2020 Featured Artists

UPDATE 3/7/20: PLU & NW Guitar Festival Canceled due to Coronavirus Outbreak in Washington. Full refunds for registration fees will be available. Refund details will be posted ASAP.

Matthew Anderson

Matthew Anderson

A native to the Northwest, Matthew Anderson is a graduate from the Classical Guitar Performance Program at Cornish College of the Arts and an educator with an emphasis on Baroque and Latin American styles. He was a soloist at St. James Cathedral from 1997 to 2007, where he specialized in the works of J. S. Bach. A proponent of new music also, he premiered Kevin Callahan’s The Fourth Stream in 2011, which was inspired by Seattle’s golden jazz-club era and the music of Jimi Hendrix. Since 2016 he has been playing the 10-string classical guitar for the music of Egberto Gismonti, naming his project Cathedral of Trees after Gismonti’s musical compositions inspired by the rainforest.

Neil and Tamara Caulkins

Neil and Tamara Caulkins

The Caulkins Guitar Duo specializes in historically-informed performances of early nineteenth-century music from the archives. The duo also actively commissions new works for two guitars and will be premiering a three movement suite called Prelude Music by Michael Young in their upcoming concert in March, as well as playing duets by Peruvian composer Virginia Yep.

The duo has pursued a rigorous concert schedule, including performances in Spain, Canada, and throughout the United States. Their debut recording was declared “altogether exciting!” (Fanfare, New Jersey) and “a striking debut album” (Guitar Review, New York). Guitar International described the duo as “a well-matched team.” The duo’s next album will feature the music of early nineteenth-century composers Benigne Henri and Charles Claude Lebas de Courmont.

Dr. Tamara Caulkins earned a Ph.D. in the history of science for which she examined the interface between written notation systems and the movement of the body in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Mr. Caulkins’ scholarly articles have been published in the US, UK, Japan, and Germany. He recently presented his work on improvised preludes at the Altamira International Guitar Festival in Hong Kong. His article on the topic will appear in the March issue of Soundboard.

The duo maintains an occasional blog and schedule of concerts on their website:
http://www.caulkinsguitarduo.com

Leon Christian

Leon Christian

Hailed as “an excellent guitarist” (David Brandon) and “very talented” (John Sutherland), Leon Christian is celebrated for charismatically and virtuosically bringing to life a broad repertoire of musical styles. Whether playing the earliest scores transcribed for the classical guitar or even the most contemporary progressive rock compositions on electric, his engaging performances entertain and delight audiences of all sizes and ages. An accomplished classical guitarist, Leon regularly performs concerti with Northwest orchestras and in solo recitals. Leon was selected to be the first guitar soloist to perform with the Federal Way Symphony under Maestro A. Brian Davenport, performing Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” in 2013. He was also the first guitarist to perform with the Tacoma Community College Chamber Orchestra directed by Dale Johnson, performing Rodrigo’s “Fantasía para un gentilhombre”, and was invited back to perform Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s “Guitar Concerto in D major”, this time with Dr. John Falskow. Leon’s active concert schedule includes performances at notable venues such as Benaroya Hall, Seattle’s historic Sorrento Hotel, Tacoma’s Antique Sandwich Company, Jazzbones, and the Bumbershoot music festival. Leon is also staff guitarist for the Federal Way Symphony.

Mario Diaz

Mario Diaz

Mario Díaz is a guitarist, singer, audio engineer, and educator whose musical activities have taken him across the U.S. and South America. A member of the Oregon Guitar Quartet, he has also performed with Portland Opera, 45th Parallel, Fear No Music and Third Angle New Music. He is a faculty member at Portland State University and Portland Community College, Director of the PSU Guitar Series, and head of the guitar program at Young Musicians & Artists. Mario also maintains a private teaching studio in Portland and serves as a clinician and adjudicator across the region.

Díaz’s work as a soloist and collaborator crosses over into a wide range of genres and styles, from classical to rock. He has participated in three tours and two Idaho residencies with the Dave Eggar Band and has recorded with Pink Martini, the von Trapps, and Martin Zarzar. During his time at Allegro Media Group, Mario engineered and mastered over 300 recordings. In addition to teaching in the guitar program at PSU, he is a faculty member in the university’s groundbreaking Sonic Arts and Music Production program.

