2022 International Guitar Festival Schedule

The 21st Annual Radford University International Guitar Festival brings internationally noted guitarist performers to the sonic splendor of the campus of Radord University in a virtual format for viewers around the world to enjoy.

The International Guitar Festival has consistently drawn an audience to the New River Valley from NorthernVirginia as well as beyond the borders of the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Maryland, North Carolina and as far north as New York State.

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Sponsors of this event are The Department of Music, The College of Visual and Performing Arts, Radford University Campus Programming Committee (CPC), the McGlothlin Center for Global Education and Engagement, Mu Phi Epsilon, and The Southwestern Virginia Classical Guitar Society.


April 1st --- 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM MASTERCLASS:   Gohar Vardanyan

April 1st ----7:30 PM   CONCERT: Andy Jurik, Jazz/Pop/Classical Guitar 

April 2nd---  4:00 PM – 7:00 PM LECTURE: “Arranging for guitar” -- Andy Jurik

April 2nd---  7:00P M – RU Alumni Showcase CONCERT: Kareem McCullough and Max Hiner, Solo Guitarists

April 2nd---- 8:00 PM – CONCERT: Gohar Vardanyan – Classical Guitarist

Gohar Vardanyan

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Widely admired for her technique, artistry, and passionate performances, Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States and internationally. She has performed for numerous guitar societies, universities, and arts organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, and guitar societies in Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, and New York City to name a few. She has appeared on National Public Radio in the United States and Radio Nacional in Argentina. Ms. Vardanyan has performed with the Juilliard Opera Center and as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a guest artist at Inter-national Guitar Festivals in Sweden, Italy, Panama, Canada, and Mexico. She has been featured on the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine. Guitar International Magazine has described her as “the complete package,” “with a musicality and emotional quality . . . that one would expect from someone much older than the young wunderkind. Not only is she able to draw you into her performances with engaging musical interpretations, but she has the technical facility that is required of any concert level guitarist.” Her playing has been described as “passionate,” “evocative,” and “virtuosic.”

In addition to her performing career, Ms. Vardanyan is an avid teacher. She maintains a private studio in New York City and frequently teaches master classes and guitar technique workshops during her concert travels. Ms. Vardanyan is an author of four books from Mel Bay Publication and has an extensive list of instructional guitar videos on both her own and the Strings by Mail channels on YouTube.

Ms. Vardanyan began studying the guitar in her native Armenia at the age of five under the careful guidance of her father, Vardan Vardanyan. At the age of eight, she gave her first public performance and also appeared on Armenian National Television. She was the first prize winner in the Armenian National Music Contest “Amadeus” and was accepted into the prestigious group, “New Names,” for talented young musicians. She performed in numerous concert venues in Armenia, including Komitas Chamber Music Hall and the Small Philharmonic Hall. She went on to study with Antigoni Goni at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School. In 2001, Ms. Vardanyan studied with John Wunsch at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She was awarded the Young Artist’s Certificate from Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Harold Randolph Prize in performance from the Peabody Conservatory.

Ms. Vardanyan holds a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Sharon Isbin, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Gohar Vardanyan is sponsored by Strings by Mail and plays on Royal Classics Recital strings. Guitar: 2012 Jean Rompré

Andy Jurik

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Guitarist, arranger, and educator Andy Jurik actively explores the intersection of classical and popular music. As a solo guitarist, his repertoire includes arrangements ranging from Scottish lute works and Brazilian choro to Radiohead and the Beatles. Enthusiastic about the possibilities of third stream music (a hybrid of classical and jazz), Jurik prizes the compositions of genre-fusing guitarists like Ralph Towner, Roland Dyens, and Dušan Bogdanović. Demeler, his voice/guitar duo featuring vocalist Rachel Hansbury, reimagines Edith Piaf classics, Carter family standards, and timeless Celtic folk songs. Duo Cortado, his long-running duo with guitarist Devin Sherman, actively commissions new works to expand the scope of repertoire for guitar duo.

Andy’s research in third stream music and contemporary improvisation results in activity on both the concert stage and the lecture hall. He presented a paper on improvisation in historical and contemporary contexts at the 2019 Dublin Guitar Symposium. Andy lectured on his doctoral research on the classical guitar’s role in classical/jazz fusion was presented at the 2017 Guitar Foundation of America convention in Fullerton, CA. Recent performances include the ASCAP-award winning Southern Exposure concert series, Brevard College, the Wired Music series, Carnegie Mellon University, Presbyterian College, Central Piedmont Community College, the ArtFields Festival, and the Southern Guitar Festival.

