This year, “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition celebrates its 12th Anniversary as one of the premier, guitar festivals in the nation. Students come from across Texas, and from all over the country including Alaska, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Arizona. International students have come from Puerto Rico, Mexico and as far away as Venezuela. Founded by Artistic Director Valerie Hartzell, her goal was to educate the community about classical guitar, and to enhance their knowledge of the instrument. We are excited to hold the festival on the beautiful campus of Episcopal High School, centrally located and easily accessible just off Loop 610 in Bellaire, 2 miles south of the Galleria. The dates of the Festival are June 14-18, 2016.
“Classical Minds” Festival & Competition provides private lessons, technique and theory classes, master classes, lectures, and workshops and group guitar instruction for middle-school, high-school, and college-level students. The festival is open to all ages and levels of ability. Our goal is to increase sight-reading skills, to improve technique, to gain performance experience, and to help our students reach their individual goals.
A competition was added in 2008, which has grown to be a very well respected event nationwide. Students who participate not only gain extra performance opportunities, but they can list a prestigious event on applications to university music programs and conservatories.
Stellar guitarists from around the world come to teach, coach, and perform. This year’s artists have appeared in Carnegie Hall, at the United Nations, at the White House, in English castles, and in some of the most prestigious concert venues in the world. They greatly enrich the lives of both the students and the community. Concerts by guest artists are offered to the public and regularly sell out. Student recitals and the final round of the competition are free and open to the public.
A unique component to the 2016 Festival is a half-day at Houston Methodist Hospital, through its prestigious Center for Performing Arts Medicine. Medical professionals will address health issues of musicians, and a cardiologist will showcase his collection rare guitars. Our students will perform as soloists and in ensemble in Crain Garden, the major gathering spot for staff, visitors and patients who come from all over the world to this flagship hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Guest faculty artist, Susan McDonald, will present a live concert of her original music set to video footage, creating a multi-sensory experience. These performances are free and open to the public. These will be aired on the hospital’s TV network and rebroadcast to all patient rooms throughout the year, reaching an international audience.
Many students return each year and renew old friendships and build new ones. They thrive under the instruction and tutelage of world-class classical guitarists. “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition strives to give individual attention to these talented students. Our greatest source of joy is to watch them become even more accomplished on their instrument as they improve in knowledge and technique.