Mario holds degrees from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Portland State University, where he studied with composer/guitarists Bryan Johanson and Sergio Assad.

Cameron O’Connor

Cameron O’Connor

Award-winning and acclaimed as “stunning and emotive” (Eugene Register-Guard), Cameron O’Connor enjoys a diverse career in solo, chamber, and contemporary music. Recent and upcoming highlights include solo and duo recitals throughout Japan; chamber music and opera appearances with Eugene Opera and musicians of the Oregon Symphony in their Classical Up Close concert series; as a chamber music soloist at the New World Symphony in Miami; appearing as a guest artist and performing duos with Sharon Isbin at the Aspen Music Festival and School; performing with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony; and appearing under the baton of Chinese composer Tan Dun in his Eastern-tinged Concerto for Six, for which the New York Times noted that “O’Connor fluttered on his guitar strings in a manner reminiscent of a pipa player’s technique.” He is furthermore a prizewinner in many international competitions, including the Frances Walton and Tokyo International Guitar Competitions. His performances have been featured on Seattle’s Classical 98.1 KingFM, Portland All-Classical, American Public Media’s Performance Today, and KPFK’s Global Village. As a composer, O’Connor’s music has gained international recognition; his Three Northwestern Scenes was chosen for a performance at the 21st Century Guitar Conference in Ottawa, Canada, and his Perturbation Variations was the winner of both the 2019 Keene State College Call for Scores and the “Outstanding Winner” second prize at the Changsha International Guitar Festival in China. O’Connor also performs regularly for musical theatre productions on electric guitar, banjo, and mandolin, as well as in early music settings on the vihuela and lute. O’Connor was a full scholarship recipient at CSU Northridge; the Juilliard School in New York City; and at the USC Thornton School of Music. In 2015, The Thornton School recognized him as the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate.

Alexander Dunn

Alexander Dunn

Canadian classical guitarist Alexander Dunn has performed to enthusiastic acclaim in Canada, the USA, Cuba, New Zealand, Mexico, Brasil, Southeast Asia, China, South Africa, western and eastern Europe, and Russia. In solo recital, concerto, and chamber music he is consistently praised for his musicality, technique and rich sound. An experienced chamber musician, he has worked with principal players from the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver), Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik (Toronto), in duo concerts with guitarists Pepe Romero, and with numerous other musicians and vocalists. He has been a featured soloist with the CBC Vancouver Radio Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, La Jolla Symphony, Malaga Sinfonico, New England Symphony, and many major US orchestras as a guest artist with Los Romeros.

Dr. Dunn holds a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of California, San Diego, where he was a protégé of Pepe Romero. His ground-breaking dissertation, “Robert de Visée’s Theorbo Works: An Introductory Study” is highly regarded, as is his research into nineteenth century performance practice. Dr. Dunn’s extensive summer studies included nine years at the Aspen Music Festival under Oscar Ghiglia and four summers at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He is a popular adjudicator and competition judge.

Dr. Dunn is on the Board of Examiners for the Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto, and currently heads what is considered one of Canada’s top guitar programs at the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Hilary Field

Hilary Field

International performing and recording artist, Hilary Field, has garnered praise for her dynamic virtuosity, her sensitive musicianship, and for the emotional depth she brings to the heart of classical guitar music. Hilary has held faculty positions as the head of the Guitar department at Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State. Hilary is a past winner of the Northwest Young Artist Series Competition and was the first guitarist to win the Frances Walton Soloist Competition. She has released several award winning CDs, including her debut recording, Music of Spain and Latin America, which was an award winner for Classical Album of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. Other CDs include Ballad Stories, Siente, Cantilena, Airoso – guitar and viola, and Premieres. Hilary was recently sponsored by the US Embassy to perform and tour in South America, and has been a featured performer in international guitar festivals such as Festival Entrecuerdas in Chile, Festival Internacional de Guitarra ICPNA in Perú, Série Grands Concerts in Québec, the Long Island Guitar Festival in New York, and the Guitar Masters Series in Orlando, Florida. She has received grants for composing and performing new music by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture, and Artist Trust. Soundboard, the official magazine of the Guitar Foundation of America notes “Field plays everything with a refined musicality, immaculate technique, and unfailingly lovely sound.” The Seattle Times exclaims that classical guitarist, “Hilary Field, is a dynamic player. She doesn’t just recite what can often be complex work, but imbues it with fire and grace.”

