The 27th annual Long Island Guitar Festival, recognized for the high caliber of the exceptionally talented musicians it draws from the classical and jazz guitar worlds, will take place April 9 through 14 at the Tilles Center’s Krasnoff Theater on the LIU Post campus of Long Island University.
“The ‘Long Island’ in the festival title clearly refers to its location and origins, rather than to its scope,” wrote The New York Times in 2014.
Founded in 1993 by Harris Becker, director of guitar studies in the Department of Music of the School of Performing Arts at LIU, this premier event provides a unique opportunity to hear world-class artists in person, as well as watch them teach master classes, conduct workshops and perform in concert.
The festival also features the sixth annual National High School Guitar Competition and High School Guitar Ensembles’ Showcases. Sharing Becker’s vision is former LIU student and Assistant Festival Director James Erickson, a talented instrumentalist who’s a member of the Artesian Guitar Quartet that includes Becker.
“The 2019 festival is honored to be featuring the U.S. debut of acclaimed guitarist Laura Snowden, who was selected by Julian Bream to give the Julian Bream Trust concerts at Wigmore Hall,” said Becker, adding that she also performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre at the invitation of guitarist John Williams. “Laura was the first guitarist to graduate from the world-renowned Yehudi Menuhin School in London, where classical guitar tuition was funded by a generous gift from the Rolling Stones.”
Other artists scheduled to appear at this “eclectic and international festival” include Eduardo Fernandez from Uruguay, who won first prize in the Andrés Segovia International competition in Mallorca, Spain; David Leisner, whom American Record Guide called “among the finest guitarists of all time;” multi-talented Robert Trent, who plays modern guitar, Renaissance lute, archlute and 19th-century instruments, and whose “sweet, crystalline sound” was praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his ability “to plumb the emotional depths of each work;” Jérôme Ducharme of Quebec, whose musical career took off after he won first prize at the 2005 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition; jazz guitar virtuoso Mark Marino; and Becker, who has performed extensively both as a soloist and chamber musician in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and Asia. Besides his ongoing work at LIU, Becker is the co-founder and artistic director of the summer music festival in rural Quebec, “Songe d’été en musique.”
The National High School Classical Guitar Competition is open to residents of all 50 states who are attending a public or private high school through the date of the competition finals. Applicants may not be represented by professional management. The competition will be limited to the first 30 applicants who submit all required materials to the Long Island Guitar Festival by Feb. 21. Competition rules and guidelines, as well as a full list of performers and concert schedules, are available at www.liu.edu/gfest.
Festival sponsors include the D’Addario Foundation, Augustine Foundation, Savarez, Murphy’s Music, LIU’s John P. McGrath Fund, and dedicated individuals.
The Long Island Guitar Festival represents Long Island University’s ongoing commitment to reach out to the arts community here and abroad and continue its established tradition of excellence in guitar performance and pedagogy.
“We provide beautiful music, promote great artistry and connect professional musicians with students, amateurs and the general public,” said Becker. “It is truly something special.”
Tickets for individual concerts are available at the Tilles Center box office (516-299-3100) or online at the Tilles Center web site (https://tillescenter.org ). An all-event pass, which costs $150, can be purchased only through the LIU Post Department of Music.
Individual concert tickets cost $25 per person ($20 for students and seniors). High School Guitar Ensemble concert tickets cost $15 ($10 for students and seniors). The Emerging Artist concert costs $15 ($10 for students and seniors). Tickets to audit master classes are $10.