•Classes •Concerts •Competition
HCGF 2021 is a 3-day virtual festival and competition.
Master Classes, Theory, Technique, Performance Tips, Private Lessons and more.
It's about the students!
The Houston Classical Guitar Festival is held every year in June and provides learning activities for guitarists of all ages and abilities, including adults who play for their own pleasure. There is plenty of time for individual attention and the opportunity to create new friendships. Our participants have come from Canada, Mexico and South America and from over 14 states in the USA. As the festival will be virtual in 2021, we expect to attract participants from all over the world.
Join us in 2021, won't you?
Among the festival offerings are workshops in theory, composition, sight-reading and technique. We have presented lectures on flamenco history and style, performance preparation, practice skills, music therapy and nail care. An exhibition by a private collector’s rare guitars is always popular. Guest artists whom we invite to teach and perform are among the most acclaimed classical guitar artists in the world today. During the festival, they are available for private lessons along with our core faculty.
See the Festival Schedule
Our 2021 concerts will be live streamed. One or more will be broadcast from the Sanctuary of St. Philip Presbyterian Church. The acoustics are superb for all classical guitar performances – solo or ensemble. Some performances will include other instruments, but we always feature the guitar.
2021 Artists & Guest Faculty
"Brazilian-born, 2010 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award Winner Gabriel Santiago is a Composer/Arranger/ Acoustic and Electric Guitar Player with 10 albums (including CDs and DVDs) released.
Called by JazzTimes Magazine “a young master at both the acoustic and electric guitars” and his compositions defined as “stunners”, Santiago holds a Doctoral Degree in Music Composition from the University of Texas at Austin, where he won the 2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award and the 2010 Eleanor A. Stribling Award for Excellence in Jazz Studies.
His solid background also features studies with jazz masters Pat Metheny, Adam Rogers and Maria Schneider. Santiago has collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Esperanza Spalding, Chris Potter, Stefon Harris, John Clayton, Terence Blanchard, Janek Gwizdala, Carmen Bradford, André Mehmari, Romero Lubambo, Odair Assad, Gilson Peranzzetta and Recording Engineer Master Rupert Neve, being invited to be the first artist to record with Neve’s first ever line of microphones.
Gabriel has been composing music for a wide variety of ensembles (ranging from Symphony Orchestra to Chamber ensembles, Big band to Jazz Combos), styles and medias including Film, TV, and Internet. His music is fresh and carries all of his influences that range from Brazilian Music to Jazz and Classical Music."
Cuban-born René Izquierdo is a unique artist and passionate educator whose career has been dedicated to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. Whether passionately performing on stage, devotedly mentoring his students, fundraising, or leading community outreach, René’s multi-faceted approach endeavors to continue creating experiences that enrich people’s lives and add beauty to our world.
Through his “unforgettable versatility, sensitivity and sublime musicianship” (Classical Guitar Magazine), René has firmly established himself as one of the world’s classical guitar virtuosos. He is celebrated for his ability to weave an unparalleled technical command of his instrument with his gift of storytelling, accomplishing an intimate musical experience with his audience.
With over seventy engagements per year, whether as a solo performer, chamber musician, or as a guest soloist with orchestras, he has performed to critical acclaim touring extensively throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He is frequently invited by renowned festivals and institutions, having played at venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Manaus Opera House in Brazil, and National Recital Hall in Taiwan.
Self-described as a lifelong learner and explorer, his recording projects reflect his wide-ranging interests. Through his discography, René seeks to expand the guitar repertoire frequently performing new arrangements, lesser-known music of the 20th century as well as world premieres of concertos and new compositions.
As an educator, René is passionate about engaging the mind and the heart. Through his teachings all around the world, he shares his belief that the greatest musicians not only have the technical mastery to communicate effectively but also are deeply curious, and equally adept at analytical and emotional modes of thought.
