“Terrific! Flames licking at the guitar!” -BBC Radio 3


Valérie Hartzell began her classical guitar studies on a half-size Ramirez at the age of three. At the age of six, she studied with maestro Alexandre Lagoya at the Académie Internationale d’Eté in Nice, France.
She has performed in Europe, Canada, the U.S. and has appeared on television in Nice, FR and Houston, TX. She has also been featured on National Public Radio in Texas and Alaska, the show “Women in Music” which is broadcast on CKWR, 98.5 FM Canada, American syndicated radio show, Classical Guitar Alive!, and on BBC Radio 3 on the show, In Tune. She has been featured in several guitar magazines and newspapers including The Times & Citizen (UK), The Bedfordshire Oracle (UK), Anchorage Daily News (USA), South Warrington News (UK), Warrington Guardian (UK), Ashbourne News Telegraph (UK), Soundboard Magazine (USA), Nice-Matin (FR), Classical Guitar Magazine (UK), Dronfield Eye (UK) and Gendai Magazine (Japan).

She has performed in over 30 festivals, including the Middle Tennessee State University Festival, the East Carolina University Competition and Festival in Greenville, NC, the ChamberArt Music Festival in Madrid, Spain, the Pennsylvania Academy of Music Festival sharing the stage with Eliot Fisk, Guitaromania in Agen, France, the Annual Classical Guitar Fall Festival in Oneonta, NY, the Menil Community Arts Festival at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, was the first and only classical musician selected to perform on the BBC Introducing Stage at the 2017 Latitude Festival, at the Taipei American School Arts Festival in Taiwan and most recently toured around the coast of Norway in the Arctic Circle.
In the UK, Valérie has been featured as a guest soloist for the Oxford Guitar Society, the Manchester Acoustic Guitar Society, the Liverpool Guitar Society, the Ealing Guitar Society of London, the North Wales Guitar Circle, Music on the Quantocks, The Mayfield Music Society, and in the U.S., she has performed for the New York City Classical Guitar Society, the Grand Canyon Guitar Society, the Performing Arts Society of Kenai, Alaska, the Troubadour Series at Wofford College, Triangle Guitar Society, at Arizona State University, Appalachian State University, Auburn University in Alabama, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Alaska at Anchorage, and Peck School of the Arts (Wisconsin).

In England she has performed in prestigious venues such as Warrington Parish Church of St. Elphin in Warrington, St Mary Magdalen in Geddington, the Holywell Room at Oxford University, Clare Hall at Cambridge University, and the 1901 Arts Club in London.

In Texas, Valérie has also performed with studio members of the Houston Grand Opera at the Rienzi Recital Series, Fantasia para un gentilhombre by Joaquin Rodrigo with the Kingwood Pops Orchestra, and Carols of the Southwest by Conrad Susa with the Houston Chamber Choir.
Additionally, she is an international prizewinner in 8 international competitions including 1st prizes at the 10th International Guitar Competition “Simone Salmaso” in Italy and at the Concours de Guitare Classique Heitor Villa-Lobos in France.
At the Peabody Conservatory, Valérie studied with Manuel Barrueco earning her Bachelor Degree of Music in 1997. She was awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at Radford University and was placed as Adjunct Faculty while studying for her Master Degree in Arts, receiving it in May of 1999.
Her CD, Ex Tenebris Lux, recorded at the National Public Radio studios in Houston, was released through Soundset Recordings. Her second CD ‘Presti,’ an ensemble project, was also recorded at the NPR studios.

Currently, Valérie lives in Somerset, England where she composes (published through Bergmann Edition) and maintains an active concert career both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. She teaches at Leweston School in Dorset and is the Artistic Director to the “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival held in Somerset. 

Valérie plays a Stuart Christie guitar.

Daniela Rossi is an exciting classical guitarist from Argentina. Born in Bahía Blanca and currently based in Cambridge, UK, Daniela regularly performs in Latin America, Europe and UK in solo recitals, in duets and small ensembles, for TV shows and radios.

Daniela studied guitar with Eduardo Gonzalez Velasco at the Conservatory of Bahia Blanca, where she graduated in 2006.
Daniela studied with Eduardo Isaac and Victor Villadangos in Argentina for several years. She also developed a functional way of playing with guitarist and music therapist Liliana Ardissone and Feldenkrais practitioner Nora Bandieri in Buenos Aires.
After moving to the UK, she studied with Graham Devine in London. She has also taken masterclasses from Aniello Desiderio, Pavel Steidl, Nigel North, Goran Krivokapic, Carles Trepat, Alex Garrobé, Ricardo Gallén, Máximo Pujol, Margarita Escarpa, Ignacio Rodes, Zoran Dukic, Walter Heinze, Pablo Ascúa, Silvina López, Ernesto Méndez, Dolores Costoyas, Omar Cyrulnik and Graciela Pomponio. She continues her artistic development with Paolo Pegoraro and Adriano del Sal at the Segovia Guitar Academy in Pordenone, Italy.

Awards and recognition:
Daniela has won numerous performance awards and prizes in South America and in Europe, including First Prize in the London International Guitar Competition (2015), Second Prize in the Heinsberg Guitar Competition and Festival in Germany (2017), and First Prize in the prestigious XXXVI Luis Sigall International Music Competition, Viña del Mar, Chile (2009). She was also a prizewinner at “Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Julian Arcas) (Almeria, Spain, 2015) , at “Certamen Internacional de Guitarra Norba Caesarina (2008 and 2009) and at “XII Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Ciudad de Coria” (Coria, Spain, 2008), among others.

