VANCOUVER CLASSICAL GUITAR FESTIVAL
Cuban-born René Izquierdo is a unique artist and passionate educator whose career has been dedicated to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. Whether passionately performing on stage, devotedly mentoring his students, fundraising, or leading community outreach, René's multi-faceted approach endeavors to continue creating experiences that enrich people’s lives and add beauty to our world.
Through his “unforgettable versatility, sensitivity and sublime musicianship” (Classical Guitar Magazine), René has firmly established himself as one of the world’s classical guitar virtuosos. He is celebrated for his ability to weave an unparalleled technical command of his instrument with his gift of storytelling, accomplishing
an intimate musical experience with his audience.
With over seventy engagements per year, whether as a solo performer, chamber musician, or as a guest soloist with orchestras, he has performed to critical acclaim touring extensively throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He is frequently invited by renowned festivals and institutions, having played at stages such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Manaus Opera House in Brazil, and National Recital Hall in Taiwan.
Self-described as a lifelong learner and explorer, his recording projects reflect his wide-ranging interests. Through his discography, René seeks to expand the guitar repertoire frequently performing new arrangements, lesser-known music of the 20th century as well as world premieres of concertos and new compositions.
As an educator, René is passionate about engaging the mind and the heart. Through his teachings all around the world, he shares his belief that the greatest musicians not only have the technical mastery to communicate effectively but also are deeply curious, and equally adept at analytical and emotional modes of thought.
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.
For more information please visit: www.danielbolshoy.com
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.
Itamar's music holds a depth and sensitivity that touches listeners deeply.
It blends the delicateness of Middle Eastern music, the freedom found in jazz and the passion of flamenco, creating a unique sound all his own.
Recipient of the 2014 ACUM Prize for Special Achievement in Jazz and the prestigious 2014 Landau Prize, Itamar Erez is an internationally renowned composer and guitarist who has shared the stage with such musicians as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Tomatito, Avishai Cohen, Jean-Louis Matinier, Zohar Fresco, and others.
Itamar has released two CDs with his quartet The Adama Ensemble: “Desert Song” (2006) & “Hommage” (2010). “New Dawn” (2013), is a duet collaboration with Yshai Afterman (percussion), with special guest Antonio Serrano (harmonica). His most recent CD “Mi Alegria” was released in June 2019, with special guests Hamin Honari (percussion), Ilan Salem (flute), Celso Machado (percussion) and others. Itamar performs internationally and gives workshops and masterclasses, teaching his unique approach to music and guitar playing.
In recent years, Itamar performed in Canada, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Israel, India, Tunisia, Colombia & Surinam. Itamar made his Carnegie Hall (NY) debut Apr 2018 performing with the Omar Faruk Tekbilek Ensemble with Ara Dinjkian & Brian Keane as special guests.
Among the venues and festivals that Itamar played throughout his career were: Barbican Hall (London UK), Sydney Opera (Sydney, Australia), the Jerusalem Jazz Festival (Israel), Oman Opera House, The Megaron (Athens, Greece), Schauspielhaus Leipzig (Germany), Amsterdam Jewish Music Festival (Holland), the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and others.
Itamar is currently working on new material for his next CD, and is on the guitar faculty at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School Of Music. His new book “Exercises & Etudes, an Advanced Method for the Fingerstyle Guitarist” was released March 2016.
Acclaimed for his charisma and versatility, guitarist David Sossa has fascinated audiences internationally. As a soloist, David has performed in Japan, Italy, France, Spain, England, Canada, USA, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador.
David was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Colombia. He received his early musical education from his teachers Humberto Montoya, on the
bandola and folk guitar and Gerardo Giraldo on the classical guitar. Later, he studied with Jairo Cardona, Jesus Marin, Roberto Fernandez, Dario Echeverri, and Daniel Bolshoy.
David played as first guitar at The Toronto Guitar Society Orchestra during the seasons 2011 to 2013. Among his recordings are a solo CD, which was released in December 2010 on the Salty Road label, getting over 1000 copies sold in just 2 months, his collaboration with various commercial CD recordings locally and internationally such as "The Anechoic Experience", and "Jumblesque" by Canadian composer Unthunk, and the music for two documentaries in Colombia.
Throughout his career, David has been recipient of numerous scholarships, among which are: Marie Elizabeth and William Adolphe Pal Jones (2014), Eleanor and James Wrigle (2014), Faculty of Graduate Award (2014), Faculty of Graduate Award (2013), TD Bank Financial Group Graduate Bursary (2013).
David holds a Bachelor of Music from Universidad de Antioquia and a Master of Music from the University of British Columbia. Currently, David is the Head of the Guitar Department at the British Columbia Conservatory of Music.
During his teaching career many of his students have participated in festivals and have won
competitions in Canada, USA, and Colombia. Frequently, David is invited to give lectures, workshops, and masterclasses overseas. David's solo career has been featured in different interviews at some radio stations, TV shows and newspapers in five different countries. David is a D’Addarío Artist and plays on a 2013 Joshia de Jonge guitar and on a 2019 David Villegas guitar.
Louise’s career began at an early age with many competitive successes and concerts throughout the UK.
Her musical world was opened up under the mentorship of the eminent guitarist Carlos Bonell, described as, “one of the great communicators of the guitar world”. Under Carlos’ guidance Louise’s playing blossomed leading her to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London from which she graduated with Honours in 2000.
While attending the Royal College Louise had the privilege of
working with the one of the world’s foremost classical guitarists, Gary Ryan, on both solo and guitar accompaniment. The Royal College represented an extremely intense period or performance and collaboration as well as master classes with some of the world’s most renowned guitarists. Numerous engagements within the UK were highlighted by appearances at the Trinity Chapel in Cambridge and the National Gallery and St. Martin in the Fields in London.
Following a number of years teaching at several prominent private schools and performing in London, Louise accepted a position at the Bermuda School of Music where she spent seven years teaching, performing solo and as part of the ‘Southwood- France Duo’ with acclaimed violinist and educator David France. Together they performed regularly at The Bermuda International Guitar Festival and opened The Kodaikanal International Guitar Festival 2009 in India.
Louise is now settled in Vancouver where she teaches privately and at The VSO School of Music while maintaining a full performing schedule as a soloist and as part of a newly formed duo ‘Sequoia’ with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra violinist Jennie Press.
Hanh Nguyen has been a faculty member of the Vancouver Academy of Music since 1991. She also teaches the classical guitar program at the Vancouver Community College.
She holds performance diplomas from Vancouver Community College and Western Washington University. She has won numerous competitions, including the first annual Northwest Guitar Competition. She has studied in master classes with Leo Brouwer, Pepe Romero, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco and The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
She has performed throughout Canada, United States and Spain, as well as teaching master classes and adjudicating music festivals. She also released a solo album “Amor del Mundo” in 2005.
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.