9-11 April, 2021 ONLINE

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. The show must go on! However, it's going to happen safely and therefore, online. Participants will receive a Zoom link once they pay their registration fee. A separate Zoom link will be sent to them for their individual private lessons. Concerts, Exhibition and lecture recitals will take place via YouTube.

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. Our 16th year takes place online which opens the door to participants from all over the world. 

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, Randall Avers, Frank Wallace, and so many more from around the world. In England, we are looking forward to including guitarists from around the UK and Europe. 2020 included Daniela Rossi, Valérie Hartzell, Raymond Burley, and CM Festival Assistant, Mathew James.

In 2021, Houston meets England! We have Texas flamenco guitarist, Jeremy Garcia joining the team who are Daniela Rossi, Mathew James and Valérie Hartzell along with new faculty member, Eleanor Kelly. We are super excited to incorporate flamenco again! Jeremy was on faculty at CM several years in a row. Welcome back! 


CM offers private lessons, master class, workshops, guitar exhibitors, lecture recitals, faculty concerts, and a participant solo recital. During our breaks, Zoom will remain open so participants can chat with each other and with the faculty. The Master classes are open to observing by all participants and their family. The application is conveniently located on the web site: Application.


There are two evening concerts this year: First will be Artistic Director, Valérie Hartzell and flamenco guitarist, Jeremy Garcia, on Friday, the 9th of April at 7:30pm and then, on Saturday, the 10th of April we will feature Eleanor Kelly and Daniela Rossi. This year, we also have two lecture recitals. On Friday, the 9th of April Mathew James will gives us a lecture on Cuban repertoire and on Sunday, the 11th of April, Eleanor Kelly will give a lecture recital on women composers. Please go to the Events page for full schedule and event calendar.

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. Covid will not stop us from meeting again, and thanks to technology we will make that happen. A festival is not just about learning and making music; it's also about making friends and connections.


Valérie Hartzell founded the "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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