Guitar Academy

Guitar Academy

Faculty & Instructors

Atanas Tzvetkov, Jacobs Guitar Academy Director

Nathan Dillon

Espen Jensen

Charlie Jesseph

Mark Bisesi 

Benjamin Noble-Kuchera

Aidan Whelan

Atanas TzvetkovAtanas Tzvetkov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1972, a natural musician and performer. He settled on the guitar at age eleven, studying under a young and ambitious teacher who pushed Atanas to take his evident talent seriously. Atanas earned a place at Dobrin Petkov, an exclusive music high school. Upon completion of this intensive five-year program, Atanas was accepted to the Academy of Music in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where he obtained his Master's degree in music pedagogy (1995). During this period, Atanas performed throughout the country in festivals, concerts, and solo recitals, absorbing the varied musical traditions of Bulgaria -a nexus for Eastern and Western influences and home to a distinguished classical music culture as well as a distinctive folk music.

In 1995 Atanas left Bulgaria for the United States to study with the renowned classical guitarist, Ernesto Bitetti, at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he earned a Performer's diploma (1996) a Master's degree (1999), and a Doctoral degree in guitar performance (2009). In 1999, Atanas won first prize in the Second Annual Competition in the Performance of Music from Spain and Latin America, sponsored by the Spanish Cultural Center and by the Indiana University Latin American Center. The competition was followed by recordings and by a series of concerts throughout the United States, in New York, Dallas, Chicago and other cities.

Atanas has devoted much of his time to communicating his musical insight to the younger generation. In addition to his college teaching, master classes, and private lessons, Atanas has greatly expanded the Pre-College Guitar Program at Indiana University. Under his direction and leadership this program has become a cornerstone of the Guitar Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 2014, the Pre-College Program has expanded into the Jacobs Guitar Academy now offering classes, ensembles and individual lessons for adults as well as youth.

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Nathan DillonNathan Dillon has the experience, understanding and enthusiasm that enable him to provide excellent musical skills to variety of students at all ages.

Born in Alabama and raised in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, Nathan grew up surrounded by a wide range of musical styles. “The house was filled with classical music and when I stepped out my door there was bluegrass, country, rock… It was a very special musical childhood.”

He attended the Jacobs School of Music studying Jazz and Classical guitar performance before leaving for the New York and Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2003 where he also focused on guitar. Working and touring with music acts, ranging from country and rock to chamber and world music, took him away from academia while forming him into an active music professional. As an active pedagogue, over the last decade Nathan has worked in some of the finest schools in the US including Bank Street Lab School in New York City as well as Catherine Cook School and Nettelhorst Elementary in Chicago. He is the Founder and Director of Everybody Rocks, which brings music classes to people of all walks of life throughout Chicago land and southern Indiana.

His experience in building vibrant musical communities makes him the perfect addition to the Jacobs Guitar Academy, as it endeavors to expand its musical offerings and broaden its musical outreach.

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 Espen JensenEspen Jensen was born in Norway in 1975. He began training on the classical guitar at the age of nine under guitar instructor Bengt Martinussen. Prior to entering the performance program at Agder College-Conservatory of Music in Kristiansand, Norway in 1994, Jensen spent three years at the Gymnasium-Dahlske Skole in Grimstad, Norway where he further dedicated his studies to music. he graduated from Agder College-Conservatory of Music in 1998 with the Candidatus Magistri degree in Performance, and was awarded a 1.00 on his final recital - "the highest grade ever given to a guitarist." Upon graduation, Jensen moved to the United States where he entered the Master of Music program at Indian University's Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. There he was awarded a tuition scholarship and served as an Associate Instructor in the Guitar Department.

He received his master's degree in Guitar Performance in 2000, after having studied with Maestro Ernesto Bitetti for two years. He continued his graduate studies with Maestro Bitetti and is currently pursuing the Doctor of Music degree in Guitar Performance and Literature. In 2001, Jensen won first prize in both the string division of the Indianapolis Matinee Musical competition, and the 4th Annual Competition in Performance of Music from Latin America and Spain in Bloomington.

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Charlie JessopCharlie Jesseph is a Bloomington, Indiana native and the youngest of four children in a family of musicians. He lived music from the beginning, studying piano at the age of 4, drums at 6, and guitar at 12. His father, who studied classical guitar in college, was his first teacher.
In 2008 Charlie received the scholarship award of his high school class as “2008 Musician of the Year”. During college he took a one-semester hiatus and traveled through London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Rome, thriving as an acoustic duo with a percussionist Jade Prieboy. 

He has performed as a singer and guitarist for professional and academic musical theatre productions. As member of larger formations, he widely expanded his musical experience being the founder and leader of a 7-piece soul band, Charlie & The Groove Factory, as well as singing in IU Soul Revue, performing in the IU Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussion ensembles, and touring with Otaak Band as a guitarist and keyboardist. In addition he has attended improvisation workshops with Bobby McFerrin and Voicestra.r />Since the age of 11 Charlie has been attending the world/folk a cappella camp Ooolation and is currently teaching original choral arrangements as part of their staff.

Charlie radiates vibrant enthusiasm for music. He enjoys helping students learn about all the essential elements of music and how they work together in balance. One of his specially as a performer and teacher is providing a simple and clear approach to the complex concepts of music theory, while teaching the fundamentals of songwriting and performance in all styles of contemporary guitar such as pop, jazz, folk, and soul/R&B.
“His musicianship skills are multifaceted, he is remarkably intuitive and I consider Charlie a great asset… He is a sensitive communicator who is able to translate his musical knowledge effectively”
Bob Stoloff, 25-year chair of the Berklee School of Music voice department

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