Archive for June, 2011

Congratulations to the semi-finalists in this year’s GFA International Concert Artist Competition!  These 12 semi-finalists will play their second competition round tomorrow, Friday, in Legacy Hall from 10-3:30.  It is open to the public.  Check outside the door for the order and program.

Srdjan Bulat

Silviu Ciulei

Jeremy Collins

Andras Csaki

Artyom Dervoed

Vladimir Gorbach

Damien Lancelle

Giacomo La Vita

Adam Kossler

Piotr Pakhomkin

Kyuhee Park

Miodrag Zerdoner

Here they are!  Wishing all 12 competitors the best of luck tomorrow.


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It’s Thursday, and our convention is in full swing.  We start out today with a very special lecture given by authority on the subject.  David Starobin discusses new music for the guitar in his lecture, “Toward a Brave New Repertoire.”

Next, a shared concert by 2010’s phenomenal GFA International Concert Artist Competition winner, Johannes Moller.  Johannes is a talented composer as well as an amazing player, a rare combination for a GFA ICAC winner.

He is followed by the young and inventive Henderson-Kolk Duo.

Tom Amoriello addresses a hot topic for guitarists in the US in his lecture, “Public School Teaching for the Classical Guitarist”

while Gaelle Solal takes a rather unconventional approach to teaching guitar technique!

GFA Education Initiative Director Michael Quantz with some of our younger convention attendees.

Convention host Andrew Zohn with the Henderson-Kolk Duo and friends after their concert.

Nigel North giving a master class.

Here are the winners of this year’s GFA School Membership Challenge!  These students from the Pensacola Guitar Orchestra and their director Joe Stallings will receive lunch with David Russell in addition to their free convention registration, and other prizes.

Today was also a chance to see some of the rising talent in guitar programs across the country in the Ensemble Showcase concert.

Mile High Guitar Ensemble from Denver, Co.

The McCallie School Quartet from Chatanooga, TN

The Helios Guitar Quartet from University of Southern California

The evening concert brought another treat – SoloDuo (Lorenzo Micheli and Matteo Mela) in an incredible triple standing ovation concert tonight complete with two encores.

This is what GFA conventions are made of – guitar, guitar, and more guitar!  Here, a late-night sightreading session in the lobby of the Marriott.

Today’s post is brought to you by your 19th fret.

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The first full day of the convention began bright and early at 9am today.  But first things first – breakfast!  Here, Andrew and Kristen Zohn, Lynn McGrath, Matteo Mela, and Lorenzo Micheli do some catching up over that essential morning coffee.

Convention events are clearly labeled with the presenter’s name and topic of their presentation.

Alberto Mesirca sets up for his lecture on “The 1565 Lute Manuscript of Castelfranco Veneto.”

Those who may have had a late night didn’t show it when nearly 75 people showed up for Alvaro Pierri’s technique workshop this morning, with guitars in hand.

Today’s 11am concert features The Czar’s Guitars and Ioannis Andronoglou.

Judges of the preliminary round of the International Concert Artist Competition take a much deserved lunch break.

A group from Chatanooga, TN arrives in Columbus.

The Vendor’s Fair is in full swing!  Be sure to check it out – there is tons of sheet music and guitar accessories, luthiers and their instruments from all over the world, and guitar shops that have brought an assortment of beautiful cedars and spruces for everyone to drool over.

The amazing Paul Galbraith gives a master class.

Stephen Goss giving a lecture entitled, “Holy Grail or Merry Dance: The Delusion of ‘Urtext’ in Collaborations Between Guitarists and Composers.”

Nigel North gives today’s 4pm concert.  Every ear in the hall is fixated on his beautiful lute playing.

Some GFA fans backstage with Nigel.

Here’s David Starobin with pianist Vassily Primakov performing the American premiere of William Bland’s Variations on a Danish Folk Song.  David is this year’s recipient of the GFA Hall of Fame Artistic Achievement Award.  Much deserving of this honor, he is a bold pioneer of new music for the guitar and a grand interpreter of Romantic period guitar repertoire.

Convention attendees during intermission.

Unwinding at the post-concert reception.

GFA Executive Director Galen Wixson trying to forget a long day and Ryan Ayers from Trilogy Guitars.

A table of convention artists, GFA staff, and volunteers having an important discussion on…guitar maybe?

Today’s post is brought to you by a really fast tremolo.

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This video was created by GFA volunteer Sungmin Shin, author and creator of the classical gutiar webshow, The Plucker Report.  Thanks, Sung!

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And it’s showtime!  Welcome to Convention Day 1.  Convention attendees have begun pouring into Columbus.  First step at a GFA Convention?  See the registration table to check-in, get your badge and your swag.

Brian Head, GFA Artistic Director, and our faithful volunteers get organized behind the table.

