guitar fest

East Carolina University’s School of Music will host its 24th annual Summer Guitar Festival and Workshop next week, kicking off Saturday at 4 p.m. in A.J. Fletcher Music Center and concluding Tuesday at 4 p.m. with a youth and college level competition.

The festival will begin with a performance by Dragos Ilie at 4 p.m., followed by Elliot Frank, the festival’s director and professor of guitar at ECU, and Stephen Robinson, professor of music at Stetson University performing at 7:30 p.m., according to an ECU News Services press release.

The following days will bring performances by the Kossler Duo, Andrew Zohn, Akerman Teixeira Duo, Francois Fowler and SoloDuo. There will additionally be a competition, consisting of college level and grade school students from around the United States and the world, and performance on Tuesday, the press release said.

“The festival is an important cultural event with national and international visibility. It has brought support to the guitar program through donors and recognition for the School of Music,” Frank said in a released statement.

According to the press release, the afternoon concert tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for students. The evening concert tickets are $20 for public admission and $15 for ECU students and seniors. The student performance on Tuesday is free of admission for all attending.

Robinson, the founder of the guitar program at Stetson University in 1983 and guest artist in ECU’s Summer Guitar Festival, said he has performed at venues around the world and has taught many students who have gone on to pursue their own guitar-playing careers. He said he often performs classical music and pieces his contemporaries have written.

“Performing is very important to me,” Robinson said. “I love to share my music with people all over the world. My favorite part of teaching is watching my students grow. It’s great to know that they are genuinely excited about learning and playing the guitar.”

According to Robinson, there will be students coming from various different places around the world to attend the festival and workshops and to compete in the youth and college level competitions which will be judged by guest artists.

There will be master classes held each day of the event where students will attend lessons and have one-on-one time with the guest artists, as well as an ensemble on the last day where everyone will play together, Robinson said.

“Each evening, there is a concert that will feature two artists. Saturday night it will be myself and Elliott Frank. He will be playing the first half and I will be playing the second half. Sunday evening is the Li-Zohn duo and the Akerman Teixeira Duo and Monday evening will be Francois Fowler and SoloDuo,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he performed at the festival three years ago in 2016. He said he enjoyed the venue and the audience’s enthusiasm, and he is looking forward to this years’ lineup of performances, as Frank usually brings in “wonderful” performers.

According to Robinson, he is also looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new people, teaching students attending workshops and judging the student competitions.

“I’m looking forward to performing and meeting all the students and judging the competition and seeing everyone else play. It’s a great atmosphere to be in, and there will be a lot of inspiring music to be heard,” Robinson said.

Andrew Zohn, professor of guitar at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, said he has attended the annual guitar festival every year since 1997 and will be performing in this year’s festival with one of his former students, Erdong Li.

Zohn, who has had a career playing guitar for 30 years and has performed at various venues across the globe, said that the festival is one of his “favorite things” to do during the summer.

“It is a really fun festival. I am looking forward to performing with my former student, and also hanging out with the other artists. It is a celebration of old friends and also people that share a passion for guitar. If you love the guitar, then you won’t believe the level of talent coming to Greenville,” Zohn said.

For more information on the festival and workshops, visit the event’s webpage, or call (252)-328-6245. For ticket information, call (252)-328-4788 or (252)-328-4736, or visit the Central Ticket Office’s website.

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