Guitar Program Main Content
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JULY 17 – JULY 31, 2021

Open to classical guitarists ages 14 and up, Eastern Music Festival's classical guitar program offers in-depth summer study in an outstanding musical environment. Join Jason VieauxJulian Gray, and Kami Rowan for an experience you will never forget. Participants will collaborate with other instrumentalists and delve into new territories of chamber music, pedagogy, technique, and performance. At EMF, you will spend two weeks at the leading international summer music festival, where you can re-charge your mind and spirit in a beautiful setting surrounded by world-class musicians.

New for 2021!
Arranging and Composing for Guitar – Develop the ideas and build on the practice of writing your own music and sharing your compositional voice. All participants will compose their own solo or ensemble piece during the two-week Guitar Summit.

Improvisation and Performance – Learn improvisation skills to enhance confidence in public performance.

Career Marketing and Programming – Understand how to engage a global artistic community via  programming and commissions that shape and elevate your unique strengths as a musician.

Guest Artist Sessions (to be announced).

Apply now

Private Study
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A core component of the program is the individualized instruction each participant will receive from the three guitar faculty. Whether it be polishing works already in progress, improving technique or starting new repertoire, this one-on-one time with outstanding teachers will help you refine your individual playing skills.

Classes & Seminars
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The EMF Classical Guitar Summit will feature multiple classes and seminars focusing on a variety of topics. Led by faculty, these can cover performance development, fingerboard harmony and theory, technique fundamentals, fingering technique for natural hand structure, guitar literature and history, sightreading, memorization techniques, transcriptions, score interpretation, sound response and sound capture, career options, as well as open discussions about current guitar topics and trends.

Chamber Music
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All participants will rehearse and perform with the Festival Guitar Orchestra. In addition, there will be opportunities to work in small chamber ensembles with other instrumentalists as well as guitar duos, trios and quartets.

Master Classes & Guest Artists
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Each week, guitar participants attend studio master classes led by EMF guitar faculty and visiting guest artists (to be announced). Several Young Artists will be invited to perform in master classes, which are open to the public.

Concerts & Recitals
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At EMF, you will have the opportunity to attend numerous guitar concerts and recitals featuring the guitar faculty and fellow program participants. You will also have access to all of the Festival's world-class orchestra and chamber music performances.

Sample Daily Schedule
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7:30-8:30 Breakfast
9:00-10:00 Performance Development Class
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:00 Faculty Chamber Coaching
2:00-4:00 Practice/Lessons
4:00-5:00 Master Class
5:30-6:30 Dinner/Free Time
6:30-7:30 Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal
8:00 Recital or Concert
Guitar Faculty
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JASON VIEAUX, “among the elite of today's classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is described by NPR as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Among his extensive discography is the 2015 Grammy Award-winning album for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Play. Recent performance highlights from 2019-2020 include debuts at the Domaine-Forget International Festival and Carmel Bach Festival, as well as returns to San Francisco Performances (part of an annual Artist Residency), Caramoor Festival (as Artist-in-Residence), Ravinia Festival, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Other recent prominent venues include the National Gallery of Art, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, New York's 92Y, Wolf Trap, Curtis Presents, Seoul Arts Center, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with over 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Toronto, Houston, Nashville, San Diego, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Vieaux’s multiple appearances over the years with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music@Menlo, Strings Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, etc., have forged his reputation as a top-drawer chamber musician. Regular collaborators include the Escher String Quartet, Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinists Anne Akiko Meyers and Kristin Lee, 2x-Grammy-Nominated harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and accordion/bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro.

Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Jonathan Leshnoff, Avner Dorman, Dan Visconti, Vivian Fung, David Ludwig, Jeff Beal, Mark Mancina, and many more. Recent commercial recordings include the 2019 premiere recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto with Nashville Symphony (Naxos), followed closely by the CD Dance with the Escher Quartet (Azica). Slated for imminent release is a new solo Bach recording on Azica. Of his Grammy-winning 2014 solo album Play, Soundboard Magazine wrote, “If you ever want to give a friend a disc that will cement his or her love for the guitar, this is a perfect candidate,” while The Huffington Post declared that Play is “part of the revitalized interest in the classical guitar.” Vieaux’s groundbreaking solo CD of solo arrangements of music by Pat Metheny, Images of Metheny, is an influential record in both jazz and classical circles. Vieaux was the first classical musician guest on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series, and he made a rare repeat performance in 2015 with Yolanda Kondonassis.