It’s always fun to see what kind of free stuff you get this year in the bag.  These goodies are thanks to our incredible sponsors – D’Addario, Savarez, La Bella, Augustine, Mel Bay, GHA, GSP, and Acoustic Guitar just to name a few.  Be sure you check out their booths in the Vendor’s Fair as well.

Students are arriving in droves, and we couldn’t be more excited about having so many talented young players here from all around the country.  Here are some students from two of the top guitar programs in the country:

Florida State University

University of Southern California (GO TROJANS!!)  Sorry, a little biased here.

So what’s going on today?  The International Concert Artist Competition first round has begun.  This year’s judges for the preliminary round are Luigi Attademo, Ricardo Cobo, Alex Dunn, Jeremy Jouve, and Chen Yi.  Wow.

Tonight the convention opens with our first concert of the week: Alvaro Pierri.  It is sure to be amazing, so don’t miss it.  We’ll be posting more later, so check back for an update to this post – rumor has it there is some video footage coming.  And if you have good pics or video, feel free to post them on the GFA Facebook page.


Alvaro Pierri warming up in Legacy Hall tonight.  Yes, even those with superhuman abilities still warm-up like the rest of us mortals.

What a gorgeous hall to play in!

The pre-concert crowd.

Martha Masters, GFA President, and Brian Head, GFA Artistic Director, giving some opening night announcements. GFA sure is lucky to have these two at the helm – two accomplished guitarists and brilliant minds.

Look out, there are guitarists everywhere!  And not just any guitarists…here is Brian Head with David Russell and Paul Galbraith.  (You may have heard of these guys…)

Every guitarist loves a good hang, and it looks like Cannons’ is the place to be this year.

Alvaro seems to be feeling good now after an absolutely brilliant recital!

Today’s post is brought to you by p, i m, and a.

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Well, the convention hasn’t started yet, but somebody’s got to get everything organized for the 500+ attendees that are expected to flood into the lovely town of Columbus, GA in the next 24 hours!  Our small army of GFA staff and volunteers are on the ground and ready for action at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music.

Taking orders from GFA Executive Director Galen Wixson, President Martha Masters, and Convention Host Andrew Zohn.  They’ve worked tirelessly to make this week happen, so if you get a chance to say thanks, do so!

The beautiful RiverCenter, the performing arts complex at the Schwob School of Music.

The facilities are gorgeous.

Here is the larger recital hall where our weekend evening concerts will take place.  Don’t miss these two spectacular concerts featuring two heavy-hitters of the classical guitar world – Paul Galbraith on Friday night and David Russell on Saturday night.

And this smaller hall will house all the other concerts taking place, along with the International Youth Competitions and the International Concert Artist Competition.

As you can imagine, the logistics of organizing a convention of this magnitude can get pretty intense, but our staff and volunteers will be doing everything they can to help things run smoothly.  This year’s registration table guru is Ricky Escobar, a DMA student at University of Southern California.  The registration table is where you can go to check-in and get your convention badge and swag bag, buy GFA paraphernalia, and get general questions about logistics answered.

Be nice to him and he will be nice to you.

Andrew Zohn, our 2011 Convention Host, can answer any local questions you may have about Columbus or the facilities. This is his second time hosting the GFA Convention, and we have no doubt that he and his volunteers will help make this a wonderful week in Columbus!

Here’s a little taste of what’s in the swag bags this year, thanks to our generous sponsors…

Some of our artists have already arrived, like Alvaro Pierri, here with GFA President Martha Masters. Don’t miss his concert on Tuesday night.

And late tonight, 41 guitarists from around the world gathered to get the scoop on the International Concert Artist Competition.  The competitions are a major part of this week’s events, and all of these players have undoubtedly been working extremely hard.  The first round of the competition, which takes place in front of a panel of esteemed judges, will begin tomorrow morning.

Check back daily for more updates from the GFA Convention!

This week’s blog entries are brought to you by Connie Sheu, GFA Director of Communications, with Sungmin Shin, the author of the classical guitar web show The Plucker Report

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Online Registration Now Closed

In preparation for the upcoming convention in Columbus, we have now closed on-line registration. You can register on-site (and badge pick up for pre-registered attendees)beginning on Tuesday from 10am-12pm and 6pm-8pm; and starting at 9am on Wednesday, all in the main lobby of the RiverCenter. If you arrive later in the week, you’ll be able to register any day between 10am-4pm in the lobby, or from 7pm on each evening. We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!

Soccer Game

Reminder for those of your who enjoy a good game of soccer, bring your gear, as those willing to brave the elements will join together for a friendly game on Thursday evening before the SoloDuo concert. Hope to see many new faces at this fun event!


The Atlanta airport is about 90 minutes from Columbus. The simplest way to reach Columbus is by taking the shuttle provided by Groome Transportation, with buses leaving Atlanta approximately every 30 minutes.


If you’re not able to be with us in Georgia, be sure to check this blog regularly for competition results, photos, highlights, and more from the week.

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