Duo Tenebroso

Duo Tenebroso (David Franzen and Kristen Waligora)

Duo Tenebroso is one of the premiere emerging classical guitar duos on the scene. Their critically-acclaimed debut album from 2018 has been featured on NPR as well as Classical Guitar Magazine. Members David and Kristen have performed with legend Angel Romero, been featured on BBC, and have performed with countless orchestras and as soloists throughout Italy, Germany, Central America, the United States, and Canada. 

Kristen and David have a rare connection and sensitivity to each other, the music, and the audience that creates a magical atmosphere of electricity in their concerts and their recordings. Duo Tenebroso champions the work of female composers including new commissions and transcriptions to expand the guitar repertoire as well as many works by living composers and undiscovered classics. They play music that has never before been played on classical guitar and program a fresh mix of Romantic, Baroque, living composers, and female composers to all of their programs.

The name Duo Tenebroso is inspired by the painting style of Tenebrism which employs extreme contrasts of dark and light, with darkness being the predominant feature to allow a spotlight on the subject. In much the same way, Duo Tenebroso strives to use the language of music to illuminate the spirit.

Sam Krahn

Sam Krahn

Sam Krahn is a composer, guitarist, and teacher. His works have been performed by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble, TAK Ensemble, the Fidelio Trio, Ensemble Uusinta, Ensemble Dal Niente, Duo Gelland, the Cascade Quartet, the Acute Trio, the Artemis Vocal Ensemble, Strains New Music Ensemble, the Virginia Tech New Music Ensemble, the Gregorian Singers, Benjamin Cold, Bill Solomon, and many others. He has received numerous commissions to compose new works for Ed Harrison of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Maraca Concerto), Duo Gelland (Butoh Study #1, Resistance/Resonance), Nexus Duo (Moon Forms), Bill Solomon (Cascade/Noise Generator), Great Falls Symphony (Sounds for Silent Film), Harper College (Spring Dirge), Benjamin Cold (flux-mirror), and the Anaphora Contemporary Ensemble (String Quartet No. 1). In December of 2015, his first musical comedy, An Evening with Krampus was premiered in a 5-show run at the Phoenix Theater in Minneapolis.

He participated in the 17th World Saxophone Congress and Festival, the MATA Festival in New York City, the Source Song Festival in Minneapolis, the 2015 Root Signals Electronic Music Festival, and the 70th annual Cheltenham Music Festival in England. He received a grant from New Music USA for a new 35-minute work for saxophone and electronics and was a recipient of the 2017 Montana Arts Council Artist’s Innovation Award. Sam is a founding member of the Minnesota composer collective, 113. He also founded the Montana Improvisers Orchestra in Great Falls, Montana, and directed the ensemble from 2016-2018. He currently teaches at Green River College in Auburn, WA.

Scott Kritzer

Scott Kritzer

Mr. Kritzer’s consummate commitment to technical excellence as the solid structure beneath an unparalleled sense of musicality has brought him decades of accolades from audiences and critics alike from concert halls in San Francisco, Frankfurt, Vancouver, B.C., Los Angeles, Sapporo, Washington, D.C., and Munich, as well as debuts in London’s Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall. He was chosen by Oregon Senator Mark O. Hatfield to represent state of Oregon in a special performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Kritzer studied with Michael Lorimer and Aaron Shearer, Philip Roshegar and George Sakellariou. After graduation Mr. Kritzer was chosen as an assistant to Mr. Lorimer in a year-long master class held in North Carolina where he also gave a special performance for the late Andres Segovia.

Hailed a “champion of the living American composer” Mr. Kritzer has premiered newly commissioned works for guitar in virtually every major U.S. city and furthered his commitment to contemporary music serving as Artist Director and performer to The Third Angle New Music Ensemble from 1993-1996.

From 1996-2007 Kritzer toured with soprano Janet Chvatal. The Chvatal/Kritzer Duo performed throughout the US, Canada and Europe. The Duo recordings include Songs of the Americas, and In the Blue Hour with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Munich. Mr. Kritzer has released two solo CD’s: Romance for Guitar and his popular Classical Guitar Christmas.

Mr. Kritzer is a highly sought-after instructor of the classical guitar. His soon to be released method Primary Skills Development is currently being taught in college guitar programs and by private teachers in beta form. His annual workshop, Classical Guitar Immersion, is in its 15th season. 