Notable Performances:
Daniela’s orchestra debut was at age of 21 in Mexico with the University of Hidalgo Symphony Orchestra performing Concierto de Aranjuez and other concerto engagements have included performances with the Newham Phillarmonic at King’s Place (2016, UK), with the Almería City Orchestra (Spain, 2015), with the Symphony Orchestra of Chile at Teatro Municipal de Santiago and “Semanas Musicales de Frutillar” (Chile, 2010), with the Regional Orchestra of Chile at Teatro Municipal de Viña del Mar (2009), with the
Bahía Blanca Symphony Orchestra (Argentina, 2006 and 2010). She was the guest artist of London Guitar Festival at King’s Place (2012 and 2016), Segovia Guitar Week in Pordenone (Italy, 2015) Corsi Internazionali di perfezionamento musicale, Cividale del Friuli (Italy, 2014), The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle (2012), Canterbury Society Series (2009) London Festival at Bolivar Hall (2008 and 2009), Whitstable Music Society Series (2010), Homage to Agustin Barrios in Asunción and San Juan Bautista de las Misiones (Paraguay, 2007 and 2008), Festival Ramon Noble (Mexico), Festival Guitarras del Mundo (Argentina, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006), as well as many others.

Eleanor Kelly (1995) is a classical guitarist based in Merseyside, UK.

Originally self-taught, after beginning formal studies in Liverpool, Eleanor was awarded a performance scholarship and began studies with Zoltán Katona of the renowned Katona Twins guitar duo. In 2021, Eleanor graduated from the prestigious 'Máster en Interpretación de Guitarra Clásica' course at Universidad de Alicante, Spain, where she studied with the world's foremost performers and teachers including: David Russell, Ignacio Rodes, Ricardo Gallén, Hopkinson Smith, Xavier Díaz-Latorre, Tilman Hoppstock, and Roberto Aussel. In the same year, she also gained an ESTA PGCert in Plucked Strings Teaching from the University of Chichester.

Eleanor is currently completing her MMus in Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama studying with Helen Sanderson, John Mills, and Zoran Dukic. She has also taken masterclasses with Leo Brouwer, Daniela Rossi, and Sean Shibe.

Eleanor Kelly has extensive experience as a performer and recent engagements include Kings Place, London (UK), Uppsala Internationella Gitarrfestival (Sweden), and Palacio del Portalet (Spain). In 2021 Eleanor was selected as an International Guitar Foundation Young Artist and made her London debut as part of the scheme and premièred works commissioned by IGF for her. In 2020, she was awarded a EuroStrings Scholarship.

 An advocate of women in music, Eleanor specialises in lesser-known repertoire by both historical and contemporary women composers. She has premièred a number of new works by women: as an Illuminate Women's Music Artist, commissioned by IGF's La Leona scheme, and as part of the Musica Argentina Ensemble where she gave the UK première of Claudia Montero's Latin Grammy award-winning guitar concerto Luces y Sombras.leanor plays a Yulong Guo Chamber Concert classical guitar.

Classical guitar has been part of Stuart’s life since his time at university, and during first career. He is one of many luthiers who entered the profession after being inspired by Irving Sloane’s book “Making Classic Guitars”. He initially made guitars in his spare time from about 2000, finally switching careers in 2013 and setting up his professional  workshop.  Stuart is mostly self taught as a luthier, but with help from many other luthiers including Peter Barton, Stephen Hill and Pablo Requena. He has expanded on his knowledge by researching numerous published and internet resources, and by his own experience in the workshop.
His guitars are traditional in construction and sound having been influenced by Jose Romanillos, Torres and Hauser. He aims for responsive guitars which are easy to play and with a full palate of tone colours.
Stuart’s passion for guitar making is reflected in the standard of his workmanship including the rosettes and other decorative elements. His workshop is in the Hampshire countryside.

Artistic Director, Valerie Hartzell, plays a guitar made for her in 2022 by Stuart. It is based on a Torres design, but with a shorter 630mm scale, and with a raised fingerboard.

We will be bringing in Dr McCoy in autumn 2024. We are looking forward to having her at the festival in a year!

Dr. Tamara McCoy began her piano studies at the age of five in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a prize winner in several piano competitions, including the Alaska Yamaha State Piano Competition,  the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition. Tamara has also won several prizes for composition, including first prize in the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition for her Intermezzo for Piano and Orchestra, which she later performed with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.



She received her Bachelors degree in Piano Performance at Radford University where she was presented the MTNA STAR award for outstanding teaching ability. Tamara obtained her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Kentucky. She taught for three years at the University of Kentucky while acting as Head of Faculty at the Music Institute of Lexington. Tamara also served as Assistant Professor of Music on the faculty at the University of Pikeville, where she was voted KMEA District 9 College/University Teacher of the Year for 2008. Tamara has served on the faculty of the 2nd and 3rd International Piano Festivals of the City of Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil, and the Classical Minds International Guitar Festival. She has most notably performed in New York, Russia, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Brazil. 



In 2015, Tamara was awarded an Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation to tour Alaska and England, where she made her vocal and pianistic London debut. In 2016, Tamara was a featured artist on the National Public Radio through the Houston Public Media podcast Classical Classroom, where she discussed, performed and recorded Liszt’s Totentanz. In 2017, Tamara was invited and continues to be a teaching artist in the Hiland Mountain Lullaby Project, in partnership with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. In 2018, Tamara won first prize in the Alaska State and the Northwest Regional NATS Adult Avocational Voice Auditions. In 2020, she was selected to perform her composition at the Lullaby Celebration Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2021, Tamara was awarded an Adaptation and Innovation performance grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts to facilitate an Alaskan tour. In 2022, she was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship. 



Tamara studies voice in the Swedish/Italian School with Nancy Caudill in Alaska and David L. Jones in New York. In addition, Tamara maintains an active teaching schedule for piano and voice students of all ages. She lives in Anchorage with her husband Eric and her children, Kenny and Molly.