Guitar Ensembles

Performing is at the heart of the Program in Guitar Studies. The School of Music’s two Guitar Ensembles provide an invaluable opportunity for guitar students to enhance skills that are sometimes underdeveloped in guitarists, including reading, performing on a part, blending in with other instruments, following a conductor, and self-conducting. In addition, Guitar Ensembles expose students to a wide array of musical styles that enrich their technique and creativity.

Guitar Ensemble I Focusing on the electric guitar, Guitar Ensemble I's repertoire primarily centers on jazz, rock, and pop styles. It offers guitar students an excellent opportunity to develop their skills in commercial music performance. It also enables students to hone their composition and arranging skills, as certain pieces may be composed or arranged by students in the ensemble.

Guitar Ensemble II Focusing primarily on classical styles, Guitar Ensemble II's repertoire is drawn from the canon of traditional classical music, including Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, as well as modern and new works written for guitar ensemble. Guitar Ensemble II affords guitar students an entry point into performing in an ensemble and an opportunity to build their skill sets.

Guitar Ensembles rehearse multiple times a week in preparation for on- and off-campus performances.

Both ensembles require an audition at the beginning of the fall semester for all matriculated guitar students, which places them in the appropriate ensemble.

Non-guitar music majors and non-music majors wishing to audition and perform in a Guitar Ensemble may be granted permission in consultation with their advisor.

For more information about Guitar Ensembles at Millikin University, please contact:

Dr. Mark Tonelli, Coordinator, Program in Guitar Studies

Guitar Ensembles Faculty


Mark Tonelli

  • B.M. in Jazz Performance - William Paterson College
  • M.M. in Jazz Studies - University of North Texas
  • Ed.D. in Music Education - Columbia University

Mark Tonelli has enjoyed a diverse career performing with artists such as Clay Aiken, Jon Faddis, Rita Moreno, Carol Channing, Lynn Seaton, Denis DeBlasio, Greg Bissonette, Ed Soph, Andrea McArdle, Al Martino, Bobby Rydell, The Coasters, and The Platters. He has been seen on FOX News and is featured in the Emmy-nominated PBS musical special Marina At West Point. He has had residencies in three major music hubs— New York City,  Dallas, and Kansas City— performing at renowned clubs, including NYC’s 55 Bar, Dallas’s Sambuca, and Kansas City’s Green Lady Lounge. His group has released three critically-acclaimed recordings on the MTonal Music label. In addition, Dr. Tonelli has performed in the orchestras of forty musicals, including regional productions of RENT and Evita and a touring production of Les Miserables.

For ten years, Dr. Tonelli was the guitarist for the West Point Band's Jazz Knights, touring and performing in some of the nation's top venues, including Jazz Standard, Blues Alley, Jazz Showcase, Kennedy Center, Jazz Kitchen, Avery Fisher Hall, Count Basie Theatre, and The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. With the Jazz Knights, Dr. Tonelli performed with a who's who of jazz legends: Benny Golson, Billy Cobham, Bobby Watson, Randy Brecker, Steve Turre, Rufus Reid, Bob Mintzer, John Riley, Claudio Roditi, Adam Nussbaum, as well as the Boston Pops and the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet. At West Point, he entertained many dignitaries and public figures, including Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Tom Brokaw.

Dr. Tonelli’s original music has been featured on National Public Radio's (NPR) All Things Considered, and he has won composition awards from Billboard Magazine. His jazz ensemble music is published by UNC Jazz Press and FJH Music. Dr. Tonelli’s books, Everybody's Jazz Guitar Method and Way To Play: Jazz Guitar Riffs And Chords, are published by FJH Music. Dr. Tonelli has written instructional articles for Guitar Player, Downbeat, The Jazz Education Journal, JazzEd, Jazz Improv, Just Jazz Guitar, and The Instrumentalist. He has made presentations on entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary learning at major music conferences, including the Jazz Education Network and College Music Society. For three years he directed the West Point Jazz Festival and has given performance clinics at The National Jazz Workshop, NY State Band Directors Association Conference, and at colleges and universities across the country. His blog, “A Life In Music,” offers entrepreneurial strategies for musicians.



Mark Anderson

  • B.A. in Music and Theology - Elmhurst College
  • M.M. in Guitar Performance - San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Classical Guitarist Mark Anderson has been described as a ”soulful and intelligent musician”.  Mark has performed throughout the United States and Europe including at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and on national television in Cyprus. He has also premiered many works for guitar such as “Inventions on Um a Zero” by João Luiz and “Rising Spirals” by award winning composer Chinary Ung (U.S. premier). Mark completed his M.M. in classical guitar at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Marc Teicholz and also received instruction from Sergio Assad, David Tanenbaum, Richard Savino, and Larry Ferrara. Mark is currently on faculty at Millikin University and Illinois Wesleyan University as well as maintaining a private studio in Chicago.