Mr. Kritzer maintains an active teaching schedule and some of his past students have won regional, national and international guitar competitions and have gone on to attend such notable schools as The Julliard School, the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, the North Carolina School of the Arts and his alma mater, The San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Jessica Papkoff

Jessica Papkoff

Jessica Papkoff is an award-winning guitarist known for her intelligent musicianship, emotional intensity and clean technique. She started playing guitar at age six, made her solo recital debut at age sixteen and her concerto debut two years later in the San Francisco Bay Area as the winner of the Contra Costa Symphony’s Young Musician’s Award performing Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un Gentilhombre” with the orchestra. Jessica earned a B.A. in Music from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. Jessica has studied privately and in master classes with many of the world’s finest guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Oscar Ghiglia, Sharon Isbin, Pepe Romero, Abel Carlevaro, Michael Lorimer and George Sakellariou. Ms. Papkoff has performed solo, duo and chamber music on the East and West coasts including concerts at the Trinity Church Guitar Concert Series in New York City, the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT, U.C. Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, Tacoma Art Museum, Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, Bellevue Art Museum and many other venues. Jessica’s debut CD, Impressions, featuring the music of Turina, Villa-Lobos, Debussy, Carlevaro and others, was the winner of Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s Homegrown CD Award. Jessica has been featured on several other CDs, including those by Grammy nominee Henta Ellis, “Beautiful Creation”, and most recently on composer Randy Hathaway’s “Classical Guitar In America” which has received rave reviews and international radio airplay. Jessica also plays the French horn and is a member of the Rain City Symphony in Seattle.  www.fretgirl.com

James Reid

James Reid

Over the past forty years James Reid has performed hundreds of times throughout the United States and Canada appearing in concerts for guitar societies, colleges and universities, and for arts councils. He has been a featured artist at numerous festivals including the Sun Waves Guitar Festival in Miami, the Portland Guitar Festival, Guitar New Orleans, The Guitar and Lute Institute, The Elkhorn Festival, and the Fairbanks Summer Music Festival.  In addition, his music has been aired on many public radio and television broadcasts in the west. Mr. Reid is also the founder of the Northwest Guitar Festival and the director of the guitar program at the University of Idaho.

Mr. Reid has released eight solo recordings that have been reviewed favorably both here and abroad. He has commissioned works by Bryan Johanson, Andrew York, Maximo Diego Pujol, and Gwyneth Walker and he regularly features recent compositions in his recital programs. In addition, he performs classics of the guitar repertoire by composers such as Mertz, Giuliani, Bach, and Sor. Mr. Reid has three times given presentations at international guitar festivals; on the music of Abel Carlevaro, on the music of Maximo Diego Pujol, and on the music of Bryan Johanson. In 1998, he was the recipient of a grant from the University of Idaho Research Council to record the music of the 19th century virtuoso-composer Johann Kaspar Mertz. In September of 1999 his recording, Sounds of the Bard, was featured on National Public Radio’s Performance Today program.  More recently, Mr. Reid has released, Guitarra Americana, which features the premiere recording of Mr. Reid’s composition Homages as well as works by Abel Carlevaro, and Gwyneth Walker.

Aside from his activities as a performer and teacher Mr. Reid served for eight years as the Review Editor for Recordings for Soundboard, the quarterly publication of the Guitar Foundation of America. He has also served as a judge for numerous state, regional, national, and international competitions.

Sebastian Robles

Sebastian Robles

Sebastian Robles (2001) is the winner of the Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition and the Northwest Guitar Festival Competition. He was born in Edmonton, and began playing classical guitar with his father at age four. He has since had the privilege of studying with guitarists Carl Lotsberg, Murray Visscher, Daniel Bolshoy, and currently, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), Judicael Perroy.

Sebastian has written, produced, and recorded two progressive rock albums. His first, named “Outside,” was released in March 2018, and his second, “Has None Who Sees,” was released August 2019

In his freshman year at SFCM, Sebastian formed Bluvenduo with guitarist Joshua Shi. Together, the duo performed at Guitar Salon International in Los Angeles and had their debut concerts in the summer of 2019 in Edmonton and Calgary.

Sebastian’s studies in San Francisco are generously supported by the Winspear Fund and the Ann Burrows Foundation.

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