ACGS History



Concerts         Education         Outreach



Austin Classical Guitar Society was founded in 1990 by a small group of local classical guitar enthusiasts who wished to share their love of the art form and promote its place in Austin’s thriving music community.  In 1996, we attained non-profit status and began expanding our programming to meet the needs of our community.  By 1998, the first International Concert Series went on sale to the public, soon to feature many of the world’s great artists such as John Williams, Christopher Parkening and Pepe Romero.  Over the next two years, ACGS introduced a free Community Concert Series and a popular Community Guitarists program for local ensembles to meet, play and learn.  ACGS’ first Educational Outreach began in 2001 at Austin’s McCallum High School with a class of 15 students.  We soon began receiving requests for service at other schools and the program grew rapidly.  We identified curriculum development for classroom classical guitar as a major hurdle to quality school-based education and, following a strategic four-year development process, was launched by ACGS to assist teachers with music and classroom materials from one single, affordable and easily accessible source.  Today ACGS serves 25 local schools and directly affects the lives of more than 1,000 students through classical guitar instruction. is a powerful curriculum resource tool in use internationally.  In the last few years, we have developed a Summer Chamber Series, a large annual Guitars Galore Festival with a competition for composers, an on-campus concert series at the University of Texas at Austin, and a host of collaborative music events with local arts groups, including Austin’s symphony, opera, major museums, public radio and television, and many more.  In the summer of 2010, ACGS hosted the Guitar Foundation of America’s annual conference in Austin, a week-long series of 60 events, including the world’s most prestigious solo guitar competition.  It was, by all measures, the largest and most successful conference in GFA history.  Our Executive Director, Dr. Matthew Hinsley, has been with the organization since 1996, first as a Board member and then as staff.  In his tenure as ED, he has guided ACGS from a fledgling agency to the largest classical guitar society in the United States.