Steven Jay Lerman is an award-winning classical guitarist originally from San Diego, California. Known for his powerful tone and musically sensitive performances, Steven began his classical guitar studies at the relatively late age of 15. After a few years of lessons and participating in his high school guitar program, Steven was offered a full-tuition scholarship from the University of Arizona, one of the top classical guitar programs in the U.S. During his time at the University of Arizona, Steven was fortunate to study with some of the top performers in the world. This included annual residencies with Grammy-Award-Winning artists David Russell and the Assad Brothers, as well as studying for one year with Guitar Foundation of America Competition winner, French guitarist Thomas Viloteau.
In 2013, Steven was awarded a coveted graduate teaching position at Florida State University under the tutelage of one the most accomplished American guitar pedagogues and a recent inductee to Guitar Foundation of America Hall of Fame, Bruce Holzman. In 2015, Steven completed his master’s degree at Florida State University before being offered doctoral candidacy and a graduate teaching position at the University of Arizona. Steven completed his doctor of music degree in 2019 after completing his research and transcriptions of Spanish keyboard music from the eighteenth century.
Steven has won prizes in 25 internationally competitive guitar competitions – including 10 first-prizes. Recently, Steven won first prize in several of the most important competitions in North America, including: Denver International Guitar Competition (2019), Indiana International Guitar Competition (Indiana, 2017), Wilson Center International Guitar Competition (Wisconsin, 2016), Classical Minds International Guitar Competition (Texas, 2018), San Francisco Bay International Guitar Competition (California, 2018). In 2018, Steven was selected as one of just a few guitarists to have been named a winner of the Frances Walton Competition in Seattle, a competition open to all classical instruments. Since being selected for the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Tour in 2014, Steven has taught, performed, and made radio appearances across the U.S., and in Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and France.
In addition to performance, Steven is a passionate and dedicated teacher. His students have been accepted to leading universities, have been offered graduate teaching positions, and have won prizes in major competitions. Steven is on the music faculty of Pima College in Arizona, which is home one of the largest guitar departments of its kind in the U.S. Besides teaching at the collegiate level, Steven has also taught music through outreach programs at nearly two-dozen underprivileged public schools throughout the state of Arizona.