Mesut Özgen is a “highly accomplished and exciting player who gets the most out of the music he plays” (Classical Guitar magazine of England), as well as a composer whose works show the deep influence of traditional Turkish music. Critically acclaimed as “stunningly versatile and expressive” by Acoustic Guitar magazine, Mesut has been busy with concertizing, recording, composing, conducting, and teaching.

Özgen joined the faculty of Florida International University in the fall of 2013 as director of guitar studies and the FIU Miami Guitar Orchestra. He has performed and taught master classes throughout the United States, Spain, and Turkey and was the director of guitar studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 1998-2013. In addition to being a prizewinner in both the International Portland Guitar Competition and the National Guitar Competition of Turkey, he has performed as featured soloist in many festivals, including the International Paco Peña Guitar Festival in Cordoba, Spain, Yale Guitar Extravaganza, Sierra Nevada Guitar Festival, Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Healdsburg Guitar Festival, Istanbul CRR concert series, April in Santa Cruz: Contemporary Music Festival, Cabrillo College Distinguished Artists Series, Ankara METU Art Festival, Kars Art Festival, Konya Mevlana (Rumi) Cultural Center, and UCSC Arts & Lectures Series among many others. He was also  the founder, director, and conductor of the Santa Cruz Guitar Orchestra between 2010-2013.

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DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) in solo performance, Arizona State University , School of Music, 2006

Artist Diploma in performance, Yale University, School of Music, 1994

MM (Master of Music) in performance, Yale University, School of Music, 1993

MD (Doctor of Medicine), Hacettepe University, School of Medicine, Turkey, 1984


Guitarists: John Williams, Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, Eliot Fisk, Costas Cotsiolis, Ricardo Iznaola, Robert Guthrie, David Leisner, Sharon Isbin, Jose Luis Rodrigo, Miguel Angel Girollet, Benjamin Verdery

Pianists: Seymour Bernstein, Anthony Newman, Rosalyn Tureck,  Caio Pagano

Composers: Leo Brouwer, Martin Bresnick, Ertugrul Bayraktar

Work Experience

2013-present, Guitar faculty, Florida International University, Miami FL

2010-2013, Director/Conductor, Santa Cruz Guitar Orchestra, Santa Cruz CA

1998-2013, Guitar faculty, University of California, Santa Cruz CA

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Early Music

Lute and Baroque guitar performances with:

"Lux Musica" Baroque  Ensemble, 1999-2013
Arizona State University Baroque Ensemble, 1995-1998

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Awards & Honors

2012, Professional Development Grant, University of California, Santa Cruz

2012, Santa Cruz Chamber Players Music Commissioning Grant, University of California, Santa Cruz

2012, Porter College Distinguished Visiting Artist & Lecturer Grant, University of California, Santa Cruz

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Professional Affiliations

1994-, GFA (Guitar Foundation of America)

2001-, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)

2001-, ASTA with NSOA (American String Teachers Association with National School Orchestra Association)

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