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Related Categories: San Francisco | Arts + Action
John Harris donates fabulous guitar collection to San Francisco Conservatory of Music
by Lynda Carson (newzland2 [at] gmail.com)
Wednesday Nov 18th, 2020 8:25 PM
The Harris Guitar Collection:
harris-guitars.jpg
John Harris donates fabulous guitar collection to San Francisco Conservatory of Music

By Lynda Carson - November 18, 2020

Yesterday, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, announced that L. John Harris of Berkeley, and the Harris Guitar Foundation donated the fabulous guitar collection of L. John Harris to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

According to a press release, the fabulous unique guitar collection of 40 vintage classical and flamenco guitars from the 19th and 20th centuries, will be available for the use of the students and faculty of its guitar program.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is a 501(c)(3) charity organization. According to its mission statement, “THE SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC(SFCM)EDUCATES EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED MUSICIANS FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO BECOME ARTISTS OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER,AS WELL AS MUSICAL CITIZENS PREPARED FOR THE CHALLENGES OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.”

According to their last 990 tax filing for 2017, SFCM had gross receipts of $95,218,552, with net assets or fund balances of $154,467,147. The president of SFCM is David H. Stull, and in 2017 his reportable compensation was $525,360, plus $200,756 in other compensation. Making $726,115 in total compensation for that year.

According to the SFCM press release, “The Harris Collection will provide an unparalleled resource for exploring repertoire on exceptional period instruments while inspiring the next generation of artists to expand both their understanding and creation of new works for these guitars,” said SFCM President David Stull. By coupling this opportunity with the appointment of our brilliant friend Sergio Assad, as well as Meng Su, the foremost guitarist of her generation, we will provide our students with an unmatched experience unique to SFCM. We are deeply grateful to John for his tremendous generosity and belief in our mission.”

“The gift of this collection to SFCM is the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since 2004 when SFCM’s first Guitarrada event showcased several guitars from the collection on stage with Pepe Romero, Richard Bruné, Marc Teicholz, and David Tanenbaum,” said L. John Harris, a Berkeley-based writer and artist, and the Foundation’s founder. “After creating the Harris Guitar Foundation in 2012 and subsequently leading regular sessions with SFCM students using instruments from the collection, I’m so pleased to be able to give these fine instruments a home at SFCM and look forward to helping shape their new life there. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my grandfather, Sol Harris, who launched an interior textile company, S. Harris Company, in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire. It was his success that made it possible for me to invest in my lifelong passion for the classical guitar, so I dedicate this gift to him. I’m sure he would approve of the Harris Collection’s permanent home at SFCM.”

Additionally, according to the release, “Harris’ collection focuses on the pivotal century—from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s—of modern guitar making, and includes work from the major luthiers from the period when the classical (or Spanish) guitar with six strings emerged in southern Spain, through its adoption in Europe, Great Britain, South America and Asia by the mid-20th Century. Harris will serve as the first-ever curator of the Harris Guitar Collection at SFCM, where portions of the collection have been housed on rotating display since 2012.”

According to the San Francisco Classical Voice, “The collection was assembled by L. John Harris, a real estate investor, author, artist, and filmmaker who has been an amateur guitarist since his youth. He began collecting after co-producing a PBS documentary about the Romero guitar dynasty and began inviting Tanenbaum and Teicholz over to his Berkeley home for guitarrada salons, based on those he’d experienced with the Romeros. In 2004, the gatherings were transferred, with Tanenbaum’s encouragement, to the Conservatory, and several years later the non-profit Harris Guitar Foundation was formed to provide support to both the Conservatory’s guitar program and the Omni Foundation, the principal Bay Area presenter of guitar concerts.”

The Harris Guitar Foundation, located in Berkeley, is a 501(c)(3) charity organization. According to their last 990 tax filing for 2018, it lists L. John Harris as the CEO/president of the foundation, and the foundation had gross receipts of $216,765, with net assets or fund balances listed as $461,800.

Among the guitars being donated by L. John Harris and the Harris Guitar Foundation, for those who are interested I posted the book value below on some of the fabulous guitars from the 40 guitars included in the guitar collection donation to SFCM, along with the names of some of the luthiers who built the guitars.

Guitar- Antonio de Torres SE112 $200,000

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_de_Torres_Jurado

Guitar- Archangel Fernandez $25,000

Guitar- de la Chica $12,000

Guitar- Diedier $5,000

Guitar- Esteso $45,000

Guitar- Hermann Hauser II $55,000

Guitar- Hernandez Y Auado $50,000

Guitar- Kohno $5,000

Guitar- Perfumo $8,000

Guitar- Ramirez 1A $15,000

Guitar- Rodriguez/Contreras $25,000

Guitar- Romero Jr $16,000

For those of you who may be interested in listening to the sound of a beautiful handmade classical guitar, click here to listen to a beautiful classical guitar made by Oakland’s Master Luthier, Ervin Somogyi.

See a few other articles by Lynda Carson below...

Lynda Carson may be reached at newzland2 [at] gmail.com

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Oakland’s famed Master Luthier, Ervin Somogyi’s 500th guitar on display

By Lynda Carson — Monday May 18th, 2020

Click below…

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/05/18/18833125.php

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Postponement of Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase concerns local luthiers

By Lynda Carson — Tuesday Jul 28th, 2020

Click below…

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/07/28/18835476.php

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by Lynda Carson
Thursday Nov 19th, 2020 1:36 PM
Link to images of guitars in the Harris guitar collection...

Click on the link below for images of 35 out of 40 vintage guitars from the Harris guitar collection. Then click on the image of the guitar of your choice to see more...

These are some extraordinary guitars from the masters.

-Lynda Carson

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The Harris Guitar Collection

Click below...

https://harrisguitarfoundation.org/category/collection/

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