What is Guitoberfest?

Guitoberfest is a four-week immersion program designed to take intermediate level players to a new level of learning and musical understanding.

Created by Simon Powis, this workshop is interactive and brings together four world-class musicians to offer a deep insight into repertoire and practice techniques.

Our students are dedicated amateurs and aspiring professionals, with a common love of the classical guitar. This year’s edition is aimed at Level 4 and Level 5 students (Intermediate/Advanced)

Workshop Highlights

Learning, not following.

In a nutshell:

  • 4 week program with a structured curriculum and teacher feedback working from wherever you are. No travel.
  • Guitarists from around the world who can discuss and interact in a supportive and motivating environment.
  • Focus on three pieces of repertoire and use them as a model for approaching repertoire in general.
  • Dedicated teacher feedback and interaction with all four teachers
  • Weekly challenges, assignments and discussions to aid progress and motivate your study.


October 1st: Course Welcome Meeting with Simon Powis and first course materials presented.
October 7th: Office Hours with Simon Powis
October 9th: Live Workshop with Fred Hand
October 14th: Office Hours with Simon Powis
October 15th: Live Workshop with Dr. Noa Kagayama
October 21st: Office Hours with Simon Powis
October 23rd: Live Workshop with Gohar Vardanyan
October 28th: Office Hours
October 30th: Course wrap up with Simon Powis

Please note that these dates might change to suit the group, and times will also be determined by the best time zones for the group.

The Repertoire

This years course is aimed at the intermediate to advanced player and represents a step up in difficulty from last year. There is no expectation to perform a complete rendition of any piece. If need be you can focus on one section, such as the rasgueado in the Turina, instead of trying to tackle the entire work.

  • Lesley’s Song  – Frederick Hand
  • Sevillanas – Joaquin Turina
  • Improvisation/Composition Project on a Spanish Theme – Simon Powis

The repertoire for 2016 will need to be purchased ahead of time.

Performance Anxiety and Coaching

This year has a special guest, Dr. Noa Kageyama a performance psychologist who will work with active participants on their preparation skills and anxiety. Dr. Kageyama is the author of the very popular blog “The Bulletproof Musician”.

How does it work?

Guitoberfest 2016 will start out with Lesley’s song by Fred Hand (which is a beautiful work written for his wife, Lesley) Sevillanas by Joaquin Turina (which uses rasgueado, phrygian scales, triplets and Sevilliana dance forms), and a creative project that will incorporate the musical elements studied in these works. The core material used for these studies will be pre-recorded lessons.

In addition to the pieces of repertoire we will be working on our performance skills and preparation skills with the guidance of performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama. We will continue to revisit his work throughout the month as we perform in live seminars and work on pieces individually.

Each week there will be office hours where you can meet and talk with Simon. This time is open for all active participants and can be used for questions and queries.

On the weekends we will be meeting as a group through live video conferencing and spend time with each of the invited guests. This will be a time to receive personalized feedback on videos that have been submitted and ask any questions to the teachers.

Finally, upon consultation with the group, we will aim to perform live for the CGC community. This will involve pieces studied throughout the week, or portions of them. This is a chance to deploy new performance skills learned and present the materials we have worked on. Once again, this live element with a worldwide audience will be for the group to decide as a whole. Participation is not mandatory!

Your Teachers

Frederic Hand

Fred Hand GuitarA graduate of the Mannes College of Music, Frederic Hand was a Fulbright Scholar to England and a student of Julian Bream. His solo performances, both in North and South America and Europe have received the highest critical acclaim. The New York Times wrote: “He played unerringly, with all the verve and spirit that one could ask.”

Appointed the Metropolitan Opera’s guitarist and lutenist in 1984, he has accompanied Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and many other renowned singers. Formally head of the guitar departments at SUNY Purchase and Bennington College, he serves on the faculty of Mannes College The New School for Music.

  • Mr Hand will be working on his own composition  Lesley’s Song.

