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The Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Festival Returns

 
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –MARCH 10, 2014- For over a decade, The University of Texas at Brownsville has been host to the Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition. The second largest annual classical guitar event in the nation with as many as 300 guitarists coming from all over the United States returns Thursday March 27 through Saturday, March 29 after a one-year hiatus. 
 
Internationally known acoustic guitarists Martha Masters of California and Rovshan Mamedkuliev of Russia will be the featured artists performing and teaching students in master classes.
 
Dr. Michael Quantz directs the Bows and Frets Orchestra in preparation for the Guitar Festival which opens on Thursday.
“It’s really fitting to have Martha Masters back since she was the first artist we had when the festival began 13 years ago,” said Dr. Michael Quantz, Professor of Music and Festival Director. “She set things in motion for the event to be an annual occurrence by saying from the stage ‘you should hold the festival every year.’ I’m not sure I have forgiven her for that yet, but she’s a fantastic musician and has a warm personality.”
 
The guitar festival is open to the public in the TSC Arts Center. Master classes and clinics will be in the Arts Center and Eidman Hall. Auditors are welcome in the master classes at no charge, but performing slots are reserved for festival registrants only.  
 
Individual tickets for the concerts are available at the Arts Center box office. The doors open at 6 p.m. with seating at 7 p.m. A festival pass for all three concert nights will be available at the festival registration desk in the Arts Center lobby for $35 beginning March 27. The pass will provide admittance to all concerts. A special tribute to service personnel, active military and law enforcement officers will be admitted free of charge (with picture ID) for the concert on Thursday, March 27.
   
The festival has become a staple of the national classical guitar community, especially for high school and university programs. It has been featured in several magazines including Chamber Music and the Southwestern Musician. 
 
The main draw for the student participation is the competition, the only national level competition for guitar ensembles. The divisions for the competition range from elementary to university level and duos to groups of 20 performers. Each day of the festival is devoted to a different age category. They are awarded ratings of first, second, or third, place in their categories by a panel of accomplished music professionals who also offer coaching comments to the performers. 
 
The UTB Guitarists are a regular feature of the concerts and they demonstrate some musical firepower of their own. Known as one of the most innovative university guitar ensemble programs, they will showcase brand new combinations of instruments with guitar on a large scale at their concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27. They will bring together the string orchestra directed by Martha Placeres with the guitar orchestra to create the UTB Bows & Frets Orchestra.
 
Another innovative instrumental combination appears in Flautarra which has both the guitar orchestra and the UTB flute choir directed by Dr. Cristina Ballatori. Flautarra performed at the world’s largest music education convention last month in San Antonio, played at the National Flute Association in New Orleans last summer and has been selected from 500 applicants to play an NFA feature concert in Chicago in August. 
 
The UTB One O’clock Guitars will start the music by demonstrating the versatility of this guitar quintet in musical style ranging from almost disturbing to lively and jazzy. The One O’clock ensemble has recently been invited to tour Austria in July with five concerts which will literally span the country in some of its most well-known venues.
 
For more ticket information and to reserve tickets, call the Patron of the Arts office at (956) 882-7025. For a complete schedule of events, ticket prices and other information, visit www.utb.edu/guitarfestival.

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