Twente Guitar Festival 2007

The first Twente Guitar Festival was quite a success for me. I enjoyed every concert and learnt a great deal from workshops and masterclasses. The festive atmosphere around the guitar stirred my enthusiasm for the classical guitar, a feeling that I felt waning a bit after a few years of playing without guitar lessons. At the time of the festival I was in fact in the middle of a deadlock with respect to my guitar playing, but this meeting with a bunch of guitar fans provided quite a stimulation.

I would go on! Thanks to the festival, I found a guitar teacher. Since then I have enjoyed the enthusiasm of my teacher Robert Horna, which is clearly visible by the notes and scribblings on the scores of the pieces I played this year. I started to work again on the subtleties of the finishing touch (definitely not my strongest point) and public performance. I started some new pieces and reworked some very old material. Finally, I am feeling myself the remedial student, Aaron Shearer speaks about in his Learning the Classic Guitar.

Another benefit from the festival was the realisation of the idea of the guitar circle, Jolanda and I came across. The Guitar Circle has been established and will have its final meeting of the first season in July. We hope that there will be many seasons to come!

Bearing pleasant memories in mind, my expectations of the second Twente Guitar Festival were high! A perfect start for writing the report of this second edition.

Organisation of the Second Twente Guitar Festival

The long awaited second edition of the Twente Guitar Festival was planned on 17 - 20 May 2007.

Long before that date the organisers -Bobby Rootveld, Niels Ottink, Jaap Majoor (together they form The Guitar Company) plus Paul Driessen- were busy arranging teachers for masterclasses and workshops, finding a suitable location and enthusing sponsors and participants. Just like last year they had a large number of volunteers who extended invaluable help for the events.

There were a few changes in the organisation with reference to last year: This year the festival was one day longer (so there was more room for concerts) and a first round was established for the professional competition.

The Concordia Theatre did not have sufficient rooms for all masterclasses and recitals, so the organisation moved the first round of the competition and some masterclasses to the Twente Conservatory, a few blocks away.

There were considerably more masterclasses and workshops this year. Jim ten Boske, Paul Driessen, Uwe Kropinski and Bobby Rootveld were there for the workshops, Yves Storms, Denis Azabagic, Marcyn Dylla and Ulrich Steier -all players and teachers with an international reputation- gave the masterclasses.

The classical guitar was still leading in the recitals, although there was more room for the guitar in entertainment music (with some pretty heavy stuff, I must admit).

The Scharpach Competition for young players and ‘older’ amateurs (over 16) was still there. Much to my regret I must admit that I could not join in this year, because we came as DOS Amigos. With our line-up (one professional and one amateur, that’s me), according to the rules we were not entitled to join the amateur competition.

Later I found out, that we could have joined in the highest (non-amateur) category. Quite a challenge, I guess. Listening to the quality of the competitors, however, I don’t think we would have stood a chance.

Next year I’ll join in as a solo player. After all now I have got guitar lessons to help me prepare for it.

Fortunately, the dramatic arts aspect within the festival did not change. Klaus Rentzel would come up with some theatre for guitar, while the ‘snapping fingers’ entry for The Pink Panther as played by The Guitar Company in their gangster-like outfit of the Godfathers of the Guitar starts to become a classic.

A new feature was the facility for the participants from afar; the organisation could provide for hotel accommodation and meals. Quite practical if you are a complete stranger in Enschede. Good service!

Another thing which worked well was the email contact: every participant received regular updates concerning the festival, including the timing of the masterclasses and workshops.

After hearing my recount of the first edition of the festival, my duo partner Hans became enthusiastic as well. So, we -DOS Amigos- signed up in time for the masterclasses that we would share as an ensemble, we considered it very instructive to be taught by renowned guitarists as a duo.

We needed to sign up early: some preparation is necessary to enjoy an effective masterclass!