There’s no doubt about it: Classical guitar is exploding all over Asia, with the number of festivals and competitions growing every year, more and more  students in Asia taking up the instrument, and also, significantly, more interchange between Asian festivals and Western guitarists.

This coming August 9–13, the Altamira Foundation, headed by Hanson Yao, will stage the Second International Guitar Symposium and Competition at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, and like the inaugural event in 2016, this one is shaping up to be one of the most important guitar events in Asia this year. Last year, such notable overseas artists as Manuel Barrreuco Marcin Dylla, Marco Tamayo, Anabel Montesinos, Craig Ogden, and Ken Murray performed there, as well as leading Chinese performers, included the He Qing Duo and Xu-Tuo. (The concerts are also notable for having Hong Kong guitarists—and there are many fine ones there—begin each program.) This year’s lineup offers another strong and diverse international group, including Artyom Dervoed, Rene Izquierdo, Meng Su, Stephen Goss, Laura Snowden, last year’s competition winner Anna Likhacheva, Duo Bandini Chiacchiaretta, Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey, Elina Chekan, Adrian Walter, recent Guitar Foundation of America competition winner Tengyue Zhang, Lie Jie, Kevin Loh, and many more.

Below, the superb Russian guitarist Artyom Dervoed plays Roland Dyens’ moving Songe Capricorne:

This year, a key focus of the “symposium’ part of the event will be the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the first international guitar festival in China (Zhuai), and its key organizer, the almost legendary professor Chen Zhi from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing.  Often referred to as the “Father of Classical Guitar in China,” Chen Zhi has had a significant impact on the guitar world over the last three decades years, nurturing many talented young classical guitarists who are now major performers on today’s world stage. Several of his students will return to participate at the Symposium as soloists and ensemble musicians.

Another highlight of this year’s symposium will be an International Early Music Forum, with a focus on the 19th Century Guitar, its style and interpretive practices. Masterclasses and concerts featuring music of this period will also be presented.  Carlo Barone, Italian exponent of 19th century performance practice will conduct the Academy’s Graduate Orchestra, Philharmonia APA, in a concert of guitar concerti by Giuliani and Steve Goss. Russian guitarist Artyom Dervoed will perform two recent new works by Steve Goss, the first for guitar and orchestra based on a Paganini sonata, the other based on the well-known “Carnival of Venice” theme. Nineteenth Century guitars will be showcased by several performers during the Forum.

The competition includes both Junior Youth and Senior Youth divisions, as well as the all-important Open International Competition (which will award a total of about $50,000 in prize money alone!)

All in all it’s shaping up to be quite an event, so if you’re going to be in the area (or are looking for an excuse to go to Hong Kong, which is so beautiful and interesting even without a top guitar festival going on there), we recommend you check out this event!

For more information click here.

English guitarist Laura Snowden performs the “Cuna” movement of Mompou’s Suite Compostelana:

And here’s last year’s competition winner, Anna Likhacheva (also of Russia), playing Blagovest, by Evgeny Baev, earlier this year in Mexico: