to the Miami International GuitART Festival (MIGF) at the Florida International University School of Music, which will present eleven concerts, five masterclasses, three lectures, and a composers panel, as well as a composition competition and luthiers expo.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Artistic Director of MIGF inaugural edition, which has been a dream of mine for a long time. Since I came to Miami, where is a home to so many wonderfully talented guitar artists, and started teaching at FIU School of Music as the director of guitar studies, we have been building a strong guitar program with many outstanding students coming from all around the world. As part of the guitar program, I started the FIU Miami Guitar Orchestra in the fall of 2013 and after presenting six concerts in Miami and Miami Beach during the past two seasons, I am proud to say that we have build a loyal following!

As a result of tremendous support from the FIU School of Music as the primary sponsor of the festival, as well as invaluable contributions from the Miami Classical Guitar Society, FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios, Miami Turkish Consulate, Savino Music, Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs, Turkish Airlines, FIU Stocker AstroScience Center, and Florida Turkish American Association, we present you a festival with a wonderful group of artists from all around the world, led by the great American master Benjamin Verdery, who personally has been an inspiration for me first as teacher at Yale and later as colleague. The festival concerts will feature Benjamin Verdery (Yale University), Stephen Aron (Oberlin Conservatory), Robert Trent (Radford University), John Schneider (Pierce College), Trio Anka (Turkey) with Kagan Korad (guitar), Demet Gökalp (cello), and Ayhan Ustuk (tenor), Duo Con-Trastes (Cuba) with Zuleida Suárez and Susana Frade, Miami Guitar Trio with Federico Bonacossa (Italy), Federico Musgrove (Argentina), and Corey Harvin (U.S.A.), Felipe Carvajal (Costa Rica) and his flamenco group, Molina Duo with soprano Marisa Molina and guitarist Carlos Molina (Cuba/U.S.A.), Celso Cano (Nova Southeastern University), and myself.

The composition competition will be presided by the extraordinary composer Orlando Jacinto Garcia (FIU) and joined by two other distinguished judges: the award-winning composer Carlos Rafael Rivera (University of Miami) and the Fulbright scholar/composer Jacob Sudol (FIU). The competition welcomes the young and emerging composers’ submissions of new guitar compositions for solo, duo, or trio in two age categories. There will also be a composers panel among the festival events with non-guitarist and guitarist composers discussing various issues of writing for guitar. The Luthiers Expo will be presenting a wide variety of wonderful guitars of the talented luthiers in the Frost Art Museum, which will also be hosting a special exhibition “The Shakespeare’s First Folio” during the festival.

Masterclasses will be conducted by Benjamin Verdery, Stephen Aron, Robert Trent, Kagan Korad, and myself (open to students of all ages and levels, but there are only 24 spots, don’t wait long to enroll in the masterclasses). Among the lectures are the Grammy winner John Schneider’s presentation of music in just intonation by Lou Harrison, the early music specialist Dr. Robert Trent’s presentation of 19th century performance practice, and the Spanish luthier Amalia Ramirez’s presentation of legendary Segovia and Ramirez Collaboration. The festival will also present many talented young guitarists in a Student Showcase Concert.

I look forward to seeing you in the last week of February 2016 as we celebrate the music, our beloved instrument, and the Art in general. Who wouldn’t agree with what great Manuel de Falla said,

“The harmonious efforts which our guitarists produce unconsciously represent one of the marvels of natural art”!

Mesut Özgen
Artistic Director and Founder