Dr. Noa Kageyama

Noa KageyamaOn faculty at the Juilliard School of Music, Dr. Noa Kageyama is a performance performance psychologist who specializes in performance anxiety, and preparation. He has worked with the New World Symphony, conducted seminars and workshops at Juilliard, Oberlin, Indiana U., New England Conservatory, U. Wisconsin, Northwestern, Lynn U., U.S. Armed Forces School of Music, Starling-Delay Symposium, Music Teachers’ National Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, NETMCDO, National Orchestral Institute, Opera America, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Solo violin performances with Columbus Symphony, Central Ohio Symphony, Welsh Hills Symphony, Springfield Symphony. Broadcasts on WOSU-FM, WCBE-FM, WBNS-TV, and Israel Kol Ha’Musica. Fellowship, Aspen Music Festival.

  • Dr. Kageyama will be working with the participants on performance anxiety management, performance preparation and skills.

Gohar Vardanyan

Gohar VardanyanWidely admired for her technique and artistry, Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States for numerous guitar societies, universities, and arts organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and guitar societies in Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, and New York City to name a few. She has appeared on National Public Radio in the United States and Radio Nacional in Argentina. Ms. Vardanyan has performed with the Juilliard Opera Center and as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a guest artist at the “Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra” in Panama and the Hamilton International Guitar Festival in Canada. Guitar International Magazine has described her as “the complete package,” “with a musicality and emotional quality . . . that one would expect from someone much older than the young wunderkind. Not only is she able to draw you into her performances with engaging musical interpretations, but she has the technical facility that is required of any concert level guitarist.” Her playing has been described as “passionate,” “evocative,” and “virtuosic.”

Gohar Vardanyan is a Strings By Mail Sponsored Artist


Gohar will be working on Sevillanas by Joaquin Turina along with rasguado technique and the Sevillanas form

Simon Powis

Simon-GuitarHolding a doctorate from Yale University and maintaining an international performance schedule, Simon will be guiding you through the entire course and focusing on the creative project in this workshop.

A testimonial from a student who attended the first Guitoberfest


I had the pleasure of studying with Simon as an undergraduate at Yale University.  Simon played an influential role in my development as a guitarist and my interest in pursuing a career in music.  Prior to studying with Simon, I had been playing guitar for many years but had never received extensive training in technique and efficient practice methods.  Simon provided me with the many tools necessary for me to improve my playing and prepare me for a Master’s degree in guitar performance.  It was through Simon in which I learned the importance of practicing scales and working on technical exercises, as well as how to be my own teacher so that I could understand what methods of practicing worked for me.  In addition to giving me many helpful ideas and tips, Simon constantly pushed and encouraged me to strive for improvement and explore new opportunities, such as entering a competition and giving my first solo recital; as a result, I gained a deeper passion for guitar.  Through Simon’s guidance, I realized that I wanted to pursue guitar as a career. – Koh K.


Previous Editions of Guitoberfest





There are two ways to participate in Guitoberfest. You can be an active participant or an auditor. An active participant is involved in all of the live sessions, has access to the office hours with Simon, and will be expected to play in at least one of the live seminars. An auditor will have access to all of the materials throughout the month and can be a passive observer in the live sessions with guest teachers.

Space is limited for active participants in this workshop so early registration is recommend to secure your enrollment.

  • The enrollment fee for Active Participants is $397.
  • The enrollment fee for Auditors is $147 (and auditors will need to be a current member of CGC to sign up)

**Please note that the lessons from Guitoberfest will become available to Annual members of CGC in mid 2017.**


Enroll as an Active Participant – $397 USD

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Enroll as an Auditor – $147 USD

*You will need to be a current member of CGC to be an Auditor

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Q: I don’t know these pieces, can I still join?

A:You do not need to know any of these pieces before starting the workshop. We will go through each piece looking at practice techniques, form & analysis, and breaking down the specific techniques. If you have already played some of these pieces you will be able to re-visit and explore new aspects of the music.

Q:What teachers do I work with?

A: All of them! You will work with all the teachers in this workshop through recorded lessons (that you can re-watch as much as you like) and through live webinars where they will answer your questions and give feedback on your videos.

Q: How long do I get access to the course materials?

A: The course will finish on October 31st, but you can access all of the materials until March 2017.


Let us know your questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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