URI’s 3rd annual guitar festival promises diverse sound, expansive learning

World-Class Guitarists give back, establish voice for young people in music

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Adam Levin
Adam Levin, prize winning classical guitarist and director of this year’s festival. Photo courtesy of Adam Levin

KINGSTON, R.I.- March 7, 2018- The University of Rhode Island in collaboration with Pump House Music Works will present the third annual University of Rhode Island Guitar Festival Friday, April 6 through 8. Ticket prices vary by event, all of which are open to the public.

Last year, the festival paired with the Wheeler School in Providence to include students and their families from the school. This year, the festival aims to showcase sounds from all over the world while reaching as wide an audience as possible, focusing these efforts right here in Kingston.

“Little by little we are growing this fledging guitar community into a flourishing epicenter of musical activity. This year we tout the virtuosity of some incredible music figures,” said Adam Levin, prize winning classical guitarist, instructor in the department of music at URI and director of this year’s festival.

“Our goal is to expand musical horizons and add international appeal to the festival,” said Levin. “This year, the festival will feature artists playing sounds from all over the world, including South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Croatia and more.”

Derek Gripper
Derek Gripper of Cape Town, South Africa posing with his classical guitar. Photo courtesy of Derek Gripper.

This year’s festival is about celebrating diversity in guitar genres and will showcase the global influences on the instrument. Derek Gripper of Cape Town, South Africa will perform the sounds of his country on a classical six-string guitar. Levin and Israeli mandolin player Jacob Reuven will present a set of never-before heard work by Israeli composers. Additionally, the festival will include sounds of jazz fusion from Fareed Haque and Goran Ivanovic, acoustic guitar from Peter Janson, classical guitar from Robert Bekkers and Frank Wallace, and Mezzo-Soprano Nancy Knowles.

Jacob Reuven
Jacob Reuven playing the mandolin in Venice. Photo by Luca Fazzolari.

“We hope to unify music lovers, guitar enthusiasts and students alike,” explained Levin. “Students from around New England, even around the country, can come to Rhode Island and have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best international musicians.”

Unlike past years, the first two days of the program will be held at Pump House Music Works, 1464 Kingstown Road., South Kingstown, R.I. with the third day at the URI Fine Arts Center on the Kingston Campus.

“URI is fortunate to have an artist of Adam Levin’s stature among our talented faculty in the department of music,” said Mark Conley, chair of the Department of Music. “The lineup of clinicians and performers this year is spectacular, and we look forward to welcoming guitarists from across New England as they join us for this major festival.”

One element of this year’s festival that Levin views as a highlight is the Rising Star Program, a virtual competition. The winner will be offered an opportunity to play live in next year’s festival.

“Classical musicians are often familiar with competitions that are cutthroat and tend to alienate people who are not up for that challenge,” explained Levin. “Our goal is to change the environment of competition and be sensitive to individuals who want to participate for the love of music and education.”

To be entered in the virtual program, Levin said participants must be 20 or older and must submit a 10-minute unedited video. Once videos are submitted, a panel of judges plan to strip the audio from the video and base submissions solely on aesthetics and interpretation. All proceeds from the Rising Star Program will provide scholarship opportunities for students to participate in the festival.

Levin, along with the other coordinators, hope the festival acts as a forum to showcase the diversity of guitar performance. The education and scholarship components provide world-class comprehensive education to students and music enthusiasts alike.

“The concerts are especially appealing to general audiences while master classes, ensemble workshops and lectures are open to anyone with an interest in music and the willingness to learn,” said Levin. “The diversity of musicians we have lined up for this festival makes me overwhelmingly proud. This is an event that cannot be duplicated.”

Active participation passes for the weekend include access to master classes, concerts, open mics, ensemble workshops, and lectures are available for $110.

Single day auditor passes for days two or three are $50 each. A three-day auditor pass is $80.

Tickets to concerts are sold on a show-to-show basis and are $7 for students and $12 for general admission.

In addition to Pump House Music Works, other sponsors for this event include The Augustine Foundation, D’Addario Foundation, The University of Rhode Island Department of Music, Wakefield Music Services, Alhambra Guitars, Kenny Hill Guitars, Joseph Burros, Coastal HVAC, and Aaron Green Guitars.

To learn more about the University of Rhode Island’s third annual Guitar Festival or to purchase tickets, click here.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.