THE CHURCH PRESENTS
G.E. SMITH, MATT UMANOV, AND JOHN MONTELEONE
IN CONVERSATION ABOUT THE GUITAR
DECEMBER 2ND, 2022 | 6:00 PM
Sag Harbor — Join us for the extraordinary opportunity to hear three renowned individuals—legendary guitarist G.E. Smith, internationally-acclaimed restorer Matt Umanov, and John Monteleone, one of the finest archtop guitar and mandolin makers alive today—discuss the past, present, and future of the world’s most popular musical instrument.
This program is held in conjunction with The Church’s exhibition Hand Made: Guitars According to G.E. Smith and The American Artists’ Hands Archive, which features 16 guitars selected by G.E. This grouping of instruments allows our viewers to look through G.E.’s eyes and understand his vision of the history of guitars as a drive to increase the volume of the instrument and its culmination in the birth of the electric guitar—a loud instrument for a noisy world.
These three experts will share their individual ideas about the cultural, design, material, acoustic, and theorical experimentations and innovations that have marked the evolution of the guitar. Central to this discussion are the fundamental changes over time in how, when and by whom the instrument was made and played. G.E., Umanov, and Monteleone each have unique expertise in their area and nuanced ideas about this rich history. The issue of what comes next for this remarkable and versatile instrument is another intriguing question that holds an important place in this discussion.
Photo by Rob Rich
The host, G.E. Smith is a master guitarist who has played lead guitar, for Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan and bassist for Roger Waters in the WALL LIVE as well as many others. He served ten years as the musical director of Saturday Night Live where he won an Emmy. He was the host for the Smithsonian’s HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC GUITAR and played many times at the Kennedy Center, and all over the world for dignitaries and Presidents. He’s the ultimate sideman. GE Smith, a supreme musicologist, explores his passion for R & B while highlighting his guests’ musical ideology. ‘Live’ in front of an audience, GE Smith hosted and launched PORTRAITS from its inception at Guild Hall and Bay Street Theater.
Courtesy of Matt Umanov Guitars
Repairing and restoring top-grade fretted instruments is where I started out in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, several years before opening my store here. It began with fixing everything I could find as a little kid, gaining tool skills and woodworking and machine skills along the way, and knowledge of processing all kinds of natural materials (wood, metal, plastics, glass and more) for manufacturing processes. Having also grown up in the music world since infancy, building and rebuilding musical instruments came naturally in my teenage years and by the time I was fourteen or so I had started working on fretted instruments, my first love. Restoring Martins and making electric guitars were natural ways to go and I was off on a tear, doing it professionally by the time I was seventeen. Opening my store came about five years later, doing all the repairs myself, and on to running the business for the next forty-eight years, finally deciding to close the retail end and keeping our long-since internationally-acclaimed repair department open.
Photo by Vincent Ricardel
John Monteleone was born in Manhattan in 1947 and was raised on Long Island. He had taught himself at an early age to build guitars and began professionally restoring and building stringed musical instruments in 1973 after graduating Tarkio College with a degree to teach music. Recognized as being one of the finest living archtop guitar and mandolin makers in the world today, Monteleone has been at the forefront of innovative cutting-edge archtop instrument making for many years. His uniquely designed instruments are the essence of artistic expression, reflected in the subtle but challenging marriage of form and function. He has been pushing the luthier envelope for more than forty years with his refreshing passion for new and elegant designs. Producing instruments of great tonal expression is also one of his missions in life. A dedication to the refined harmonic balances of tone and playability is always the central nucleus of structural foundation around which he often introduces the more interesting design accents and playful nature of his original and beautiful works. Although Monteleone offers a line of standard high-end instruments he is also well known for his one-of-a kind extravagantly individualized and prized custom works of playable musical art.
Housed in a deconsecrated 19th century Methodist church, The Church is a 501c-3 not-for-profit organization encompassing an artist residency, exhibition space, and creativity center. It is a place where local and national artists and creatives of all stripes work, meet and inspire each other. Artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik founded The Church in 2018 and have led its redesign with Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership. The modern interior complements its historic frame and is emblematic of the contemporary program of events that animate the structure. The Church will increase access to the arts for our diverse audiences, foster creativity on the East End, and honor Sag Harbor’s long tradition as a maker’s village.
For more information visit: www.thechurchsagharbor.org
AAQ / Resource