September 20, 2018

Concerts, workshops and classes coming to 2018 Guitar Festival

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — For the fifth consecutive year, music enthusiasts will be charmed and inspired by the unique Guitar Festival hosted by the music department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The festival fits with the many activities planned for Hispanic Latino Heritage Month at SIU, and is scheduled for Sept. 28-29. From classical to electric, bass and jazz, this event touches on all the things that make guitar music special.

Festival to feature unique artists from around the world

guitar-festival-valentinThe weekend will be headlined by bass guitarist, composer and recording artist Aldemar Valentin. A beloved Puerto Rican musician, Valentin offers a unique perspective to the world of guitar music. Coming by way of Xalapa, Mexico, where he teaches jazz at the Universidad Veracruzana, Valentin has worked with jazz giants such as Miguel Zenón and Danilo Pérez.

Isaac Lausell, artistic director of the festival and assistant professor of music, sees the event as an opportunity to hear from some of the best in the field.

“The headline artist we are bringing in is Puerto Rican, Aldemar Valentin, and he has had a great impact on the jazz field,” Lausell said.

Cultural exchange program brings Aldemar Valentin to SIU

Valentin’s contribution is part of a cultural exchange program SIU has with the Universidad Veracruzana. Lausell and Richard Kelley, associate professor of music, will both travel to Xalapa to perform at a conference next month.

Tim Steis featured at opening gala

The opening gala concert will feature classical guitarist and luthier, Tim Steis. Steis is the protégé of the world renowned Bruce Holzman, from Florida State University. The promising musician brings a deep understanding of how to build a guitar and will offer a unique element to the festival.

“Although he [Steis] is an American player, he plays classical guitar, which is the most emblematic musical instrument in the Spanish culture,” Lausell said. “We thought both concerts would be a good opportunity to promote that side of the Latino culture, the arts and the music.”

The final special guest is also a doctoral student in the school of engineering at SIU. Arash Asadollahi will be presenting both a lecture and a recital about the Persian Setar and its culture.

Activities and events for all audiences

The festival begins Sept. 28 with a variety of events:

  • 12:30 p.m. Late registration table opens. This will be held at the back entrance of Altgeld Hall, towards room 112.
  • 1 – 2 p.m. Persian Setar lecture/recital with Arash Asadollahi. Located in Altgeld Hall room 112.
  • 2:30 – 4 p.m. Jazz composition workshop with Aldemar Valentín. Located in Altgeld Hall room 110.
  • 4 – 7:30 p.m. Evening break
  • 7:30 p.m. Opening gala concert with classical guitarist, Tim Steis. Located at the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.

The festival starts up again the morning of Sept. 29.

  • 10 a.m. Jazz improvisation master class with Aldemar Valentín.
  • 1 – 3 p.m. Classical guitar master class with Tim Steis. Located in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.
  • 7:30 p.m. Jazz recital with the Aldemar Valentín, featuring Richard Kelley, Isaac Lausell and Jay Contrino. Located in Altgeld Hall room 112.

Registration open now

A variety of ticket options are available to the public:

  • Two-day pass plus opening Gala – Includes admission to all the concerts, lectures and master classes during the entire festival - $50.
  • One-day pass - Includes admission to all the concerts, lectures and master classes for the festival on either Sept. 28 or Sept. 29 - $25.
  • Single event pass – This is good for a single admission to a master class, a lecture or a recital. $12 general audience/$6 students.
  • All events are free to students, faculty and staff of the SIU School of Music.
  • Aldemar Valentín’s recital on Sept. 28 and his master classes on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 are free to students, faculty and to the staff of SIU Carbondale with an SIU ID. Community members are required to pay admission.

To register, checks may be written to Southern Illinois University with a memo for SIU Guitar Festival. A registration form must also be completed and mailed to Betty Johnson, Southern Illinois University – School of Music, 1000 S. Normal Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901.

The last day for registration is Sept. 27. Late registration for the two-day pass is $60 and $30 for the one-day pass. Late registration is available at the offices in Altgeld Hall and on site during the festival.

Special rates are available for schools and non-profit organizations. Contact Isaac Lausell for more information at