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2019 International Guitar Festival to take stage this March
A selection of the world’s most extraordinary guitarists will be gathering in Covington Hall on March 22 and 23, 2019, to perform in the Department of Music’s International Guitar Festival. Now in its eighteenth year, this free event will feature award-winning performers such as Ukranian-born Marina Alexandria, who has been described as one of America’s most influential guitarists. Harris Becker, a jazz and contemporary artist who has performed for audiences across the globe, will also take the stage during the event. The Maharajah Flamenco Trio will showcase their blend of modern jazz, world music, and both classical and traditional Flamenco guitar. The festival will also feature Radford University Alumnus Andrew Weed, an orchestra and guitar director at North Stafford High School in Northern Virginia. Each year the festival’s schedule offers a rich lineup of performances, workshops, discussions and master classes that are free and open to the public.
The festival’s founder, Dr. Robert Trent of the Department of Music, organizes the annual event to give both students and local residents a chance to see a variety of live guitar performance perspectives and styles. According to Trent, preparations for the festival require a substantial amount of work, including networking, traveling, volunteering, and more, to bring the festival to Radford’s campus.
His love for the instrument began at a very young age when his mother retrieved an old, battered guitar from their family attic. “It was in horrific shape,” recalls Trent. “I struggled because the guitar isn’t so logically laid out as the organ or piano keyboard. So, sheepishly, I asked for lessons. Thank goodness, because I probably wouldn’t have learned to read music and certainly wouldn’t have the career I now have.”
Each year he works to put together a unique festival lineup with opportunities to entertain and educate music students and the general public about the guitar. “I love hearing that people both learn something new and are moved by the experiences. It’s why we do this!”
Trent has performed internationally and has won awards in both national and international music competitions. “The guitar is the great equalizer,” he says. “It exists in nearly all cultures, nearly all musical styles, and in all eras. And it is among the most personal and expressive of instruments. There is something for everyone. The variety is quite astounding!”
The 2019 International Guitar Festival takes place March 22 – 23 at the Covington Performance Center on the campus of Radford University. Admission is free and open to the public.