Andy currently teaches at Western Carolina University (music appreciation, music theory, aural skills) and University of North Carolina Asheville (guitar, Astor Piazzolla ensemble, music theory). He earned degrees from the University of South Carolina (DMA, 2016), Austin Peay State University (M.M., 2012), and Ithaca College (B.M., 2008). Andy’s previous instructors include Christopher Berg, Stanley Yates, Pablo Cohen, and Steve Brown; masterclass and individual studies include Mark Stewart (Paul Simon, Bang on a Can All-Stars), Lorenzo Michelli and Matteo Mela (SoloDuo), Derek Gripper, and Ricardo Cobo.

Andy acts as co-director of the Asheville Classical Guitar Society, a collective that sponsors monthly open meetings, concerts, and masterclasses in the Western North Carolina area. His online critical writing for PopMatters and Spectrum Culture has been recognized by the Kronos Quartet, Nonesuch Records, New Amsterdam Records, and Innova Recordings.

Kareem McCullough

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A California native, Kareem McCullough began studying guitar at the age of 15 in the Loudoun County Public Schools system, an emerging powerhouse in classroom guitar. He quickly fell in love with the instrument and decided to continue his studies at Radford University under the instruction of Dr. Robert Trent, earning a B.M. in music education. In 2012, after gaining some experience as a teacher at Roanoke city schools, Kareem garnered a teaching assistantship at Marshall University, where he pursued his M.A. under the direction of Julio Alves. During this time, Kareem also maintained a private studio of students, ages 5-55.

From 2014-2016, Kareem served as adjunct faculty at the University of Rio Grande, teaching both private guitar lessons and string techniques classes. After earning his Masters, Kareem briefly taught in Cabell County Public Schools before accepting a position back in his own high school county at Loudoun County High School, where he directed the guitar and orchestra departments. Kareem has made a presence on the stage as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor. He has performed solo concerts in various places around the United States. He has performed and toured with the inaugural US Guitar Orchestra, led by Bill Kanengiser, and also served as the ensemble director for the Romero Guitar Institute, in which he conducted the famous quartet and guitar orchestra in many performances. Kareem had the great pleasure of studying with renowned guitarists like Roland Dyens, Pepe Romero, Jorge Caballero, and Marcin Dylla.

In 2020, Kareem was invited to be the guest composer for the 2020 Marlow Guitar International Youth Guitar Competition. This inspired him to explore composition even further and in 2021 he released his debut album titled, “Under Quarantine”. Kareem’s album is an intricate display of originally composed music that reflects his profound and personal journey throughout the 2020 pandemic. “Under Quarantine” is available now on all music streaming services.

Max Hiner

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As a child, Max Hiner spent his after school hours indulging what he describes as a “compulsive obsession with listening” to classic rock. After discovering Jimi Hendrix, he begged for a guitar. His stepfather gifted him a 1961 Vega Steel String Acoustic Guitar, and taught him the basics. Soon, Max began to teach himself how to play more advanced music.

By the age of 13, Hiner started writing and performing his first compositions and began classical guitar lessons with Dr. Robert Trent and soon started to compete in guitar competitions. As a teenager, he took First Prize at the 2009 MANC Festival, and Honorable Mention at the IBLA Grand Prize Competition in Sicily, Italy among others.

After entering Radford University in 2011, Max Hiner simultaneously studied classical music and toured with heavy metal/rock bands, and worked as a studio musician. Under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Mahi, he studies musical composition. During his college years, Max won 1st prize at the Rock on the Range Festival’s annual electric guitar competition in Columbus Ohio, and even toured with Dr. Trent’s Honors Guitar Quartet for two weeks, performing multiple concerts in Brazil.

After graduation, Hiner studied Classical Guitar at the Lamont School of Music, Denver, Colorado under Dr. Jonathan Leathwood and Laura Husbands. He also continued to pursue composition under the mentorship of Briay Conditt of the Denver Philharmonic. During this period of time, Max Hiner was commissioned to compose a symphonic work (“Chaos Overture”), a solo guitar work (“Rhapsody Romantic” a violin/guitar duet piece (“Fantasia”.) Hiner received both a Performance Certificate Degree at the Graduate Level and Masters Degree from Lamont School of Music before moving back to Radford, in summer 2021. Max now works as a guitar instructor both at Radford University, and at Hale’s Music School in Salem, Virginia. He also sells his compositions and musical arrangements/transcriptions, and currently hopes to create a marketing business for these works.