The Village Glen - 2nd. Floor    162 Mill Street Williamsville, New York 14221

       Since winning his first competition at the age of thirteen, Pakistani-born guitar virtuoso and composer Mir Ali has been described by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as “an exceptional nylon string guitarist," as "mesmerizing and hypnotic" by National Public Radio, and as “innovative and eclectic” by Soundboard magazine

        Ali has written music for movies, theater, radio, television commercials, and most recently for the documentary "Roots and Branches," which won the “Award of Excellence” from the prestigious Film dvisory Board in Hollywood. His recent tours include performances and master classes in India, Romania, Spain, Italy, and Canada. Mir is active as an adjudicator and clinician at prestigious guitar competitions and festivals in the United States and abroad. His publications are available through Mel Bay and Clear Note Publications.

        Mir serves as Director of the Amherst School of Guitar and has been President of the Buffalo Guitar Society and Artistic Director of the Rantucci International Guitar Festival and Competition for the past 15 years. He spends his time equally between Buffalo, NY and Pittsburgh, PA. Mir is represented by Performing Arts Management by special arrangement with Leona Zachary.




“Mir Ali is a compelling musician  and an extraordinary guitarist.”

JoAnn Falletta,

Conductor / Artistic Director

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

        Leonard Ranallo, a native of Buffalo, NY, is a multi-instrumentalist whose primary instrument is the guitar (classical and steel string). Ranallo began his music studies at age eight on the french horn, and gained an affinity for the guitar at age ten. From there he sought to become as musically diverse as possible, delving into rock, folk, blues, and eventually, jazz and classical.

        Ranallo began classical guitar study at the Amherst School of Guitar with Mir Ali in 2011. The very next year, at the age of seventeen, Ranallo won the Amherst Symphony Scholarship and took First Prize at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Young Musicians Scholarship, making his professional orchestral debut performing Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012, Ranallo was awarded the Eric Laufer Music Scholarship to attend Oberlin Conservatory where he became the recipient of the Donald Havas Memorial Scholarship in 2013. In addition to his guitar studies with Mir Ali, James Piorkowski and jazz guitarist Robert Ferazza, Ranallo has also participated in master classes with guitarists Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Michael Newman, Marc Teicholz and Raphaella Smits.

        As a composer, Ranallo has been awarded high honors from the Canisius College Composition Competition for his piece for horn quartet titled "Jason and the Argonauts" in 2011, and for his string orchestral work "Meteora" in 2012. In addition, "Meteora" was performed and recorded by the Sweet Home Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

        In the summer 2012, Ranallo completed the Every Child Can course and received his Book 1 certification for Suzuki Guitar at the Greater Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute, PA, with teacher-trainer Andrea Cannon. He is currently on the summer faculty of the Amherst School of Guitar teaching both Suzuki and traditional lessons in individual and group settings. Ranallo is currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Music in Guitar Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory studying under Stephen Aron.

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Maria Jacobi is a voice and piano pedagogue, having spent the last 8 years performing and teaching in New York City and Westchester County. Career highlights include singing with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valerij Gergiev, performing with New York Lyric Opera and with the modern NYC opera company “Rhymes with Opera.” Maria was also the music director for several workshop productions with Disney Theatrics, to create junior versions of their Broadway musicals. Maria holds a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from Ithaca College. Post-graduate studies include intense pedagogical study with Internationally-renowned vocal teacher Neil Semer. Several of Maria’s students have gone on to National Tours of Broadway Musicals.

Michael has concertized in Spain, France, and Germany as a member of the Fredonia Guitar Quartet to great critical acclaim: “a remarkable guitar quartet” – L’Alsace (Colmar, France). Michael’s work with the Quartet culminated in a premier of a brand new composition “Filmaginaires,” dedicated to the Quartet by the world renowned French guitarist and composer Roland Dyens. In addition to establishing himself as a distinguished classical guitarist in the Western New York area, Michael is also adept in electric guitar. He has performed in many venues in Western New York with his former band, Dr. Rex’s Chromatobeam. He continues to perform with various other bands and ensembles in styles ranging from Jazz, Blues, Metal, Rock, Pop and traditional Classical music. 

Michael currently serves on the faculty of the Amherst School of Guitar, his responsibilities include teaching Classical guitar - Suzuki and traditional methods, electric guitar, music composition and music technology. 

Cindy Loehle is a classical soprano and voice teacher from Buffalo, NY. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from SUNY at Buffalo, Cindy spent a number of her formidable years in Europe concertizing as an opera singer. She specializes in classical, Broadway, popular and several other styles of singing and brings a lot of positive energy and experience to ASG.

Master percussion virtuoso Gary Rutkowski specializes in a host of percussion instruments including xylophone, vibraphone, all other mallet instruments, hand drums from all over the world, drum set, gongs, bells, Latin percussion as well as Eastern instruments. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in percussion performance from SUNY at Buffalo where he studied under Professor Jan Williams, a world renown teacher and performer. Gary brings to ASG over 30 years of outstanding experiences as a performer, teacher, clinician and mentor to many students. He also serves on the faculties of Villa Maria College and the Community Music School.

Jim Wynne is recognized as one of the top bass players in Western New York as he has played with a series of bands including Gamalon, Haiku, the Wynne Band and a host of others. He’s also a frequent session bassist, working with Robby Takac and Justin Rose at GCR studios as well at other area studios. From his first professional performances with the Jony James Band, Buddy Hinds Band and Ike Smith & a Flash of Purple, he moved on to play with Lance Diamond and Universal Grill.  He is an extremely thoughtful, encouraging and personable teacher, and currently serves as the Amherst School of Guitar as their Bass Faculty.

Michael Carlos Mendoza is a versatile and talented guitarist, teacher and composer. Michael graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York with a master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance as well as a Performer’s Certificate for excellence in performing. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia where he was also awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate for his outstanding performances. In 2016, Michael completed the ECC course (Every Child Can), a prerequisite to completing Suzuki training, as well as completing his Suzuki certification at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut.