REVIEW: 2024 MIGF 9th Edition

By March 10, 2024News

Read a review of the MIGF 2024 written by Dr. Koh Kazama on March 10, 2024:

2024 Miami International GuitART Festival 8th Edition

The ninth annual Miami International GuitART Festival at Florida International University directed by Dr. Mesut Özgen, director of guitar studies at FIU, was a unique guitar festival showcasing the wide range and diversity of the guitar. A variety of genres were heard throughout the festival, from classical to Turkish music to jazz. Events included concerts, workshops, lectures, masterclasses, a luthier expo, and composition competition from February 16-25, 2024. The lineup of guest artists included the Jorge Caballero, Anatolian Ensemble, Latin American Folk Blend, Rafael Padron, Los Hermanos Calero, Gradus Jazz Trio, and many more.

The festival opened with a concert by the Latin American Folk Blend, which featured Héctor Molina on cuatro and guitar, Saúl Vera on mandolin and bandola, and Luciana Kube on cuatro and voice. Their program included a variety of music from various countries in South America, including Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia.

In the following night, the Anatolian Ensemble played a concert of Turkish and Sufi music. The ensemble featured Cihat Askin on violin, Yelda Özgen Öztürk on cello, Mesut Özgen on guitar, and Neva Özgen Kösoglu on kemençe, which is a traditional Turkish bowed instrument. The program covered a wide range of Turkish music, from traditional to folk to modern. Hearing Turkish music and a traditional Turkish instrument was a unique experience for the listener, and the ensemble played each piece with great expression and musicality.

Other concerts included 19th Century music played on period instruments by Marco Battaglia and Robert Trent, the FIU Miami GuitART Orchestra directed by Mesut Özgen, Rafael Padron, Laura Mazon Franqui, Los Hermanos Calero, Koh Kazama, and the Gradus Jazz Trio (Enrique Lleida and Pablo Lleida on piano and bass guitar, and Santiago Lleida on drums).

One of the highlights of the festival was a solo concert by guitar virtuoso Jorge Caballero, who’s program included his recent transcription of Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, S. 178. A monumental work for piano, Caballero showed masterful musicianship and technique in executing this piece on guitar. He also played two compositions of his own, “Nocturnal Creatures” and “O King Dreaming”. The latter won the Miami International GuitART Festival composition competition of 2023. Inspired by Luciano Berio’s “O King”, Caballero’s “O King Dreaming” expressed sounds evoking interrupted sleep or dreams, as well as percussive effects that created the illusion that there were two instruments being played. Caballero’s virtuosity was truly mind-blowing and inspirational.

In addition to the concerts, lectures and workshops were presented by Cihat Askin, the Anatolian Ensemble, Marco Battaglia, Mesut Özgen, and David Dolata. Topics were diverse, ranging from traditional Turkish and Sufi music to articulation, phrasing, and ornaments in music of the Classical and Romantic periods. Masterclasses were taught as well by festival artists, including Jorge Caballero, Robert Trent, and Rafael Padron. Amid all the events there was also a luthier expo that featured local and international makers.

The Miami The festival also held a composition competition once again. This year’s winner was Victor Ibarra from Mexico/France who composed “Suddenness.” An honorable mention was awarded to “At the Shore” by Per Dybro Sørensen of Denmark.

International GuitART Festival was filled with events that showed the breadth and versatility of the guitar. It was a unique festival that included all types of guitar and various genres of music. It is rare that one will hear Turkish music, jazz, classical music, and Latin music in one guitar festival. This was a festival not to be missed, and we hope that you can join us for next year’s edition of the Miami International GuitART Festival!

Dr. Koh Kazama