International Guitar Festival makes its way to Radford

Radford University Guitar Festival
Radford University Guitar Festival

For 16 years, the International Guitar Festival has brought musicians from across the globe to Radford University.

This year, the festival brings musicians from North America, Europe and Asia to campus from March 31 through April 2.

When Professor Robert Trent first arrived at Radford University, he looked for ways to bring the international music scene to the New River Valley. That search led him to create the first International Music Festival.

“The first festival only had concerts,” he said. “We looked for ways to expand it, which led to us having some of the artists teach our students in master classes. Since that’s a public lesson, it also allows the audience to be involved by asking questions.”

In subsequent years, the festival expanded to add lectures and a joint ensemble featuring high school students and Radford University students. Even with the expansion, Trent didn’t let the purpose of the festival get lost.

To keep the international focus of the festival, Trent doesn’t have the musicians stay in hotels. Rather, he has the community engage with those artists by staying with host families.

“They eat and talk with the host families,” he said. “I think that we need to engage with people from around the world. Since you don’t have to speak – the language of music bridges language – I think it’s a special kind of involvement.”

Saigon Guitar Quartet

The Saigon Guitar Quartet, featuring (L-R) Phuong Hoai Tran, Huy Thanh Nguyen, Ba Tho Huyn and Doan Nguyen.

The community has responded to that involvement as the list of those willing to host the musicians has grown each year.  

New to the festival is a lecture on health and wellness issues in music, taught by Serap Bastepe-Gray, who teaches guitar at the Peabody Music Conservatory and has an appointment as a medical doctor in the John Hopkins Medical School.

Trent hopes that students will learn injury prevention and treatment techniques from the lecture.

“Having experienced some minor playing injuries in the past, it was reassuring to learn that extensive research has been done on health and wellness for musicians,” said student Andrew Weed. “Students will learn a great deal about preventative measures to avoid playing injuries and those who have experienced a playing injury will hopefully learn how to keep it from happening again.”

The International Guitar Festival is sponsored by the International Education Center, the Club Programming Committee, Mu Phi Epsilon, Phi Mu Alpha and the Department of Music.

Schedule of events at the International Guitar Festival:

Friday, March 31, 2017

  • Masterclass: Gray Duo, 3:30-5 p.m.               
  • Lecture: Julian Gray, 6:15-7 p.m.      
  • Concert: Huy Thanh Nguyen, 7-8 p.m.           
  • Concert: Adam Holzman, 8:15-9 p.m

Saturday, April 1, 2017

  • Health and Wellness Issues - Serap Bastepe (Johns Hopkins Medical School), 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Masterclass/Workshop: Holzman, 1-3 p.m.                 
  • Masterclass: Huy Thanh Nguyen, 3-5 p.m.                                        
  • Alumnus Showcase Concert: Daniel Burton ‘16, 6:15-7 p.m.                        
  • Concert: Gray Duo, 7-8 p.m.               
  • Concert: Saigon Guitar Quartet, 8:15 p.m.                

Sunday, April 2, 2-17

  • Concert: Loncar Duo, 2 p.m.

All events are held in the Covington Center.    

Mar 28, 2017
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749