Classical guitarist and specialist on early plucked instruments to speak March 2

Acker’s YouTube channel has millions of views
Pam Powers | March 1, 2021

A classical guitarist and specialist on early plucked instruments will speak Tuesday, March 2, as part of the University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Art and Design Speaker Series.

In a virtual presentation open to the public, Brandon J. Acker will explain his path from heavy metal to early music, taking viewers on a tour of forgotten instruments including early guitars, lutes and the 6-foot-long theorbo, a plucked string instrument of the lute family. Acker will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.

Jerry Hui, UW-Stout director of choral activities and associate professor of music, said Acker’s performances on various string instruments are expressive and brilliant.

“Brandon has found success even before COVID-19 as a YouTuber,” Hui said. “Through the platform, he communicates with a wide audience with ease, introducing the lute and music of a very different era to an audience who might otherwise have never heard of these wonderful music resources.”

Acker has 260,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and 14 million views. His channel provides educational content about early plucked instruments as well as guitar tips and artistic performance videos.

Brandon Acker
Brandon Acker / Contributed photo from Brandon Acker

“This music is beautiful, and it would be a shame to see it lost in time,” Hui added “Plus, music can serve to open a window for us to peer into different cultures and different times. Our modern world will benefit greatly if we continue to stay curious not just about the future but also our past; the past forms our present, and it is critical for us to see it with a critical lens so we can appreciate what good the past brought and what ill we should avoid repeating.”

Acker’s interest in education led him to start, with his wife, an online music school in 2020 called Arpeggiato. More than 500 lessons have been taught to students around the world including Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Acker’s performance career has varied from playing electric guitar in metal bands to his current focus researching and performing on early plucked instruments from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

He has toured extensively through England, Canada, Scotland and Wales, and performed with notable groups such as the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, Piffaro, the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Newberry Consort, Haymarket Opera Company, Music of the Baroque, Third Coast Baroque, Opera Lafayette and Bella Voce.

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