Vahdah Olcott Bickford

The American Guitar Society was founded in 1923 by Vahdah Olcott Bickford who was born in Norwalk, Ohio in 1885 and died in Los Angeles in 1980. She was considered the foremost concert guitarist in the United States from 1900 to 1950 at which time she retired from the stage to devote the rest of her life to teaching and publishing.

"The purpose of the AGS," as she states in the minutes of the meeting of the board in 1923, "is to promote interest in classical guitar through the educational program, encourage composers to enrich literature and to develop both a scholarship and publication fund."

In 1974 the California State University, Northridge Music Department began to host the regular monthly meetings of the AGS and since that time numerous educational activities have transpired through this mutual arrangement, i.e., the International Concert Series, master classes given by national and international artists, funding Young Artist Concerts and especially providing a platform for students, amateurs and budding young artists. From September 2010 the American Guitar Society resides at the home of its new host, the Los Angeles Valley College Music Department, beginning a new chapter in its long history and maintaining its full range of activities.

The AGS continues to meet the first Saturday of every month (occasionally, due to holidays, the meetings will be moved to the second Saturday), now in Room 104 of the LAVC Music Department. On a historical note, the AGS has missed but four meetings since 1923: the deaths of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, gasoline rationing in 1943, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

early ags