Adelaide International Guitar Festival Hits the Right Note with Audiences

By: Jul. 21, 2014

Winter may have kicked in but the action was smoking hot at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival over the weekend.

The biennial Adelaide International Guitar Festival has again struck a chord with audiences who flocked to the Adelaide Festival Centre over the past four days to celebrate the world's most popular instrument.

Audiences soaked up the eclectic mix of more than 300 artists who strummed, plucked and picked their way through a long weekend of pure guitar entertainment.

This year's Spanish theme was a particular hit as internationally renowned composer and performer José Antonio Rodríguez kicked things off on Thursday night with a moving performance in the Festival Theatre. His amazing trio was supported by Adelaide's first lady of flamenco, Areti Boyaci and her colouful and creative company Flamenco Areti. From there, the Festival just kept on delivering memorable and moving moments as everyone immersed themselves in the world of guitar.

Other 2014 Festival highlights included:

- The Máximo Pujol Trio had audiences spellbound with its emotive and moving performances throughout the Festival. Standout bandoneónista Eleanora Ferreyra was totally mesmerizing.

- Pepe Romero proved why he is described as the world's greatest living classical guitarist, with one reviewer describing Romero as playing with "grace, style and immaculately controlled passion". Truly legendary.

- The Festival Gala on Saturday night was a delicious tasting plate of Festival talent. The exquisite performances by the Australian String Quartet had the audience captivated as they accompanied the stars of the 2014 lineup.

- The performance by the 80-strong inaugural Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra was a logistical and artistic triumph. Led by the hugely talented Dr Paul Svoboda and including his Aurora Guitar Ensemble, this was an amazing spectacle that will live on in hearts and minds of the young players and their amazed audience. A dream come true for these kids.

- Another amazing young talent is 23-year-old local Andrey Lebedev who played the Dunstan Playhouse on Friday, showing off the style that won him the Classical Guitar Competition in 2012. This year's deserving winner of the competition was the gifted Romanian player Bogdan Mihailescu, 23, who wowed the judges with his technique and extraordinary talent.

- The UK's electric guitar master Guthrie Govan had his sold out crowd rocking with his energetic shredding.

- Just the speed with which he moved his skilful hands along the guitar made it hard to fathom the true brilliance of Stochelo Rosenberg and his trio. The talented Dutchman paid homage to the king of gypsy jazz Django Rheinhardt in a truly mind blowing performance. The standing ovation and deafening applause said it all.

- The Festival Finale in the Space Theatre on Sunday provided an intimate and informal night to remember as international stars played alongside local and national performers in a night of surprises. When Pepe Romero took to the stage with Brazil's Yamandú Costa, Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan and the Australian String Quartet's Sharon Draper everyone in the room knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment of profound musical clout.

Heading up his third festival, Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan said he was thrilled with this year's event: "The past four days at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival have filled me with an immense sense of happiness, pride and excitement. We have showcased emerging young talent, established guitar stars from around the globe, plus world-class masters such as Pepe Romero, Stochelo Rosenberg, Debashish Bhattacharya and Máximo Pujol. Adelaide audiences have yet again embraced everything that this festival has come to represent - a true celebration of the world's most popular instrument. This year's Spanish component in the program also strengthened our connection with our sister event, the Córdoba Guitar Festival in Spain. This is a culturally rich collaboration which will continue to grow in the future. From the opening note on Thursday night to the closing standing ovation on Sunday night, this has been one of the most memorable events of my life and one that will resonate in my heart for years to come."

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier said: "The reviews speak for themselves - the Adelaide International Guitar Festival has again been a triumph of artistic brilliance, guitar genius and pure entertainment. The Adelaide Festival Centre was buzzing over the four days as enthusiastic crowds soaked up the huge variety of performances, exhibitions, master classes, talks and much more. Artistic director Slava Grigoryan has yet again injected his passion for guitar into this amazing festival, culminating in a long weekend of world-class action.The Adelaide Guitar Festival Orchestra was a triumph of young, local talent and the overall program proved to be just the right balance of genres, energy, artists and entertainment."

Media were also amazed by the calibre of guitar talent and musical genius on offer:

"From the first memorable chord of the instantly recognisable concerto there was a sense of being in the presence of a master. Romero... was commanding, relaxed and focussed in turn, smiling at the audience in orchestral sections and nose to the fretboard at moments of musical complexity. One word to sum up? Legendary." - Limelight

"What an artist Rodríguez is: both solo and with his trio, this concert of instrumental pieces was a demonstration of just why he's become quite the international sensation" - The Advertiser

"...the highlight of this gala concert came at the end with Argentine guitarist Máximo Diego Pujol in a work of his own, Luminosa de Buenos Aires. Modeled on Piazzolla and up there with the master himself, this was supremely enjoyable tango music, and expertly played by his trio and the ASQ. Their combined musicianship took flight, and hearing it once was not enough." - The Australian

The Adelaide International Guitar Festival thanks The South Australian Government through Arts SA, Fox Creek Wines, Yamaha Music Australia, The Adelaide Review, Adelaide City Council, The Hills Cider Company, Coopers Brewery, InterContinental Adelaide, Jim Redgate Guitars, Savarez, Marsh Advantage Insurance, Hughes Limousines, Avanti Card, Limelight Magazine and Australian Guitar Magazine.