H I S T O R Y: Houston Classical Guitar Festival
We are excited to be hosted by St Philip Presbyterian Church! They are a kind host and we endeavor to make them proud of providing a venue for our education festival. We always have concerts, performed by our world renowned faculty artists and open to the public, the last 2 days of our festival, with an occasional concert earlier in the week.
University of Houston
Houston Classical Guitar Festival began in 2004 as the “Classical Minds” International Guitar Festival and Competition (CM), founded by and under the artistic direction of Valerie Hartzell. This festival has since moved to England with its founder. It was initially hosted by The University of Houston during its month long Texas Music Festival (TMF). CM wss a week-long Institute of TMF. As both their festival and ours grew they needed more room, and that expansion displaced CM. We were sorry to go – it had been wonderful! So, we had to find a new venue. We took a year off in 2015, having too little time to secure a proper site.
Episcopal High School
In 2016 we were hosted by Episcopal High School (EHS). It was a marriage made in heaven. Their beautiful facilities, centrally located in Bellaire, Texas, with easy freeway access, had everything we needed. They were happy to have us and have treated us with much love. We strove to be good guests and our wonderful students helped us to build and keep a good relationship with our host for 3 seasons.
Their Benitez Chapel, a sometime venue for AFA performances, has superior acoustics for guitar. This “chapel” seats 850! EHS was built as a Marian Catholic High School (closed 1978) and convent. The facility opened in 1984 as Episcopal High School.
St Philip Presbyterian Church
For the 2019 Festival we needed to relocate, again. EHS has been in a building program for several years, and the venues we used were in peril for demolishing and rebuilding. That provided uncertainty for our festival. We had considered St Philip once before, but they were hosting the American Guild of Organists 2016 National Convention the week after our festival. Organists were allowed to begin practicing on the 16 organs at Houston area churches on the Thursday of our festival. That would have been a huge conflict for our concerts. Fortune smiled on us in 2016 by providing the EHS venue.
Our reason for being
We have as a goal to accommodate all levels of players and provide a rounded education experience. We maintain that to this day. Our programs and pricing reflect our commitment to this goal.
Thank you for visiting!