Radford Celebrates 10th International Guitar Festival

Radford University’s International Guitar Festival celebrated its 10th annual showcase April 1-3, 2011, in the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

Highlighting the three-day festival were acclaimed international classical guitarists Massimo Delle Cese of Italy, Julio Alves of Brazil and Jose Luis Sano of Venezuela. Each guest musician performed and taught master classes for Radford students and advanced classical guitar players from the community.

“They were great in every sense,” Festival Director Robert Trent said of the guest musicians. “Fantastic, world class musicianship; great people who were engaged with the audience, personally talking with people, even though English was not their first language. I’m so moved by it.”

Julio Alves and Kareem McCullough

Brazilian classical guitarist Julio Alves (right) instructs Radford University student Kareem McCullough during the 10th annual International Guitar Festival.

As the director of guitar studies at Radford University, Trent, who also taught a master class during the festival, said he initially developed the idea for the festival a decade ago as a way to provide Radford University students and the community with a greater appreciation and awareness for music reaching far beyond their geographical boundaries.

“The overriding reason was to give students a broader view of the guitar in the world and to learn as deeply and as broadly as they can about different ideas as to what they can do with the instrument,” said Trent.

With travel opportunities limited for many college students, Trent envisioned the festival as an opportunity to have some of the finest classical guitarists in the world come to them.

Through persistent grant funding efforts, Trent is proud to have been able to keep the festival free of charge to the public every single year. With a minimal budget, he relies on the rich relationships he has formed with the festival’s guest musicians.

“It’s not a festival just about performances but a chance for students to learn,” said Trent, who requires that each of his classical guitar students participate in a public master class taught by one of the guest musicians.