Michael Nicolella @ Cornish College of the Arts
You can't blame classical guitar. It has to work so hard to be taken seriously, what with a world full of wannabe guitar heroes flailing about in their garages to contend with. So most classical guitarists draw a thick line and stay firmly on the acoustic side of it, a line that says "we belong over here, with the cellos and harps," and leaves the Slashes to their electronic thrashing. But not Michael Nicolella. A bonafide virtuoso, Nicolella's repertoire includes Bach, Hendrix, and everything in between performed on acoustic and (gasp!) electric guitars. Frets magazine calls his most recent album, Shard, “an exciting textbook on how to honor the classical tradition and kick it in the a** at the same time.” Guitar geeks, meet your new hero.