Grand Prizewinners at the 2010 Pacific Guitar Competition and recipients of the 2011 USC Presser Music Award, the Helios Guitar Quartet uses a variety of differently pitched guitars to extend the range of the traditional ensemble. The group consists of Jack Cimo, Albert Diaz, Michael Kudirka, and Adam Pettit, all former students of acclaimed guitarist and founding member of the LAGQ, William Kanengiser. By including two extended-range instruments (a seven-string guitar and a "soprano" guitar) this quartet is able to explore distant extremes of pitch beyond the scope of ordinary guitars. They have performed at The Miles Memorial Playhouse, the Frethouse, the Pacific Guitar Festival, Second Sundays at Two, Sunday’s Live at LACMA, the Jonathan Club, the California Club, and Alfred Newman Recital Hall. The Helios Guitar Quartet has received accolades for their current project, Johann Sebastian Bach's "The Well Tempered Clavier", here arranged by quartet member Michael Kudirka. The group has recently recorded the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier for a two-disc set to be released this year. They are preparing for a tour of the southern U.S. in June culminating in a recital at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention in Columbus, Georgia.
Albert Diaz, Adam Pettit, Jack Cimo, and Michael Kudirka
Jack Cimo is known for his powerful presence, beautiful tone, and lyrical interpretations. In 2003 he received first prize in the Harper College competition and in 2009, he won second prize in the California ASTA competition. He is currently in the studio of Grammy Award-winning musician William Kanengiser at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music for completion of a Bachelor of Music in classical guitar performance. He loves hiking and dark chocolate.
Albert Diaz is a classical guitarist presently living in Los Angeles, California. In addition to performing with the Helios Guitar Quartet, Mr. Diaz's solo accomplishments as a finalist and top prizewinner in a variety of competitions include the Northwest Guitar Festival (2008), the ASTA/Aaron Green Classical Guitar Competition (2007, 2008) and the WIAA/WMEA State Solo and Ensemble Contest (2003, 2005 & 2006).
Michael Kudirka is a member of the current generation of performers who specialize in both Early Music and Contemporary Music. He has toured extensively in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Japan. Michael has been awarded the first prize in several guitar competitions including the American String Teachers Association (1999), the Portland Guitar Festival (2000), and the USC Concerto Competition (2003). He is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at USC and is the Guitar Instructor at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Guitar Camp and Arts Academy.
Adam Pettit, a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Southern California, has Bachelor and Master degrees from the Peabody Conservatory. In addition to ensemble and solo performances, he enjoys studying flamenco guitar. He has won top prizes in various competitions including the University Interscholastic League Competition (1997), the National MTNA Competition (2003-04), and the Donald Miller Classical Guitar Concerto Competition (2007). Currently, Adam serves as an adjunct professor classical guitar at Cypress College and Orange Coast College.