Jay Kacherski & Lina Morita
Jay Kacherski: Classical guitarist and educator Jay Kacherski met his wife, pianist Lina Morita, at the Eastman School of Music when he was earning his Master of Music degree and she was working on her Doctor of Music Arts. He went on to earn his DMA at University of Texas-Austin studying with Adam Holzman. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Escuela Nacional de Música, he researched, performed and promoted contemporary classical guitar music of Mexico. Kacherski is on the guitar faculty at Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, and McNeese State University, as well as NOCCA, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He has given solo performances and master classes throughout the United States and Mexico. As a member of the Texas Guitar Quartet, he has performed and given master classes at the Brevard Music Center, and at various universities and concert series throughout the United States and abroad including a six-city tour of China. Kacherski and Morita often perform together and will soon be releasing their new CD, Landscapes that will include original compositions by Olga Amelkina-Vera, Frank Wallace and J. Todd Frazier among others.
Lina Morita: Brazilian pianist Lina Morita made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013. Her international career has taken her throughout the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, France, and the Czech Republic. Most recently, she has been invited to present solo recitals at Salão Leopoldo Miguez in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mexico City at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera and at La Escuela de Musica “Vida y Movimiento” del Centro Cultural Ollin Yoliztli. Other venues in which she has performed include the Music Center at Strathmore in Maryland, Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington DC, and prestigious concert series at the National City Christian Church, the Church of the Epiphany in Washington DC, the Vienna Presbyterian Church in Virginia, and the Bertramka House in Prague.
As a performer and pedagogue, Lina Morita has performed recitals and taught master classes at colleges and universities throughout the United States and has collaborated with renowned musicians such as flutists Susan Milan, Ransom Wilson, Ian Clarke, Jim Walker, clarinetist Mark Nuccio, and cellist Dennis Parker. Her solo and collaborative performances have been featured on Radio MEC FM in Brazil and WRKF 89.3FM in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her recording The Songs of Keith Gates with soprano Carol Lines was released on Centaur Records in 2012. As a concerto soloist, Morita performed Beethoven Concerto No.4, Chopin F Minor Concerto, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Mozart’s “Jeunehomme” Concerto with the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra in Washington D.C., the Washington Sinfonietta and the Lake Charles Symphony.
Lina Morita received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music; the Master of Music degree from Rice University; and the Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. Her primary studies have been with True, Robert Roux, Edmund Battersby, and Michel Block. Ms. Morita is currently an Associate Professor of Piano at McNeese State University in Louisiana.
J. Todd Frazier
Todd Frazier is a composer and director of Houston Methodist's Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM). CPAM is recipient of Americans for the Arts 2017 BCA 10 Award, recognizing the best businesses partnering with the arts in America and the 2019 Hamilton Award from the National Organization for Arts in Health, recognizing the best use of the arts in employee engagement. He is Immediate Past President of the National Organization for Arts in Health and Founder of American Festival for the Arts and Houston Arts Partners. He has spent 25+ years forging and supporting research, education and accessibility collaborations between the education, medicine, and arts and culture communities in America. He received his training from The Eastman and Juilliard Schools and his love for history inspires his works, including We Hold These Truths, premiered at the Kennedy Center with soprano Renee Fleming and University of Virginia Suite, premiered on the University lawn in celebration of its 200th anniversary. In 2016 he was awarded the Luminary Award from the Eastman School “recognizing individuals who have given extraordinary service to music and the arts at the community and national levels” and on the Juilliard School’s 100th anniversary in 2006, was recognized as one of 100 distinguished alumni and profiled in the Juilliard Journal’s “A Quiet Revolution: Juilliard Alumni and The Transformation of Education in America Through the Arts.”
See Competition RulesCompetitors have been most impressed with the performance space at St. Philip Presbyterian Church. The acoustics in this 5-story space are enhanced by hard surfaces that are perfect for classical guitar. Many of Houston’s most prestigious music ensembles perform here in the Music At St. Philip program.
There are 5 levels of competition:
•Small Ensemble Division
•Early College Division (Includes 2-Year college students and Fresh/Soph of 4-year colleges)
•High School Division
•Middle School Division
See the Competition Rules
Consider competing this year!