From February 6-16, the quaint little city of Castelo Branco, Portugal, about 120 miles (190 km) northeast of Lisbon, near the Spanish border, is hosting its third Festival de Guitarra, featuring both well-established professional players and promising students from the Regional Conservatory there.
Headlining the biggest concert of the festival will be Pedro Rodrigues, who has performed all over the world, and is known for his Bach (and other) transcriptions and his diverse repertoire. At his February 13 concert at the Centro Cultura Contemporanea, he’ll play pieces by Bach and Portuguese composers such as Fernando Lopes-Graça and Antonio Pinho Vargas. Then, from February 14-16, Rodrigues—a professor at Portugal’s University of Aveiro—will offer a master class. As Jorge Pires, a teacher at the Regional Conservatory of Castelo Branco and co-organizer of the festival (with Joaquim Pires and Sergio Chitas), notes, “Guitar instruction is very important to us, and this is reflected both in the programming of the concerts and in the care we give in preparing master classes as part of the schedule.”
Indeed, the focus of performances on February 6 and 7 are younger guitarists, such as Francisco Franco, who recently earned his Master in Performance in Austria and has won numerous awards and competitions, and a program spotlighting guitar students from the Conservatory. The night of February 7, Portugal’s popular Zyryab Quartet (whose name comes from a popular piece written by Paco de Lucia) will hold court at the Museu Francisco Tavares Proença Junior in Castelo Branco.
The final event of the Festival de Guitarra is a February 15 lecture by guitarist and composer Mickael Viegas centered on topics in his book, Drums On Guitar: Guitar Rudiments.
Portugal’s winters are famously mild, so the Festival could provide a break from winter, as well as ten days of fantastic guitar music.
More info and some performance clips are available on the Festival’s Facebook page.