Biography: A Life with Music and the Guitar

Rossman Palfrey, Classical Guitarist

Chicago-based classical guitarist Rossman Palfrey (b. 1984) has been praised for his "deep musicality and expression." He has performed in concerts, masterclasses, and guitar festivals internationally and throughout the US. Rossman is currently faculty at Roosevelt University, The People's Music School, and Fox River Music Academy.

In recognition of his work, Rossman was awarded his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University in 2014. He additionally earned a Bachelor's of Music from Peabody Conservatory (2007) and he received a Master's of Music at Chicago College of Performing Arts (2009). During his studies, Rossman was a top prize winner in national and international guitar competitions (listed below).

Currently, Rossman works as a freelance classical guitar soloist, and in a duo (Duo Romanza) with his wife, an oboist. Rossman also works as an accompanist for hire in voice and instrumental recitals throughout the midwest. His most recent chamber music project is with mandolinist Michael Scott.

Rossman's love for the guitar started when he was a child. As is often the case, Rossman fell in love with the music his parents listened to, especially Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin. Beginning in the early 1990's, when he was just 8 years old, Rossman begged to play guitar, just like his rock'n'roll heroes. Perhaps fearing the enevitable cacaphony produced by a young lover of noise, Rossman's parents instead signed him up for piano lessons, cello lessons, and classical guitar lessons. In a short time, Rossman added classical musicians to his list of musical heroes. Much of his musical studies and passions have since been dedicated to the "classical" repertoire.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, Rossman holds a bachelor's degree in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Rossman served as English faculty at International Burch University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015-2016). He continues to tutor and privately teach writing and English language skills.

Awards and Major Teachers



Rossman Palfrey, Classical guitarist

Recognitions and Awards:
Academic Honors:
Doctor of Musical Arts Degree, Northwestern University (2014)
Eckstein Grant Recipient, FullScholarship, Northwestern University (2009-2011)
MM in Guitar Performance, Chicago College of Performing Arts (2009)
Merit Scholarship to Chicago College of Performing Arts (2007-2009)
BA in the Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University (2007)
BM in Guitar Performance, Peabody Conservatory (2007)
Phi BetaKappa Society (2007 )
Collegiate Honors and High Honors (2003-2007)

Competitions: 
1st prize, SAM Collegiate (2008)
2nd prize Sierra Nevada Competition (2008)
4th prize, National Guitar Workshop (2008)
2nd prize D’Addario Guitar Competition (2006 Ithaca, NY)
1st  prize ASTA Regional Competition (USC 2002)
2nd prize ASTA Regional Competition (USC 2001)
2nd prize ASTA State Competition (UC Davis 2001)

Major Teachers: 
Denis Azabagic, John Dearman, Julian Gray, Sharon Isbin, David Pritchard, Anne Waller

Master Classes:
Lilly Afshar, Manuel Barruecco, Bruce Holzman, Adam Holzman, Eduardo Issac, Martha Masters, David Starobin, Scott Tennant... among others