VANCOUVER CLASSICAL GUITAR FESTIVAL
Hailed for his innovative and eclectic musical career, Benjamin Verdery tours regularly throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, performing at venues and festivals including Ottawa ChamberFest, 92Y Kaufmann Auditorium, Verona Guitar Festival, Guitar Festival of Belgrade, International Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Taxco (Mexico), Theatre Carré (Amsterdam), the International Guitar Festival in Havana, Wigmore Hall (London), and Metropolitan Opera in New York.
As a recording artist, Ben has released more than 15 albums and has recorded and/or performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony
Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey, John Williams, hip‐hop artist Billy Dean Thomas, beat box/vocal percussionist Marc Martin and Nano Stern.
A prolific, published composer in his own right, many of Ben’s compositions have been performed, recorded and published (Doberman‐Yppan, Alfred Music) over the years. He has composed works for The Assad Duo, guitarists David Russell, Scott Tennant, David Tanenbaum, John Williams and John Etheridge, The Changsha International Guitar Festival, the Chilean Guitar Ensemble, the Pensacola Guitar Orchestra (FL), Kyo‐Shin‐An Arts (NY), Wake Forest University, Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and the score for the documentary film Corida Goyesque. Ben’s Scenes from Ellis Island, for guitar orchestra, has been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet included it on their CD, Air and Ground (Sony Classical).
By turn, many of the leading composers of our time have created music for Ben, including Ezra Laderman, Daniel Asia, Martin Bresnick, Bryce Dessner, Javier Farias, Aaron Kernis, John Anthony Lennon, David Leisner, Hannah Lash, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel, Christopher Theofanitis, and Jack Vees.
Ben owes much to his guitar teachers Philip De Fremery and Frederic Hand, both of whom he studied with at SUNY Purchase. The Master Classes he took in Arles, France with Leo Brouwer were seminal for Ben as well. He continued his studies with his mentor Anthony Newman and still receives coaching from his other mentor, Seymour Bernstein. He will always feel greatly indebted to what these and many others have given him over the many years.
Since 1985 Ben has been guitar professor at the Yale School of Music, Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar series since 2007 and Producer of his Maui Summer Master Class since 1999. Ben is also an Honorary Board Member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Benjamin Verdery is represented by GAMI/Simonds
Dr. DANIEL BOLSHOY
Daniel Bolshoy is a Senior Lecturer in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, where he directs the guitar program. An Israeli-Canadian guitarist, he has performed as a soloist with over sixty orchestras internationally including the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Volgograd Symphony (Russia), and the symphony orchestras of New Mexico, Modesto, Fresno, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kingston, Victoria, Okanagan, Saskatoon, Nova Scotia, as well as the Chamber Orchestras of Israel, Pennsilvania, Manitoba, Ottawa, The Northwest Sinfonietta, and many others.
He has recently completed a tour of concerts and master classes in China, including a residency at the Beijing central conservatory.
Similarly, he has been invited as faculty in residence at the Federal UniversitySimilarly, he has been invited as faculty in residence at the Federal University of Goias in Goiania, Brazil, the Rubin Academy of Music in Israel, the conservatories of Alessandria, Milan and Turin in Italy.
Dr. Bolshoy holds a D.M. Degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Denver, where he studied with GFA hall of fame artist Ricardo Iznaola.
Bolshoy’s students have won scholarships to leading Universities and Conservatories and have won awards in competitions, including the The Guitar Foundation of America youth competitions, the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, The Northwest, Louisville, Florida State, and Alabama competitions as well as the Parkening, and the Alessandria (Italy) International Guitar competitions.
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DR. BRENT CRAWFORD
Dr. Brent Crawford is quickly establishing himself among the important Canadian guitarists of his generation. As a performer, through his competition wins at the Montreal International Guitar Competition, the Great Lakes International Guitar Competition, the inaugural Hamilton International Guitar Competition, the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals' National Music Competition, and the
Domaine Forget International Academy, he has received praise from both audiences and adjudicators alike. His first full-length album, Celebrated Guitar Solos, was released in 2021. A list of recent
performances includes a live broadcast at 96.3FM's Zoomer Hall, the Mediterranean Guitar Festival in Cervo, Italy, the Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, the inaugural TEDx talk in Algonquin Park, and an
on-stage role in the UTSO’s production of the Donizetti opera Don Pasquale.
Brent is a graduate of the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Toronto (Nov 2018). His doctoral research was dedicated to training the next generation of musician through promoting performance excellence. Specifically, his research focused on adopting methods and techniques from athletics to form a more rounded, multifaceted approach to performance preparation for guitarists. This published thesis, “In Pursuit of Guitar Excellence: the Effects of a Multifaceted Approach to Performance Training” can be found online. Invested in the future of the classical guitar, Brent has secured professional membership positions with three major music boards across Ontario, including the Guitar Society of Toronto, the Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, and as Head of the Peel Music Festival's guitar section.
Born and raised in Toronto, Brent started playing guitar at age 8, studying under Richard Summers at the Toronto Guitar Institute. Continuing his musical education with Robert Kubica at the University of Western Ontario, he finished his studies with extensive work under the tutelage of Dr. Jeffrey McFadden at the University of Toronto. Brent maintains a busy teaching schedule with a private studio, is active as both a soloist and a chamber musician, and also finds opportunity for community outreach in the Greater Toronto Area.
Brent performs on a 2009 cedar guitar by Paulino Bernabé.
Alec Pearson enjoys a career based in Vancouver where he currently serves as sessional instructor of guitar at the University of British Columbia. Alec has performed both solo and in ensemble across Canada, Spain, Colombia, Greece and the U.S. He currently serves as president of the “Vancouver Classic Guitar Society” where he works to organize many concerts, lectures masterclasses and social events.
Alec holds the degree “Máster en Interpretación de Guitarra Clasica” from the Universitat d’Alacant in Alicante, Spain, where he studied with an array of the best guitarists in the world, including; David Russell, Pepe Romero, Manuel Barrueco, Roberto Aussel, Paul Galbraith and Fabio Zanon to list a few.
Prior to studying abroad, Alec earned a Masters degree from the University of British Columbia where he studied with internationally renowned Canadian guitarist and his longtime mentor Daniel Bolshoy. In 2012 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Montreal. He was born and raised in Calgary where he first received exposure to the guitar under the tutelage of Jose Fermin. During his youth, he was an active member and performer in the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary and began his own teaching career at the age of 17.
LUIS ANGEL MEDINA
Directing the festival is Luis Medina, an avid performer and teacher across North America. He is the recipient of the Silver Medal from the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition and holds a Masters degree from the University of Georgia in Athens. Luis’s career has taken him to perform in various cities in Europe, China and all over North America.
Luis Medina began his formal studies enrolling in the Music Diploma at the University of Guadalajara at the age of fifteen. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Guitar performance from University of British Columbia and a Music Diploma from Capilano University. He received his Masters of Music degree from the
University of Georgia in Athens under the mentorship and guidance of acclaimed Canadian guitarist Dr. Daniel Bolshoy where he functioned as Guitar Teacher Assistant. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Director's Excellence Award which recognizes students for excellence in musicianship, scholarship, leadership, and service.
Luis is now back in the Lower Mainland where he continues to promote the guitar through teaching, performing and organizing public events that lead to the spread of music in the larger community with the aid of the Vancouver Classic Guitar Society. He has made appearances as soloist, performing Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s first guitar concerto with A Little Night Music Orchestra and other occasions. He currently serves as music director of the Elgar Strings. Luis aims to inspire others by sharing his love for music, and to bring the classical guitar to the larger community.