25 September, 2021 ONLINE

History and Curriculum

"Classical Minds" Guitar Festival: 2021 - our online festival was such a success, we are having an extension on 25th of September. The day will be run as a workshop. For the application, click HERE.

The workshop will feature faculty members Valérie Hartzell, Daniela Rossi, Eleanor Kelly & Mathew James.

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 had Texas flamenco guitarist, Jeremy Garcia joining the team. We were super excited to incorporate flamenco again this past April! Jeremy was on faculty at CM several years in a row. We were thrilled to welcome him back. Again, we welcome guitarists from around the world to join us for our workshop in September as long as the time difference is not too great.

Workshop Offerings for September 2021

For the workshop in September we will have four intense workshops given by Mathew James, Eleanor Kelly, Daniela Rossi and Valérie Hartzell. We will focus on Carcassi No 2: how to base dynamics on harmonic analysis, left hand work out, right hand work out, and how to practise properly. Eleanor will focus on a slur workout, separate for the Etude. The workshop will be divided into active participants and observers. At the festival it was difficult for the faculty to see if participants understood the concepts. By having active participants we can ask players to demonstrate any concepts taught. However, we understand that not everyone is comfortable enough playing in-front of each other. Participants who are active need to be intermediate or advanced. Also, on the 25th, the active participants will be encouraged to perform for the group at the end of the day. The application is conveniently located on the web site: Application.

Concert for September Workshop

At 7:30 pm on the 25th of September we will feature our faculty, Mathew, Eleanor, Daniela & Valérie in a concert via YouTube Premiere. During the interval we will feature young up-and-coming Argentinian guitarist, Youree Delvalle.

Festival Offerings (will take place in 2022)

CM festival offers private lessons, master class, workshops, guitar exhibitors, lecture recitals, faculty concerts, and a participant solo recital. The Master classes are open to observing by all participants and their family. Please come back later for more information.

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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