Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to what, incredibly, will be the tenth anniversary year of Boston GuitarFest.

Since its inception in 2006 the festival has grown and flourished beyond our wildest dreams and today continues to offer a truly unique vision of what the classical guitar is all about, combining some of the most glorious moments of its past with some of the most exciting and cutting-edge experiments of its present.

The theme of Boston GuitarFest X is  “The Eternal Feminine,” a phrase stolen from the last line of Goethe’s Faust, (“Das Ewig Weibliche/ Zieht uns hinan”) used by us in part in reference to the Kollwitz-Konnex, Boston College composer Ralf Gawlick’s monumental song cycle for soprano and guitar. Inspired by self portraits and diary entries of the German expressionist artist, Kaethe Kollwitz, and dedicated to the performers (Fisk and soprano Anne Harley), this piece will be featured in the June 20th evening concert of GuitarFest X.  In the same concert we will present the world premiere of a new work by Viennese composer Kurt Schwertsik, for guitar and marimba, commissioned by Boston GuitarFest with support from the Augustine Foundation.

Once again we welcome back to GuitarFest as principle guest artist Oscar Ghiglia, who will lead a series of master classes and perform works by Poulenc and Milhaud. For the first time, EMI recording artist Xuefei Yang will perform in solo recital on the evening of June 19, lead a master class on June 20, and stop by the Young Guitarists Workshop for an inspirational meet-and-greet session with our youngest colleagues.

We also welcome to the stage three superb female guitarists who have been so important to the success of the festival:  Zaira Meneses, Kim Perlak and Jennifer McNeil will perform on June 18, preceded by Maarten Stragier’s exploration of contemporary works for guitar by women composers.

Once again, Boston GuitarFest will offer its Adult Competition for performance, administered by Raley Beggs.  The eminent Bruce Holzman will return as president of an international jury, which will also include Kim Perlak and Abigail Zocher of the Berklee College of Music; Ralf Gawlick of Boston College; and Jerome Mouffe of the New England Conservatory. And, for the first time ever and in honor of the tenth anniversary of the festival, we are thrilled to announce that legendary luthier Stephan Connor of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, will donate one of his superb instruments as part of our competition’s first prize for five-day participants. All of us thank Steve from the bottom of our hearts for this stupendous gesture of love and support.

The 2015 festival is also pleased to announce the return of the Youth Competition, which welcomes students below the age of 18 to compete in one of two divisions: the Junior Division for elementary and middle school students and the Senior Division for high school students. We can’t thank the Augustine Foundation enough for their support in allowing the return of the Youth Competition, and for their incredible and continued generosity towards the festival.

On June 17 first-prize winner of the 2014 BostonGuitarFest Competition, Xavier Jara will perform our opening night concert, followed that same evening by our first ever GuitarFest Open-Mic Night which will give participants a chance to try out repertoire ad hoc for a supportive and enthusiastic audience.

In addition to the main performance competition, Boston GuitarFest 2015 will offer a youth competition for young guitarists up to the age of 17. This will be fused with the ever popular Young Guitarists’ Workshop presided over by Adam Levin, Will Riley, and Devin Ullibarri.  Building on the huge success of last year’s event this year’s YGW will extend over an entire week, from June 15 to 21, and offer a fabulously varied and exciting program for young guitarists of all levels. Levin, Riley, and Ullibarri will be joined by Colin Thurmond, founder member of the famous contemporary ensemble ToUch in a faculty recital on the evening of June 16.

GuitarFest X will again offer its competition for new compositions for guitar presided over by Northeastern University’s Anthony Paul De Ritis, who has been GuitarFest’s good angel for so many years.

Robert Bekkers will direct the ever-popular Luthiers Expo featuring superb guitar makers from all over the world and their beautiful instruments, and Scott Borg will return to lead the Boston Guitar Orchestra in a wide variety works illustrating the festival theme in unexpected ways.

Boston GuitarFest exists because of all of you.  All of us together, the entire community of sponsors, participants, guest artists and our astoundingly dedicated and idealistic staff somehow manage to make this miracle happen every year in new and surprising ways. So let me once more extend a warm invitation, and express my hope to see you with us in Boston this summer. And, as the Bard puts it,

“If music be the food of love, play on”!


Eliot Fisk
Artistic Director and Founder

Welcome from the State Offices

Music brings people together and I am so proud we hold this festival here in the Bay State.—Deval L. Patrick
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
GuitarFest has become a wonderful summer tradition in Boston. Audiences come to learn more about different cultural traditions and to enjoy the extraordinary musical performances.—Edward M. Kennedy
Late US Senator from Massachusetts
Boston GuitarFest is a perfect example of music’s ability to traverse geographic, cultural and ethnic boundaries and as a confirmed amateur guitarist I know it will also be a lot of fun. I encourage musicians and everyone who appreciates their work to become involved in this important cultural celebration and I thank NEC and Eliot for making Boston GuitarFest a reality.—John Kerry
US Secretary of State
GuitarFest is a great celebration of music and culture, and there’s no better place for this festival than along Boston’s Avenue of the Arts. This weekend is a terrific opportunity for people to come together, enjoy wonderful performances, and share their love of music.—Elizabeth Warren
US Senator from Massachusetts
I welcome Boston GuitarFest as it continues to showcase the cultural advantages of the city of Boston, and to provide us all with the opportunity to hear wonderful music, played at its best.—Barney Frank
Massachusetts Representative
This festival is an opportunity to experience a diverse showcase of musical talent, including the work of many gifted guitarists. I welcome performers and festival attendees to Boston and hope you enjoy your visit.—Michael E. Capuano
US Congressman from Massachusetts