Classical Guitar Weekend in Calgary


Over the weekend I was honoured to be able to adjudicate the MRU Fall Guitar Festival, a program presented by the Mount Royal University Conservatory as well as the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary who combined the weekend with their concert and masterclass with Denis Azabagic:

Denis Azabagic (concert and masterclasses)
Bradford Werner (adjudicator and lessons)
Darren Young (adjudicator)
The MRU Fall Guitar Festival is directed by guitarist and organizer extraordinaire Brett Gunther.

There was some extremely cold weather over the weekend but nearly all of the students made it out to play (Calgary folk are hard as nails!). Calgary has a fantastic guitar scene with many of the teachers working together to get students playing and interacting with each other as well as getting out to concerts. I was extremely impressed with the Academy trio who coincidentally played for me the last time I was in Calgary with the Victoria Guitar Trio.  There were also some great solo and duo performances. I was able to sneak into a few sessions where guitarist Darren Young, from Calgary, gave some excellent adjudications too. Big congratulations to all the students who were so kind and thoughtful and listened with such attentiveness. Way to go Calgary!

Brett shovelled while I shivered
Beautiful Calgary in minus 25 weather

The Denis Azabagic class and concert was spectacular. The masterclass was very focused and educational but with a positive and sometimes humorous touch. When Denis tells a student how to sit or hold their hands he means it! I think his accent has magical powers over students! The concert was amazing. I’ve never seen a concert where people were both so impressed and in awe of the playing combined with laughing and connecting with Azabagic’s humour and commentary. He is a real professional but also aware of how important it is to connect with the audience. Bravo.


Huge thanks to guitarist Brett Gunther for hosting me at his home and organizing the festival. Brett is an amazing guitarist but also the artistic director of the society with organizational skills to match his guitar technique! He is so positive and enthusiastic that I was quite sad to leave Calgary. I’ll just have to return sometime! Also thanks to Allison for driving me to the festival in a crazy snow storm where traffic announcers were simply saying “do not go out on the roads!”

How to stay warm in Calgary winters? Brett’s cat knows how: eat well and wear a big coat:


Good bye Calgary!


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