“At turns mesmerizing, playful, humorous and wistful, Gilewitz is a master of moods when he speaks to audiences through his guitar. He's always at the service of his inner voice, which has a sneaky way of connecting directly to the listener's heart.”-- Creative Loafing Magazine, Tampa Bay FL
“I actually wanted to be a drummer. Five minutes after my folks heard that news, they bought me a guitar. I tried flat-picking, but the pick kept falling in the hole. At one point I thought about playing a harmonica, so I blew on that for about a month. Then a real harmonica player saw me in action and said, 'Did you know if you breathe in you get all the other notes? You could ride down the road and hold it out the car window and get what you're doing.' So I recovered and rediscovered fingerstyle guitar.”-- Richard Gilewitz
For over four decades, American fingerstyle wizard Richard Gilewitz has fascinated listeners with 6- and 12-string finger gymnastics while spinning enchanting yarns of a seasoned raconteur.
His tours have brought him around the world including yearly stops in New Zealand for workshops and demonstrations, and concert performances that spill over with unexpected turns of the funnies, thought-provoking takes on life on the road, and tunes that propel the audience on a magical journey of sight and sound. Drawing from a Classical and Steel String background, Gilewitz’s signature playing style delivers a technical diversity of banjo style patterns and classical arpeggios with a rhythmic percussive approach, exploring the history of guitar with sounds of folk to Americana, the blues to the classical, ragtime to pop, and somewhere in between. In addition to his concert performances, his GillaCamp Guitar and Ukulele Workshops, Meet the Artist Seminars, Clinics, andAvenues for Success educational program for schools inspire players worldwide, providing opportunities for music lovers to work on their craft and young players to learn fingerstyle techniques and tips of the trade.
Growing up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Huntsville, Alabama, Gilewitz embraced such diverse artists as The Beatles, Andres Segovia, Kraftwerk, Leo Kottke, J.S. Bach, Arlo Guthrie, John Fahey and Flatt & Scruggs. Soaking up the wealth of inspiration supplied by the assorted acts featured at the Renfro Valley festivals, "The Dr. Demento Radio Show" and "The Midnight Special", Gilewitz welcomed the challenge of mastering and adapting many styles of music for the acoustic guitar -- a trait that continually places him among a multitude of genres.
Gilewitz began honing his skills both as a performer and composer during the late 1970’s at the University of Alabama, playing the local coffeehouse circuit while pursing degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Music. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree, he placed his musical calling in the background and joined the world of flight simulation design, telemetry and satellite systems.
The 1980’s brought Gilewitz to Florida where he released his first LP recording, Somewhere In Between. As the pull of his passion for performing and recording became so compelling, Gilewitz left corporate life to teach and perform full time in a career that has propelled him into an international music arena. He has gone on to release seven more recordings, single duets with Australian guitarists Michael Fix and Stephen Houston (Little River Band), plus a number of educational materials.
As a full time instructor Gilewitz has collaborated with Mel Bay Publications, releasing Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop; a book based on his guitar workshops, as well as several interactive instructional software videos with TrueFire. His latest book, Fingerstyle Ukulele has been released in a German version by Doblinger Publishing. He is a contributing writer for Acoustic Magazine (UK), Ukulele Magazine (UK), the L2P Network and has been featured in several other trade magazines such as Premier Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Fingerstyle Guitar. Gilewitz has the nod of several major music companies, including D’Addario, Shubb Capos, L.R. Baggs, and Audio-Technica.
Says Spectrum Magazine, "Much of the charm of a Gilewitz performance is in the stories he tells. He wondered aloud to the audience how many ducks he could take out in a fight if he were to be attacked by a flock of the sneaky waterfowl."