•Classes •Concerts •Competition
Unlike most Guitar Festivals we offer 6 days of activities:
One-on-one lessons, Guitar Orchestra Practice (working toward a Saturday performance),
Master Classes, Theory, Technique, Composition, Performance Tips, and more.
It's about the students!
We hold our festival each year to provide classes for students of all ages. We also have concerts and hold a competition. We focus on the students and want everyone to enjoy their time with us. Each year we try to change things a little so that there is always something new to do and learn.
Join us in 2019, won't you?
We have several kinds of classes:
Students get at least 3 one-on-one classes during the festival.
Intermediate and advanced students are eligible to participate in Master Classes provided by our visiting faculty.
Technique, Theory, Ensemble:
Various classes for attendees are provided throughout the week.
Our concerts are held in the sanctuary of St. Philip Presbyterian Church. The acoustics are wonderful for guitar performances, whether you are watching soloists or ensembles. Some performances will include other instruments, but we always feature the guitar.
Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad at venues including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and for many guitar societies throughout the country. She has appeared on NPR in the U.S. and Radio Nacional in Argentina. Ms. Vardanyan has performed with the Julliard Opera Center and as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has been a guest artist at international guitar festivals in Canada, Panama, Italy, and Mexico. Gohar began her studies in Armenia at age 5, first taught by her father. At age 8 she appeared on Armenian National Television and later went on to win First Prize in the Armenian National Music Contest “Amadeus. Upon coming to the United States as a teenager, she studied in the Pre-College Division of the Julliard School. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Manuel Barrueco, and a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Sharon Isbin. An avid teacher, she maintains a private studio in New York City and frequently teaches master classes and guitar technique workshops during her concert travels. Ms. Vardanyan is an author of four books from Mel Bay Publications with a fifth one on its way. She has an extensive list of instructive guitar videos on both her own channel and the Strings by Mail channel. www.goharvardanyan.com
A passionate and expressive style coupled with a formidable technique has garnered attention for Simon Powis as a talented soloist, chamber musician and innovator. Powis has toured extensively as a soloist with performances throughout Europe, Australia and the Americas including the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Australia House (London), and the Banff Center for the Arts (Canada) to name a few. A strong passion for chamber music has resulted in international collaborations ranging from traditional groups such as the Modigliani String Quartet and Ian Swenson (violin) to less common performances with double bass, electronics, and even the tuba. In the past years he has collaborated with a variety of composers to premiere over thirty new works on the concert stage. As a teacher Powis has instructed master classes in Lima, Mexico City and New York and at Yale University as both a guitar instructor and a teaching fellow. He is the creator of classicalguitarcorner.com, one of the internet’s most prominent guitar education sites; and he maintains an active podcast where he interviews leading musicians throughout the world. Powis graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from Yale University. www.simonpowis.com
Steven Jay Lerman is an award-winning classical guitarist from Southern California who has won prizes in 20 internationally competitive guitar competitions – including 8 First Prizes. In 2018, Steven was selected as just the third guitarist to be named a winner of the 29th Annual Frances Walton Competition in Seattle, a competition open to all classical instruments. Since being selected for the Promising Artists of the 21st Century tour in 2014, Steven has taught, performed, and made radio appearances across the U.S., and in Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and France. As the winner of the 2018 Classical Minds Competition, he is invited to perform and teach at our HCGFestival this year. Steven received a full scholarship as an undergraduate at Arizona State University where he studied with Grammy award-winning artists David Russell, the Assad Brothers, and for one year with Guitar Foundation of America Competition winner, French guitarist Thomas Viloteau. He received his M.M.A. degree at Florida State under Bruce Holzman and will complete his D.M.A. at the University of Arizona in 2019 after completing his research and transcriptions of Spanish keyboard music from the 18th Century.
Award-winning guitarist, Joseph Palmer, has earned a reputation as one of the most highly engaging and dynamic young performers on the American guitar scene. His performances have captivated audiences in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. He earned degrees in Music Performance at Columbus State University (2009, B.M.), and the University of Texas at Austin (2011, M.M. & 2015, D.M.A.). Palmer toured the competition circuit and was awarded eight First Prizes in international guitar competitions, receiving seventeen awards in total at festivals such as the Boston GuitarFest, Guitare Montreal, and the World Guitar Competition. As the ‘Performance Engagement Artist’ for Austin Classical Guitar, he gives over 50 interactive concerts each year throughout the public schools and underserved communities, and is a passionate advocate for music's potential to inspire and transform. Joseph is also the co-creator of the world’s first classical guitar educational resource for students with blindness/visual impairment, which launched in Summer 2018 (letsplayguitar.org). In 2018, Joseph Palmer joined the acclaimed Texas Guitar Quartet (txgq.net). This fall, he joined the faculty of University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as Instructor of Guitar in Belton, TX, where he also runs the annual Texas Guitar Conference.
Mezzo-soprano Brandi Estwick will perform with the Houston Classical Guitar Festival Orchestra this year. She is a recent graduate of Texas Woman's University where she received both a BM and MA in vocal performance. Ms. Estwick serves as the Assistant Director of the Brookhaven-Allegro Guitar Orchestra, and frequently performs recitals throughout the Metroplex in collaboration with Dallas-area classical guitarist, Eddie Healy. The duo routinely performs in Madrid, Spain as participants in the Chamber Art Music Association of Madrid’s Annual International Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Estwick is currently working toward a DMA in vocal performance at the University of North Texas under the guidance of Dr. Carol Wilson. She is on faculty at both Collin College and Texas Woman's University and was an active member of Dallas Opera's Education and Outreach program several years.
We have always enjoyed providing a solid venue for serious classical guitar performers who want to compete. Our faculty are professionals who know how to judge up and coming classical guitarists.
There are 5 levels of competition:
•Community College/Freshmen & Sophomores of 4-Year Colleges Division
•High School Division
•Middle School Division
•Small Ensemble Division
Consider joining us this year for our Competition!