Marcus Dunleavy has performed professionally as a solo and ensemble guitarist for the past 20 years. He has been a featured artist the Chicago Latino Music Festival and at many venues throughout Chicago including The Chicago Cultural Center, The Goodman Theater, Old Town School of Folk Music, the Auditorium Theater, the Skokie Center for the Performing Arts, Hyde Parks Logan Center, Open Door Rep Theater, The Studebaker Theater and Ikeda Auditorium. He has also performed abroad in Spain, Central America and Japan.
As a session player, Dunleavy’s guitar is featured on the debut album of 2010’s American Idol winner Lee Dewyze.
In December 2006, Dunleavy self-produced and released his third CD Emerge, which features his original compositions as well those of Sergio Assad and Leo Brouwer. Emerge has been featured on Chicago’s classical music station WFMT and has drawn praise from legendary Jazz Fusion pioneer Larry Coryell:
“The young master’s sound is advanced beyond his years…..With beautiful technique and a deep and spiritual heart, Marcus shows us the way of the new generation of classical guitarists—a way of romance, of technique in service of the musical message, and in an artistic bent that is at once sentimental and proud.”
In July 2008 Dunleavy was the recipient of a Fulbright grant which supported his invitation by the National School of the Arts in San Salvador and the U.S. Embassy to Headline the school’s guitar festival.
As a result of his residency at the National School of the Arts, he received an Honorary Professorship from the school.
At that 2008 festival he released his fourth self-produced CD Two To Tango, which features himself and Cuban violinist Cristian Blanco performing the music of Astor Piazzolla. In August 2011, Dunleavy played along side of Grammy winning Bandoneon legend Raul Juarena for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs summer opera production of Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires.
As a performer and speaker with the International Committee of Artist’s for Peace, Dunleavy has given concerts with Jazz fusion pioneer Larry Coryell and, in 2016, collaborated with him on his arrangement of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” for four guitars. Other collaborations include accompanying dancers for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and The Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
Dunleavy completed his Bachelor of Classical Guitar Studies at Chicago College of the Performing Arts where he studied guitar under local classical guitar masters Paul Henry and Denis Azabagic. During that time, he also attended the master classes of many leading guitar figures including Oscar Ghiglia, Sharon Isbin, and William Kanengiser. While studying in Cordoba, Spain, Dunleavy has participated in master classes with Jazz fusion guitarist Larry Coryell as well as classical guitar greats Manual Barrueco, David Russell, Pepe Romero, Odair Assad and composer Leo Brouwer.
While maintaining a full teaching schedule, Dunleavy also remains active as a composer. His chamber/storytelling piece Gassire’s Lute was premiered April 27th, 2014 and was recorded by WFMT to be broadcast on the internationally syndicated radio program “Fiesta!”. Gassire’s Lute was reprised for the for closing night of the 2016 Chicago Latino Music Festival where it was choreographed and performed along with members of Cuba’s National School of Ballet. His setting of Gwendolyn Brooks’ iconic poem “An Old Black Woman, Homeless and Indistinct” was presented at Brooks Day Chicago 2017.
Dunleavy currently studies guitar privately with Denis Azabagic and with Maestro Sergio Assad of the world renowned “Duo Assad.”