hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

Arts & Entertainment

September 1, 2010

City man wins chance to become Guitar Superstar

A working man by day, local guitarist Eric Clemenzi, 31, has the opportunity to become a star.

Two weeks ago, Clemenzi won one of two popular-vote spots among the top 10 finalists in Guitar Player Magazine's 2010 Guitar Superstar competition.

Beyond a simple popularity contest, the Guitar Superstar competition invites guitarists the world over to compete against one another with their own licks, trills, and solos for the grand prize of a recording contract with Guitar Player Records and a feature article in Guitar Player Magazine.

As a finalist, Clemenzi will fly, with most of his expenses paid, to compete at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, Calif., in front of a panel of celebrity guitarist judges including Elliot Easton of The Cars, Reeves Gabrels of David Bowie, and Gary Hoey. He'll be the third performer of the 10 in the competition.

Clemenzi said that although he entered the contest on his own, it was his students, family and supporters who drove him to the top 10 finish.

"I probably wouldn't be here without them," he said. "I should thank all my students for that. It means a lot for me to have their support."

His competition piece, titled "Passage Through Time," shifts between scales and improvised notation. Clemenzi estimates that he has passively worked on the piece for at least two years. He also composed the backing bass and drums of the track.

Working out of his Riverside studio, Clemenzi has served as one of Haverhill's premier music instructors for many of the city's budding and professional musicians for the last six years. He shares his home and studio with his wife, Amanda, and 13-month-old son, Xavier.

Unlike larger studio or retail tutoring operations, Clemenzi said he's relied purely upon referrals. Currently, he tutors around 70 musicians a week. During the school year, he also teaches music at the Pingree School in South Hamilton.

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