History and Curriculum

"Classical Minds" Guitar Festival: 2021 - like many other organisations, the health and safety of our participants and faculty are our 1st priority. We are keeping an eye on the development of the vaccine and UK government regulations before announcing the date of the 2021 Classical Minds. In the meantime, we at Classical Minds hope you and your family are keeping safe.

2018 marked the 14th Anniversary of this 6-day educational event held every June in Texas for those who play or appreciate classical guitar. Renowned concert artists and educators came from throughout the world to teach, coach and perform in concerts and recitals. CM took place in Houston, Texas for 14 years and has now moved to England! Our first UK "Classical Minds" took place in the village of Foxton at Foxton Village Hall in March 2020, just outside of Cambridge (Hardman Road CB22 6RN).

The festival is open to all ages from middle school through college and graduate school plus adults who study privately or just enjoy playing. 

Guest Artists/Faculty

Past faculty included Gohar Vardanyan, Matt Palmer, Adam Holzman, Rene Izquierdo, Ernesto Tamayo, Martha Masters, flamenco guitarist Jeremy García, Kithara Duo, Irene Gomez, and so many more from around the world. In England, we are looking forward to including guitarists from around the UK and Europe. This year included Daniela Rossi, Valerie Hartzell, Raymond Burley, and CM Festival Assistant, Mathew James.


CM offers private lessons, master classes, guitar orchestra, guitar classes, workshops, guitar exhibitors, and a guitar orchestra recital on the last day as part of the faculty concert. The Master classes are open to observing by all participants and their family. Application is conveniently located on the web site: Application.


Saturday, 14 of March featured a lecture recital with Mathew James and an evening concert on 15 of March featured virtuoso guitarists Daniela Rossi and Valérie Hartzell. To watch the soloists plus the guitar orchestra who were joined by Raymond Burley and Mathew James, please visit our YouTube Channel

They Come Back

When CM was in Texas, many students returned each year and renewed old friendships and build new ones. They thrived under the instruction and tutelage of world-class instructors. We strive to continue this wonderful tradition in England.


Valérie Hartzell founded Classical Minds Guitar Festival in 2004 as an Institute of the Immanual and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston. The goal was to educate the Houston community about classical guitar and to enhance knowledge of the instrument. As both festivals grew, it became necessary to seek a new venue with more space. In 2016, Classical Minds moved to the campus of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas. 

In 2018, Hartzell decided it was time to bring this festival to England where she currently lives.

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.

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