Many concerts, masterclasses and lectures during the International Guitar Festival


With performers from the U.S., Croatia and Vietnam, the 16th Annual Radford University Guitar Festival lives up to its name. Hosted at the Covington Center for the Arts March 31 to April 2, the weekend includes many performances and masterclasses along with a health and wellness lecture for performing artists.

Artists include Serap Bastepe-Gray and Julian Gray of the Gray Duo, Adam Holzman; Nataša Klasinc and Miroslav Lončar of the Lončar Duo, Huy Thanh Nguyen, Saigon Guitar Quartet, and alumnus Daniel Burton.

Bastepe-Gray is a faculty artist at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where she directs the Conservatory Guitar Ensemble Program. She is also a faculty research associate, director of Peabody Occupational Health and Injury Prevention Program, and founding co-director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Music and Medicine (CMM) initiative. With this, Bastepe-Gray will present a workshop and lecture on movement, health and wellness for performing artists at 10:30 a.m. to noon, April 1 at the Performance Hall in the Covington Center.

Gray is a recognized and eminent performer, recording artist and teacher in the guitar world. He has appeared at many prestigious guitar gatherings, including the Second American Guitar Congress, The Stetson International Guitar Festival, and Guitar Foundation of America Festivals, as well as concert series and festivals in London, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, DC, St. Louis, and on tour throughout the United States and Canada. Strad Magazine hailed his recording of music for guitar and strings by Paganini with the Diaz Trio as the finest example of that genre on record.

Holzman is a five-time winner of major international competitions including first prize at the 1983 Guitar Foundation of America Competition held in Quebec, Canada and Top Prize at the Ninth Concorso Internazionale di Interpretazione di Gargnano, Italy. He has performed at the prestigious Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and distinguished New York venues such the 92nd St. Y, Merkin Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall. He is also a frequent guest in music festivals and series around the globe. His extensive international performances have taken him throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central and Latin America.

A highly experienced and accomplished guitar duo, Klasinc and Lončar have been concertizing for over 25 years. This husband-and-wife duo has performed at numerous music festivals and concert series across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. Concert presenters and music critics describe the duo’s performances as eye-opening, outstanding, one of the best, a "moving musical experience, enlightening, sparkling, and "performed with uncommon virtuosity and musicality of the highest order."Klasinc and Lončar's concert programs often blend baroque, classical and romantic compositions with Lončar's original works, transcriptions, and arrangements of Croatian and other Mediterranean folk styles and music of the Viennese tradition.

An active classical guitarist, Nguyen leads the Guitar and Accordion Department at Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory, Vietnam. He has performed in many concerts across cities and provinces of Viet Nam and recorded for Ho Chi Minh City Television. Together with two other guitarists from Ho Chi Minh City, in 2009 he had a two date performing tour in Singapore’s Art House. He tours the country extensively and festivals in the region invite him to give masterclasses and perform. These include the Malaysia Guitar Festival and Camp, Silpakorn International Guitar Festival, Thailand, Asia International Guitar Festival and Competition 2016, Thailand, and Tarrega International Guitar Festival and Competition 2016, Malaysia. In 2017, by invitation, he will perform in the 25th Long Island Guitar Festival in New York.

Saigon Guitar Quartet is an ensemble of leading guitarists in Vietnam, an initiative to enrich the repertoire and encourage dialogues in the guitar musicianship. Its founding members are Huy Thanh Nguyen, Doan Tri Nguyen, Tho Ba Huynh and Phuong Hoai Tran, all having had an illustrious solo career before they developed an ensemble repertoire together. They have been part of many important events in the musical landscape of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam including the 55th anniversary gala concert of HCMC Conservatory of Music; the first opera production of HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera, Dido and Aeneas; the inaugural edition of Saigon International Guitar Festival in 2014 and the subsequent editions in 2015 and 2016; and annual concert tours to Ha Noi and Da Nang. In 2016, the prestigious classical music venue, City Opera House, invited them to play an all-guitar program in a series of educational concerts to attract new and young audiences to classical music.

Burton graduated from Radford University with a BS in music with a concentration in performance. While at Radford, he achieved many accomplishments, which include: graduating with Summa Cum Laude Latin Honors, Dean's List, induction to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, winner of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award, election of the faculty to multiple honors recitals, and through an audition, joined the Radford University Honors Guitar Quartet. As a student of Dr. Robert Trent, Daniel performed on statewide tours and also an international tour to Brazil with the Radford’s Honors Guitar Quartet. Upon graduation, Daniel became a certified Suzuki guitar instructor and teaches at the Renaissance Music Academy in Blacksburg.

The festival opens with a masterclass by the Gray Duo at 3:30 p.m., March 31. This is one of several weekend masterclasses and lectures.

The first performance is by Nguyen at 7 p.m., March 31.

Funding in part from the Radford University College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Department of Music, College Program Committee (CPC), Mu Phi Epsilon (MPE), Phi Mu Alpha (PMA) and the International Education Center (IEC) makes the International Guitar Festival possible.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information and the schedule of events, visit or call 540-831-5177.  

Mar 23, 2017
Leslie King