Loudon Co. / Heritage High School ensemble (Performance Hall)
Masterclass: Marco Battaglia
Masterclass: Mesut Özgen (Stage)
Masterclass: Dr. Robert Trent (Covington 121)
World Music Group - Park High School (Scartelli Atrium)
Performance: Mesut Özgen
Performance: Marco Battaglia
2019 Festival Performers Bios
Marina Alexandra has established herself as a dynamic performer with a powerful stage presence. Finger Style Guitar Magazine described her as an “amazing player that commands the guitar with world-class technique and musicianship that is uncommon.” In 2016 Marina Alexandra was listed by the Aaron Shearer Foundation as one of the most influential female classical guitarists in America.
She has received awards in several guitar competitions including the Music Teachers National Association, Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt National String Competition, and South Carolina Guitar Competition. Marina has a concert career spanning the last eighteen years, taking her to music festivals , National Public Radio, TED conference, and hundreds of venues including colleges and museums throughout USA. She has released three albums including; Timeless Enchantment (Baroque, Classical, Modern, and Latin-American music) , A Moment of Magic (modern music by Russian composer, Nikita Koshkin) and Americas from North to South (flute and guitar music). Her albums received high praises from such prestigious music magazines as Soundboard, Classical Guitar (UK) and American Record Guide.
Marina Alexandra was born in the Ukraine, where she began her guitar studies at the age of six. In 1996 she immigrated with her family to the United States, and in 1998 she was awarded a scholarship and an assistantship to earn her Master of Music degree at the University of South Carolina. She has served on the faculties of Furman University, University of South Carolina- Aiken, SC, Wingate University, and Columbia College. Her students have been awarded scholarships to attend music schools such as the Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and University of Southern California. Under Marina’s direction, many students have also received top prizes in national guitar competitions.
Marina performs regularly on stages throughout the southeast United States. In addition to her concert solo career, Marina Alexandra participates in the groups Duo de Vista (with flutist Teri Forscher-Milter) and The Maritone (with drummer Tony Lee).
Marina is a major contributor to the guitar community on both local and national levels. Mrs. Alexandra is the founding president of the Guitar Muse Society, which hosts a yearly concert and educational events in Columbia, SC. Mrs. Alexandra is also the artistic and executive director of the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition, which attracts participants from across the US and abroad.
Harris Becker has had a rich and varied career as a guitarist and lutenist. As a young musician studying the classical guitar he had a fascination with improvisation, which led him to explore jazz. He also had a strong interest in contemporary music, which offered him the opportunity to work closely with composers and premiere many solo and ensemble pieces throughout his career. Among the composers who have dedicated works to him are Carlo Domeniconi, Hayley Savage, Raoul Pleskow, Howard Rovics, microtonal composer Johnny Reinhard, Alan Hirsh, Michael Frassetti, Joseph Russo and Richard Iacona. His teachers have included Michael Lorimer, Jerry Willard, Dennis Koster, jazz guitarist Edward Stevens and cellist David Wells.
Becker has performed extensively both as a soloist and chamber musician giving concerts and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Mexico, Asia and Canada. In the fall of 2014 Mr. Becker gave concerts and master classes in Thailand and throughout Vietnam including at the U.S Consulate in Saigon. In the spring of 2015 "The Amaryllis Project" (world-renowned pipa virtuoso Liu Fang and Harris Becker) gave a concert of six world premieres for pipa & guitar at the Long Island Guitar Festival, which included a new work by Carlo Domeniconi. Mr. Becker will be featured playing the lute music of John Dowland in a forthcoming documentary "Shakespeare in New York" directed by Peter Josyph.
In 1993 Mr. Becker founded the Long Island Guitar Festival, of which the New York Times wrote: "The "Long Island" in the festival title clearly refers to its location and origins, rather than to its scope"(2014). Harris Becker is Director of Guitar Studies at LIU Post and has been a faculty member at Nassau Community College, The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and Director of Music for Mixed Ensembles at the International Institute for Chamber Music at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich. The Florida State Division of Cultural Affairs selected Mr. Becker to participate in Florida's Artist Residency Program, giving lecture/performances on the lute and baroque guitar. He recently received an award for outstanding service from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Long Island University. Mr. Becker is also a member of the Artesian Guitar Quartet.
Harris Becker is co-founder and artistic director of the summer music festival in rural Quebec "Songe d'été en Musique". In 2015 the festival celebrated its tenth anniversary, which featured the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. This concert was called "historic" by the press in Quebec. His recordings include "Catgut Flambo" with guitarist Pasquale Bianculli, a solo CD "Passing Through" and a CD with the "Artesian Guitar Quartet." In the spring of 2017 he released new first recordings of music by John Lessard, Noel Zahler and Michael Frassetti. His editions and publications are published by T.D. Ellis Music Publishing and Calavar Music.
Maharajah Flamenco Trio
Maharajah Flamenco Trio
Maharajah Flamenco Trio delivers a moving and dynamic expression of Flamenco Nuevo (New or "modern" Flamenco), by blending traditional Spanish rhythms with jazz, classical, and world music.
Founded in 2011, Maharajah Flamenco Trio is the brainchild of Silviu Ciulei. After successfully leading flamenco bands in Romania and Tennessee, Silviu was looking to put something together in his new home, Tallahassee, Florida. He wanted this group to be smaller than previous endeavors, more intimate, with players virtuosic enough to fully accompany and realize his compositions. He met David Cobb by chance. Both were hired through a mutual friend to play a city festival and both were intrigued by each other's playing style. Once Silviu met Ramin, he realized he had found the perfect players, and brought them together to create Maharajah Flamenco Trio. Not long after, they began to tour, playing theatres, universities, and venues along the east coast, from the Dixie Theatre in Apalachicola, FL to The Shrine in Harlem, NY. They have appeared on television, as well as NPR, college, and internet radio, and in print around the southeast. They have been the featured artist two years running at the Southern Guitar Festival and were recently featured in Florida State University's annual Rainbow Concert, a showcase of the great world music scene in Tallahassee.
In 2013, they released their first studio album, Encuentro, a musical encounter that transports the listener around the world. Rich and finely-nuanced, the album captures the diverse musical backgrounds and technical virtuosity of the trio to create a singular listening experience of unique and daring music.
Andrew Weed serves as the orchestra and guitar director at North Stafford High School in Stafford County, VA. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in education from James Madison University. He additionally holds a Master’s degree in music with a concentration in guitar performance from Radford University. During his time in higher education, Andrew performed in the semifinal round of the annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition in Milwaukee, WI, and with the RU Guitar Ensemble at the Saigon International Guitar Festival in Vietnam, and at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. Andrew has previously studied under the direction of Dr. Robert Trent, Keith Stevens, and Dr. Kevin Vigil.