By Thomas Gillen
Assistant A&E Editor
From April 13-17, LIU Post will host the 24th annual Long Island Guitar Festival. The event will include concerts, master classes, workshops, a National High School Classical Guitar Competition and a performance by the Long Island Guitar Festival Guitar Orchestra over the course of five days.
“The festival offers concerts and master classes with some of the world’s greatest guitarists,” said James Erickson, assistant director of the festival and adjunct professor of music at LIU Post. “Music students gain valuable experience by working with these world class guitarist in a small intimate setting,” he added. Andrew York, Alan Hirsh, David Dtarobin and Ronn McFarlane will be performing at the festival, among others.
“The Long Island Guitar Festival is an annual Eclectic and International festival presented in conjunction with the Department of Music of the College of Arts, Communications & Design at LIU Post at Long Island University, said Harris Becker, director and founder of the festival. “The festival represents a commitment to reach out to the artistic community and continue an established tradition of excellence in guitar performance and pedagogy,” Becker said. “The initial intent of the festival was to show the process of becoming a masterful artist through educational workshops and master classes. The idea was to build a community through the interaction between students, amateurs, professionals and the general public.”
The National High School Classical Guitar Competition is open to all high school students in the United States. To enter the competition, students first have to upload a four to seven minute video of them playing on a guitar. If they move on to the semi-finals, students will play a piece of music from the Heitor Villa-Lobos Complete Works for Solo Guitar, Editions Max Eschig, in a private event in front of three judges. In the final round, three students will play in front of a different panel of judges in an April 16 event that is open to the public. The finalists will perform a Villa-Lobo piece as well as another piece that lasts four to seven minutes. Each finalist will have 15 minutes to perform, with the winners announced at the evening concert on April 16. The first place winner will receive $500 as well as a chance to perform at the 2017 Long Island Guitar Festival’s Emerging Artist Showcase. The second place student will receive $200.
Ensemble Shows are also part of the Long Island Guitar Festival. According to the LIU Post website, “As part of a continued commitment to excellence in guitar performance and pedagogy, throughout our history the Long Island Guitar Festival has featured high school guitar ensembles in our “Ensemble Showcases.” The purpose of these showcases has been to give young guitarists the opportunity to perform as well as take advantage of the learning opportunities the festival has to offer.” This year’s Ensembles Showcase Concert will include Bishop McGuinness High School Honors Guitar Ensemble from Kernersville, North Carolina; Brentwood High School Guitar Club from Brentwood, New York; Susan E. Wagner Guitar Ensemble from Staten Island, New York; and the POBJFK Guitar Nation from Planview-Old Bethpage, New York.
This year’s festival will feature performances by Ronn McFarlane, An Evening of New Music For Guitar and Others, Berta Rojas, Hilary Field, Andrew York, the Long Island Guitar Festival Orchestra, and David Starobin.
Tickets for the Long Island Guitar Festival can be purchased by mail, at the door or at the Tilles Center Box Office, which is open Monday through Saturday from 1-6 p.m. An all events pass ranges from $125- $150; concerts range from $10-$25; and master classes are $10. For more information, go to www.liu.edu/gfest.