The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
-William Arthur Word


Sten has performed as a concerto soloist with the University at Albany Orchestra and the Ithaca College String Quartet. He has Bachelor’s and Master of Music degrees in Guitar Performance from Ithaca College, as well as an Associate Degree in Music Performance from Schenectady County Community College. He has studied guitar with Frederick Hand, Ed Flower, and Joel Brown, and has participated in master classes with Manuel Barrueco, Sergio and Odair Assad, and Benjamin Verdery. Sten is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Guitar Quartet, which has commissioned works from composer Anthony Holland. He is also a member of the Musicians of Ma’alwyck, a classical trio in residence at the Schuyler Mansion, the Pruyn House and Schenectady County Community College. Musicians of Ma’alwyck have steadily gained acclaim in the classical-music world, and the addition of guitar makes them an unusual and in-demand ensemble.

In addition to his work as a classical guitarist, Sten performs regularly on steel-string and electric guitars, as well as mandolin, providing support for artists like Charlie Louvin, The Haggar Twins, and many greater New York musicians, including Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys, MotherJudge, and The Spirit of Johnny Cash. Sten is endorsed by Martin Guitars and D’Addario Strings. A dedicated teacher, he’s a Professor at Schenectady County Community College – which offers an outstanding undergraduate Music Audio Technology program as well a Guitar Performance program. He also maintains a private studio.

Sten is owner of North Albany Studios, a rehearsal studio complex and recording facility, and he is also engineer and producer at Bender Studios a recording facility. Clients include Gibson-endorsed mandolinist Skip Gorman, jazz guitarist George Muscatello, jazz saxophonist Brian Patneaude, Empire Jazz Orchestra, Caroline MotherJudge, The Lustre Kings, Full Circle, Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys, and Musicians of Ma’alwyck.

DSC_0929 copy 3

Musicians of Ma’alwyck – Chamber Music Ensemble

Musicians of Ma’alwyck is a chamber-music ensemble formed in 1999 by Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz. In residence at the Schuyler Mansion, a New York State Historic Site, and at the University at Albany, the group performs regularly on a variety of concert programs in greater New York, specializing in music of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. The core instrumentation consists of violin, flute, cello, and guitar, usually with a vocalist, and with second violin, viola, oboe, bassoon, harpsichord, or piano added, as the repertory demands.

Sten & Maria Z

Guitarist/mandolinist, Sten Isachsen and guitarist/composer, Maria Zemantauski have delighted audiences around the globe as soloists and in various ensembles for decades.  Together, this dynamic string duo celebrate their eclectic musical tastes — fiery flamenco, classical, Latin, roots and bluegrass — to create a vibrant, rich and refreshing sound. Their rhythmically driven repertoire takes the listener on a journey of traditional classics, innovative arrangements and stunning original compositions.