June 12 - 17, 2017 at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas

Mission Statement

The "Classical Minds" Guitar Festival seeks to promote fine arts, music education as well as fostering artistic growth and creativity through the classical guitar while creating a sense of community for professionals and aficionados alike.


We are thrilled to announce that Jay Kacherski is our new Assistant Artistic Director! We are looking forward to working with him and are excited to include him on the CM team. For more about Jay, please visit his web site: kacherskiguitar.com

History and Curriculum

Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition: June 12-17, 2017
This year, “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition celebrates its 12th Anniversary as one of the premier, guitar festivals in the nation. Students come from throughout the United States, and we have hosted many international students from Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela.

Founded by Artistic Director Valérie Hartzell, her goal was to educate the community about classical guitar, and to enhance their knowledge of the instrument. For 11 years “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival happily coexisted with the Immanual and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. Both festivals grew, and it became necessary for "Classical Minds" to spread its wings and seek larger space. Last year, we were welcomed by Episcopal High School which is centrally located and easily accessible just off Loop 610 in Bellaire, Texas – just 2 miles south of Houston’s Galleria. We look forward to another year at Episcopal High School!

“Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition is open to all ages and levels of ability. CM offers private lessons, large guitar ensemble, technique and theory classes (one class for beginners and the other is designed for intermediate/advanced students), master classes, lectures, workshops. We have 2 group guitar classes for beginner middle-school and for high school/adult students which includes ensemble, technique, and sight-reading which will be run by Clara McClain and Eddie Healy. The large ensemble for int/adv high school and adult students will be conductor by Dr. Tamara McCoy. Our goal is to increase sight-reading skills, improve technique, gain performance experience, and to help our students reach their individual goals.

Open Division Competition
A competition was added in 2008, and it has grown to be a very well respected event nationwide. Students who participate not only gain extra performance opportunities, but they can list a prestigious event on applications to university music programs and conservatories.  This year we will have an Open Division which includes guitarists of all ages, up to 30 years old.

Guest Artists/Faculty
Stellar guitarists from around the world come to teach, coach, and perform. This year’s artists include a Fulbright Scholar and our artists have appeared in cities such as Paris, London, Oxford, Bogota, Mexico City, Glasgow, Madrid and in some of the most prestigious concert venues in the world. They greatly enrich the lives of both the students and the community. Concerts by guest artists are offered to the public and regularly sell out. Student recitals and the final round of the competition are free and open to the public. This year we are pleased to announce our guest artists include Rene Izquierdo, Irene Gomez, and Frank Wallace. Joining them are our core faculty members: Valérie Hartzell, Jay Kacherski, Eddie Healy, Andrea Cannon and flamenco guitarist Jeremy Garcia.

Many students return each year and renew old friendships and build new ones. They thrive under the instruction and tutelage of world-class classical guitarists. “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival & Competition strives to give individual attention to these talented students. Our greatest source of joy is to watch them become even more accomplished on their instrument as they improve in knowledge and technique.

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