Celebrating 63 Years of Inspired Music Making!

June 22 – July 27, 2024


EMF Guitar Faculty and students to perform at Classical Guitar Summit concert on July 26 at 8 PM at Temple Emanuel

At the heart of the Eastern Music Festival (EMF) lies an extraordinary program that has become a beacon of excellence for aspiring classical guitarists worldwide. The Classical Guitar Summit, a cherished part of EMF’s legacy, has been instrumental in nurturing the talents of young musicians and propelling them towards a future of artistic brilliance.

The Classical Guitar Summit is hosting their eighth annual concert at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 8:00 PM on July 26. The evening will feature performances of contemporary and traditional classical guitar music by the program’s students, EMF faculty members Kami Rowan and Jason Vieaux, and world-renowned Brazilian guest artist Badi Assad.

Open to classical guitarists ages 14 and up, EMF’s Classical Guitar Summit offers in-depth summer study with top instructors in an outstanding musical environment. Participants in the two-week program collaborate with other instrumentalists and delve into new territories of chamber music, pedagogy, technique, and performance.

Officially established in 2015, the program is under the instruction of Grammy Award winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the creator and director of the Classical Guitar Summit Kami Rowan. These distinguished artists and educators bring a wealth of expertise and passion to the program, inspiring participants to reach new heights in their musical journey.

“I think we would agree that one of the most exciting things about the EMF guitar program is that it’s very unique. There’s no other program like it,” said Rowan. “There’s no other program set in the context of an orchestral program. Here at EMF, our kids go to orchestra concerts, they play with other instruments, and that’s very unique in the world of classical guitar.”

All participants rehearse and perform with the Festival Guitar Orchestra. In addition, guitarists work in small chamber ensembles with other instrumentalists as well as guitar duos, trios and quartets.

The maximum capacity for the program is around 20 to 22 students per year, which helps give each student the opportunity for individual attention with the faculty.

The individualized instruction each participant receives from the guitar faculty is a core component of the program. Whether it is polishing works already in progress, improving technique, or starting new repertoire, this one-on-one time with outstanding teachers help students refine their individual playing skills.

“We wanted to do something that was really different and also just more connected with the students so that Kami, myself, and the guest artists would be regularly around the students so that even in between classes they can ask questions,” said Vieaux. “We don’t want to dilute the amount of time that they’re going to get to spend with us. We love having lunch with the students and engaging with them before going into chamber coaching.”

Each week, guitar participants attend studio master classes led by EMF guitar faculty. Several Young Artists are invited to perform in master classes, which are open to the public. These informal discussions allow students to learn from faculty experience and to exchange ideas about important issues of the profession.

The Classical Guitar Summit features multiple classes and seminars focusing on a variety of topics, such as fingering technique for natural hand structure, guitar literature and history, sight-reading, transcriptions, and many more.

Each year, the Classical Guitar Summit hosts a special guest artist to serve as another influential teaching figure for the students to have different perspectives on the guitar and music. This year, the program is hosting Brazilian guitarist Badi Assad, who is known for her experimental and out-of-the-box techniques.

“The reason we chose this guest artist was because of her specialization in being explorative and going beyond tradition,” said Rowan. “This year, one of the first things she did was a circle improv. Classical guitarists are not really used to being put around in a circle without an instrument and asked to improv. It was an amazing experience. The kids were just so excited.”

The impact of the Classical Guitar Summit extends far beyond the festival grounds. Graduates of the program have gone on to achieve remarkable success in their careers. Many have won prestigious competitions, secured positions in esteemed orchestras, and established themselves as sought-after performers and educators worldwide. The program’s rigorous training and networking opportunities have proven invaluable to its alumni, propelling them towards thriving careers in the classical guitar realm.

The Classical Guitar Summit fosters a sense of community and lifelong connections among its alumni. Graduates remain connected through EMF’s extensive network, providing ongoing mentorship, collaboration opportunities, and support in their musical endeavors. The program remains committed to nurturing its alumni long after their initial participation, ensuring a lasting impact on their professional growth.

In addition to student involvement, the Classical Guitar Summit has contributed to the promotion and appreciation of classical guitar music within EMF and the broader community. Due to the immersiveness of the program, it has been able to expand awareness for the classical music students and faculty.

Vieaux said, “We’re just another one of the instruments even though we don’t play in a proper orchestra. We get a lot of regular folks at the Guitar Summit Concert at Temple Emanuel, and we’re hoping to get them to the Dana Auditorium for the faculty chamber as well.”

“What we’ve done here is create a community of 75 guitarists that we can bring into other projects,” said Rowan. “That’s just a collaborative thing for our community, and EMF is a real kind of home base or foundation for that.”

The Eastern Music Festival’s Classical Guitar Summit stands as a testament to the enduring power of music education and artistic exploration. Through its illustrious history, world-class faculty, comprehensive training, and unwavering support for alumni, the program continues to elevate the classical guitar to new heights and shape the future of classical guitar music.