Gerald Garcia – Biography

Gerald Garcia – studied Chemistry at Oxford  University  and  now lives in Oxford.

When not performing as a guitarist in Borneo or the Arctic Circle, he writes music and conducts and trains ensembles.

His ’25 Etudes Esquisses’ for guitar solo  have been recorded for NAXOS by John  Holmquist and Alison Bendy and his music has been played and  recorded by David Russell, Craig Ogden, the Amadeus Duo, the Eden-Stell Duo, Xue Fei Yang,the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and John  Williams. His compositions have also been performed or recorded by the Oxford Concert Party and the early music ensemble Charivari Agreable.
His concerto for 2 guitars based on  themes collected by Garcia Lorca (the Lorca Concerto) has been  performed throughout Europe and is a staple of the guitar duo repertoire – it has recently been recorded on the  Hanssler label by the Amadeus Duo and with the National Youth Guitar Ensemble by the Eden Stell Duo.
His concerto for violin, guitar and strings (Concerto Romantico) was  performed in February 2013 to a capacity audience in Vilnius Congress Hall by the Lithuanian State Symphony with Vilhelmas Cepinskis and Sergej Krinicin
His  orchestral and choral music has been performed at  the Festival for Youth and Music two years  running and he has written many guitar and orchestral works.
His music and arrangements have been published  worldwide by Mel Bay, Holley Music, ABG  publications, Guitarissimo and Cramer.
His teaching experience has included educational  workshops with Kent Opera, English National  Opera and the Academy of St.Martin-in-the- Fields.

He is a regular tutor at the International Guitar Festivals in Iserlohn, Germany and West Dean, UK.

He is at present musical director of the National Youth Guitar  Ensemble which brings together young guitarists  from all over the UK to play guitar orchestral  pieces, some of which have been commissioned for the group.
He has taken part in and created music workshops for both school children and teachers in Britain and Scotland and is a popular adjudicator at music festivals around the world.
As a session guitarist he has been heard in many films scored by Gabriel Yared, Michel Legrand, Stanley Meyers and Philippe Sarde, amongst others.
He has recorded more than 14 CDs with Naxos, Meridian, Acoustics and Saga which have sold more than 50,000 copies world-wide.
He has performed with many other musicians  and actors, notably guitarists Paco Peña, John  Renbourn and John Williams, and performs in a  duo with Alison Bendy and with Simon Mayor’s  Mandolinquents as well as in an occasional  Irish”ensemble” with Mick Henry, Bernard  O’Donoghue, John Pethica and Tom Paulin.
In October 1995 he toured China in a duo with  guitarist John Williams playing to audiences of  tens of thousands of Chinese guitarists and teaching at Beijing and Shanghai conservatoires.
He has been invited back to China more recently with teaching posts at Guangzhou, Beijing and Chengdu.

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Changsha Festival 2020

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited 3 years in a row and the dates and registration details for the 2020 festival are here. Owing to the pandemic, some of the festival will be held online.

There’s also an article below about past festivals by the estimable Steve Mann and links to various performances and media.

Registration start date:Sept. 30, 2020

Preliminary round video submission deadline: Nov. 15, 2020

Notification of finalists : Nov. 30, 2020

Open group final round video submission deadline: Dec. 17, 2020

Youth group final round video submission deadline: Dec. 10, 2020

Children group A & B final round video submission deadline: Dec. 10, 2020

Price of registration is $10. 

More information can be found on the official website: http://guitar.org.cn/ 

Article by Steve Mann

Changsha Guitar Festival: what is it and what does it mean?

At first this seems like an easy question: various guitar competitions with national and international guests giving concerts, lectures and master classes for the duration of about a week in the city of Changsha, southern China.

On a certain level this is true, but the more I think about it the more I realize it is so much more and that it means very different things to different people.

To start with something that I know a bit about, I can say what the festival means to me. I first went to Changsha in 2015 to help write articles on the event.

I was impressed with the atmosphere, which felt like a cross between a symposium, a set of music concerts, a party and a ‘Chinese style fun for all the family’ competition.

There were many fascinating and well known guests there that year, but I was somewhat in awe of one of them in particular – Roland Dyens.

With Roland being fresh off the plane, and looking quite grumpy, I didn’t quite know how to approach him to ask him questions for the articles I was writing. When I saw him in the breakfast the next day he was working on his laptop and so I sat with some of the other guests. He then came over and showed us what he had been ‘working on’. One of his friends had copied a picture of him having just got off the airplane in Changsha and pasted it next to a scruffy fugitive off some international wanted list! We all laughed hysterically. (In all honesty there was quite a bit of similarity between the two photos). At that point I realized that he was a wonderful talented human being, but with his own unique skills, quirks and charm. In many ways Changsha guitar festival is like this for me; it is a place where these great artists that we hold in high esteem can meet and be part of a grassroots development of the guitar in fun friendly way, with its own unique characteristics.

Festival organisers and friends

Over the years, I have got to know the organizers, helpers and regular attendees at the festival and I am aware of the massive investment of time, money and energy that goes in to this event.

For them the meaning of the Changsha Guitar Festival is probably something much more personal with the main organizers Mr Li and Xuefei Yang working around the clock to make the festival each year better than the last. The logistics and organizational skills required for arranging such an event are vast, with guests, competitors and sponsors all needing to be taken care of. Both organizers put a lot of skin in the game and they always go the extra mile, with Mr. Li’s team doing anything they can to make people welcome, such as helping one of the international competitors to find an artificial nail at 10 o’clock at night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaaJyc5Hy98

(Xuefei Video: A Moonlit Evening on the Spring River for Classical Guitar and Chinese Flute)

As for the competitors and guests (Gerald has visited three times), they all have their own individual reasons for visiting. Although I do not know these reasons, I see people leaving the festival with faces that show they have had a wonderful time there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmFc7xnT2UE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6xBhmDxH8

Interview with guests: Johan Smith and Lazhar Cherouana

Regarding the 2020 Changsha Guitar Festival, due to the pandemic situation it will be held later this year with a part held at the Changsha venue and a significant part held online.

The details have finally been fixed but please feel free to check in with the festival website given below.

Vsit here for the official Changsha Guitar Festival Website:

http://guitar.org.cn/

More videos can be found on the official YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC64XKw_Qs_ApWfaCeO8E0cA

Here are some happy moments from past years

Berta Rojas and Xue Fei Yang
Kenneth Kwan, Ben Verdery, Xue Fei, Mark Eden, Ekachai Jearakul
Xue Fei, Paolo Pugliese, Clive Carroll
Damon Smallman and Ingrid Riollot
Raphael Feuillatre and Jihyung Park
The team of helpers
Mr.Li with young players
Cheers!
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