Since its launch in 2012, The Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar at ArtistWorks Inc., has provided tutorials and one-on-one study with Vieaux for hundreds of guitarists around the world. In 2011, Vieaux co-founded the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music, inaugurated the guitar program at Eastern Music Festival in 2015, and has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997. Vieaux’s primary teachers were Jeremy Sparks and John Holmquist, and he plays a guitar by Gernot Wagner (2013). 

Julian Gray
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Recognized as one of the most gifted and eminent performers, recording artists and teachers in the guitar world, JULIAN GRAY's career over three decades has included critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian-Sono Luminus label and concert appearances and master classes throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. His work in helping to establish the guitar duo repertoire include his many arrangements for duo with partners Ronald Pearl and Serap Bastepe-Gray and the commissioning and premieres of works by many prominent composers. His students are frequent top prize winners at major national and international solo guitar, guitar concerto, and chamber ensemble competitions, and his many former students are members of University, College, and Conservatory faculties in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is the Chair of the Guitar Department at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and is Professor of Music and Director of the Guitar Studies Program at the Shenandoah Conservatory of the Shenandoah University.

Kami Rowan
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KAMI ROWAN is Associate Professor of Music and the past Chair of the Music Department at Guilford College. Her success has resulted in a nationally recognized guitar program within a liberal arts context. The Guilford College Guitar Ensemble directed by Rowan received 1st and 3rd prizes at the Brownsville Texas Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition and has performed in Virginia, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia, Ireland, NYC, Philadelphia, New York City, Kentucky, and Texas. Kami completed her Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees in performance at Shenandoah Conservatory under the tutelage of Dr. Glenn Caluda. Rowan also studied with the renowned Aaron Shearer at UNC School of the Arts, where she received her bachelor’s degree in performance. Rowan received her NC-A Teaching Certificate from UNC-Greensboro and taught full-time for the Guilford County Schools for six years. She was part of the team that designed and put into operation the Weaver High School for Performing & Visual Arts, an arts-options high school in Guilford County. During that time, she created and implemented a complete guitar curriculum for the high school level. Rowan is currently on the board of directors of The Guitar Foundation of America, The Aaron Shearer Foundation, and is the current president of the Piedmont Classic Guitar Society. Additionally, she has enjoyed being a clinician and adjudicator for many guitar festivals and competitions on the east coast. In 2015, Rowan created the guitar program at Eastern Music Festival, where she is currently director of the program as well as faculty alongside Julian Gray and Jason Vieaux. In 2019, Rowan created and directed the US Guitar Orchestra, which played at Carnegie Hall followed by a tour of France and includes several EMF guitar program alumni.

Division I
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Division I


Undergraduate & graduate/pre-professional - no age limit

  • Semi-finals: 10-minute limit
  • Finals: 15-minute limit
  • 1st Place - $250
  • 2nd Place - $150
  • 3rd Place - Honorable Mention
Division II
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Division II

High School (Grades 9-12)

Must be currently in 9-12 grades, or have graduated in May of 2020 and not yet attending college

  • Semi-finals: 7-minute limit
  • Finals: 10-minute limit
  • 1st Place - $150
  • 2nd Place - $100
  • 3rd Place - Honorable Mention
Competition Guidelines
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Music/literature is free choice for all competitors. The same music can be repeated in multiple rounds. Three finalists will be chosen from each division. The semi-final round is closed to the public, but the final round will take place as an open concert featuring all Division I & II finalists. The winners will be announced directly following the final round and adjudicator's deliberations. All participants in the Guitar Competition must be full-participants for the duration of the EMF Guitar Program (July 18-August 1).

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Room & Board


Fees (health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key And Security)

A $500 non-refundable reservation deposit (applied toward tuition) will be due 2 weeks after acceptance notification is received to reserve a place at EMF. The remaining balance is due May 14, 2021.

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Participants who are between the ages of 14 and 23 may opt to live in the residence halls on the Guilford College campus. Residents are housed in traditional dormitory style buildings with two people per room. Meals are served in the Guilford College dining hall.

Guitar participants who choose to live off campus, or are over the age of 23, will be responsible for their own housing and meals.

How to Apply
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  1. Complete the Guitar Program Application. All applicants must complete the Guitar Program Application (available online at The deadline for receipt of completed applications and video recordings is February 21, 2021.
  2. Upload your Audition Materials. All applicants must submit a short biography (250 words or less) which includes public master classes, competitions and ensemble experience, a repertoire list and the required music files which must be uploaded through our Acceptd portal. The fee for submitting your application and audition via Acceptd will be $35 prior to January 1, 2021, and $75 thereafter. Call (336) 333-7450 x 227 for additional details.