Marina Alexandra has established herself as a dynamic performer with a powerful stage presence. She was described as, “…first-rate guitar virtuoso! Marina’s technique is very impressive, but the best thing about her playing is a tremendous range of expression.” (American Record Guide)
Mrs. Alexandra is the founder and executive director of Southern Guitar Festival and Competition and the Guitar Muse Society in Columbia, South Carolina. Her teaching experience includes directing the guitar programs at University of South Carolina in Aiken, Furman University and Wingate University in North Carolina. Her students have been awarded scholarships and prizes in local and national guitar competitions.
Chris Essig has been teaching guitar for over ten years and enjoys teaching and performing in the Columbia area. He has given recitals at the University of South Carolina, the Columbia Guitar Society, Geneva College, Columbia International University, and has given performances at various weddings and events. He specializes in classical guitar and contemporary worship styles. His teaching philosophy consists of helping students experience the power and creativity of God though an in-depth understanding of music. He emphasizes the importance of technique, music theory, interpretation, repertoire, and musicianship in order to inspire and prepare students for creativity and excellence. He received his M.M. in guitar performance from the University of South Carolina under the instruction of Christopher Berg and a B.A. in Guitar Performance from Geneva College. As an instructor he has given lessons and masterclasses at many venues in the Columbia area including the Carolina Music Academy, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, New Kirk Presbyterian Church, Columbia Crossroads Northeast, and Columbia International University. Presently, he serves on faculty at Ben Lippen High School and Columbia International University.
Ulyana Machneva-Shanley, born in Ukraine, started playing classical guitar at the age of 6. She graduated from Kharkiv State University of Arts as a classical guitar performer, teacher, and composer (theory of music). Her minor was in piano and academic vocal. As a classical guitar virtuoso, Ulyana has won high honors in many international performance and composition competitions in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Hungary. Her original musical compositions have been published in Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and the USA. Many of them became performers’ choice at the International guitar competitions.
Ulyana continues her musical career playing solo recitals and teaching students classical, romantic, and popular guitar, as well as composition/improvisation, and academic vocal. Ulyana is enrolled at the Artist Certificate Program at the College of Charleston with Professor Marc Regnier.
Christopher Teves was born in New York City and grew up in the contrasting worlds of the Philippines and Pittsburgh. As a wedding and distinguished event musician, he has performed extensively throughout the greater Charleston area including the five star Sanctuary Hotel, historic churches and plantations, beaches, and venues in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Savannah. Described as “an outstanding talent” by the Charleston Post and Courier, Teves performs exquisite music for every occasion including traditional classical repertoire, jazz standards, and his many of his own renditions of popular music (James Taylor, Adele, Jack Johnson, Beatles, and more!).
Teves has studied at the University of South Carolina, Cincinnati College Conservatory, and the Eastman School of Music. Currently he teaches on the faculty of Charleston Southern University and privately at Clelia’s Guitar Studio. He is featured on three CD’s, Guitar America, the Water is Wide, and Hauntings. In addition to playing the guitar he enjoys running, carries on a love affair with his mandolin, and plays ukulele and bass.