for multiple career opportunities after graduation.



Students learn from Denis Azabagic, who has won twenty-four prizes in international competitions. Mel Bay has published a book based on his experience and insights on the subject of competitions. Active performer Mr. Azabagic is present in the performing circuits of guitar and chamber music societies and has a great deal of experience as a recording artist of several prestigious record labels including Naxos, Cedille Records, Bridge Records, Opera Tres.

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Guitar Seminar is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurial education for young guitarists. Various distinguished figures from the classical guitar scene (artists, managers, presenters, teachers, fundraisers, leaders of important guitar organizations) share their professional experiences and answer questions. Recent guests include Tony Morris, Executive Director of Classical Guitar Alive; Rene Izquierdo, concert artist and professor at the UWM Peck School of the Arts; Martha Masters, president of Guitar Foundation of America, concert artist, professor at Loyola Marymount University and California State University in Fullerton; and Dr. Matthew G. Hinsley, Executive Director Austin Classical Guitar Society.


Grads of CCPA's Classical Guitar Program


There is no better place to study music than in the city of Chicago. One of the world's greatest cultural centers, the resources available to young musicians both within our university and outside our walls are immense. I invite you to visit our campus and see what CCPA has to offer you.

​Denis Azabagic
Head of Classical Guitar Program Artist Faculty, Classical Guitar,
Aditya Gandhi

Unlike many music conservatories, CCPA is small and centrally located. As a student I was instantly thrown into city life and culture, which is a huge challenge for classical musicians who are comfortable in their isolated worlds. CCPA was a very socially conscious place, forcing me to dive into the tough questions like how does my music fit into the world? and how can I make my music more accessible and impactful? My time at CCPA went beyond just learning the craft of music making; rather it was an initiation into life as a professional and responsible musician.

Denis is an extremely pragmatic teacher. My previous teachers were full of advice and lectures, lacking in implementation of the ideas which was left up to me. On the other hand, I left most of my sessions with Denis with completely changed hands than when I entered, because Denis loves to ‘show’ how much better you can do, and once you discover a new level within, you are permanently transformed. Denis has a unique ability to emphasize and tap into a student's potential - to locate the particular obstacles that are stopping you from making great music. This approach has hugely influenced my own teaching, where rather than ‘advice’, I aim to push my students’ ability and bring out the best in them. The impact of hearing yourself play better than what you thought you could is truly transformative.

Aditya Gandhi
Classical Guitarist, Founder at <a href="" target="_blank">Guitar Society Ahmedabad</a>
Jordan Mandela

The two years that I spent at CCPA were among the most meaningful in my life as a developing musician. The faculty — especially my private instructor, Denis Azabagic — took an active interest in guiding me in my growth and learning. I was able to have coaching with other outstanding instructors as well, such as Baroque interpretation lessons with David Schrader and ensemble coaching sessions with Eugenia Moliner. I had opportunities to teach and to observe others teaching, which in turn helped me better understand my own playing. I learned from instructors and other students who showed me new perspectives and helped me deepen my love for and connection to music. Denis and the rest of the CCPA faculty made sure that by the time I left, I was a completely different musician than I had been when I arrived.


Listen to Jordan Mandela

Jordan Mandela
Program Coordinator, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Admission Info

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Classical Guitar Audition Requirements

All repertoire is to be performed from memory.

Repertoire requirements are just a guide as to what kind of repertoire and level of difficulty is to be presented by the applicants. Applicants can play any pieces that will best show their technical and musical abilities, keeping in mind that the repertoire must include three of the following stylistic periods: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary.

  • Freshman/Sophomore (BM): A study by F. Sor : (Nos.1-10,Segovia ed.); two other pieces of comparable difficulty but contrasting style. Sight reading may be included.
  • Music Education (BM): In addition to the instrumental audition, guitar applicants must present a short vocal audition for the Chair of the Music Education department.
  • Junior/Senior (BM): A study by F. Sor (Nos. 12-20, Segovia ed.); two other pieces of comparable difficulty but contrasting style. Sight reading may be included.
  • Graduate (MM): Two contrasting movements from a Suite by J.S. Bach; an advanced work by Sor or Giuliani; an advanced work by a 20th-century composer. Sight reading may be included.
  • Performance Diploma: Three contrasting movements from one of the Lute Suites by J.S. Bach; a movement from a concerto; an advanced work by Sor or Giuliani; an advanced work by a 20th-century composer. Sight reading may be included.

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