to the sixth edition and the first online/virtual edition of Miami International GuitART Festival (MIGF) at the Florida International University School of Music. It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Artistic Director of MIGF. The 2020 has been dominated by the covid-19 pandemic and marked by global, political, and social upheaval. With more than 100 million cases, the spread of covid-19 has already tragically cost the lives of more than 2 million people worldwide. Among the millions of jobless people, artists are also devastated financially by the pandemic. Thanks to our sponsors, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Cornelia T Bailey Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and many other individual and corporate sponsors, we are able to continue supporting artists.

Since the inaugural edition of the MIGF in 2016, the festival continues to present successful programs to more and more audiences, local, nationwide, and international. We will be presenting another wonderful group of artists in the upcoming 2021 festival celebrating Miami’s Latinx heritage with thirty virtual events, including eighteen concerts, four lectures, three workshops, two panels, luthiers expo, and concert artist performance competition semifinals and finals.

Featured artists participating in the festival include virtuoso guitarist and composer Yamandu Costa (Brazil), Luis Zea (Venezuela), Badi Assad (Brazil), Rene Izquierdo (Cuba), Choro Das Tres (Brazil), Marco Sartor (Uruguay), Alieksey Vianna (Brazil), Angelito Agcaoili (The Philippines), Virginia Yep (Peru),  Susana Frade (Cuba), Duo Con-Trastes (Cuba), Jose Luis de la Paz (Spain), Felipe Carvajal (Costa Rica), Diego Alonso (Peru), Fabio Adour (Brazil), Rafael Padron (Cuba), Marco Battaglia (Italy), Robert Trent (U.S.A.), Emiliano Leonardi (Italy), lelyzaveta Pluzhko (Ukraine), Freddie Bryant (U.S.A.), Federico Bonacossa (Italy), Cihat Askin (Turkey), William Coulter (U.S.A.), Edwin Huizinga (Canada), Sam Desmet (Belgium/U.S.A.), Ciyadh Wells (U.S.A.), David Dolata (U.S.A.), and myself.

The annual MIGF Composition Competition has been presided by the renowned composer Orlando Jacinto Garcia, who is joined by two other distinguished judges for evaluating the competition submissions: the award-winning composer Carlos Rafael Rivera (University of Miami) and the Fulbright scholar/composer Jacob Sudol (FIU). Deadline for submissions to the Composition Competition is November 16, 2020.

The Virtual Concert Artist Performance Competition jury members include Luis Zea, Rene Izquierdo, Javier Jose Mendoza, Adam Levin, Fabio Adour, Frank Koonce, Marco Sartor, Rafael Padron, Robert Trent, Federico Bonacossa, David Dolata, and Sam Desmet. Applications with video submissions to the performance competition is due by February 5, 2021.

Lectures and workshops will be presented by Yamandu Costa, Badi Assad, Freddie Bryant, Marco Battaglia, Sam Desmet, Ciyadh Wells, David Dolata, and Federico Bonacossa.  The panel discussions will focus on two important issues: diversity and community outreach in performing arts. Panelists include Freddie Bryant, Ciyadh Wells, Brenton Alston, Pioneer Winter, John Stuart, Mark Hart, Adam Levin, Federico Musgrove, and Maria Elena Villar. The Luthiers Expo will be presenting wonderful guitars of the talented luthiers in the festival. Luthier registrations with video submissions continue until February 1, 2021.

The MIGF has been a successful annual festival thanks to all guest artists, our generous sponsors at all levels, tireless student volunteers, and audiences. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible for us to accomplish this tremendous task of organizing a major international festival and making it a successful contribution to the lives of South Florida residents and in general to the music and guitar world. Thank you so much for sharing our excitement and joy of being part of this great festival. You can view the photos and videos from the festival events here on the media pages, as well as the festival facebook page and youtube channel.

I look forward to connecting with you virtually in February 2021, 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


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