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Appalachian GuitarFest begins April 1

mearns_t.jpgAndyPage_t.jpgFrank_t.jpgMattPalmer_t.jpgBOONE—The 16th Annual Appalachian GuitarFest will be held April 1-3 at Appalachian State University. The annual event features solo competitions for college-age and public school age-classical guitarists. In addition, featured artists will present master classes and perform in concert.

The master classes are offered free of charge but an admission of $20 for nonstudents and $10 for students will be charged for each concert.

Guitarist Alan Mearns, and the Andy Page Trio with Andy Page, Zack Page, Jim Tanner, guitar and Rick Dilling will perform April 1 at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Recital Hall on campus. The program includes classical works by Granados, Bach and Chopin, and contemporary works by Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker and Andy Page.

Elliott Frank and Matt Palmer will perform April 2 at 8 p.m., also in Broyhill Music Center’s Recital Hall. The program features works by Mangore, Bach, Rodrigo, Asencio and others.

Winners of the competition will perform April 3 from 1-4 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center.

A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Alan Mearns moved to the United States at age 16. He earned a degree in music performance from Appalachian and pursued graduate studies at Austin Peay State University. He is a past winner of the Appalachian GuitarFest competition. Mearns has had music published by Mel Bay and Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, and was commissioned to write a tone poem, “The Vastness of the Sea,” for the Appalachian Summer Festival.

He currently tours Europe and America with his own brand of sophisticated songwriting which lies somewhere between John Dowland and John Lennon. His latest recording, “Night Horses,” will be released by End of the World records later this year. Mearns also composes and plays traditional Irish music as a member of The Belfast Boys. He currently resides in Hickory with his family.

Andy Page maintains an active schedule in the Southeast with a variety of jazz and rock ensembles. He has performed internationally at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Japan’s Muroran Jazz Cruise, and for jazz workshops in Friburg, Germany. He worked in the cruise ship industry in the South Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and also traveled with a nationally touring theatrical production.

Page has performed private engagements for former President Bill Clinton and poet Maya Angelou, and has performed informally with jazz artists such as Matt Wilson, Gary Smulyan, Don Braden, Chris Vidala, Jack Wilkins, Jon Metzger and David Baker.

He has a master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in music performance from UNC Wilmington.  He is a member of the Hayes School of Music Faculty at Appalachian.

Elliott Frank has appeared as a solo recitalist, chamber player, and concerto soloist throughout the Americas and Europe. This past season, he presented performances for the 2010 Mediterranean Guitar Festival in Cervo Italy, the Sea and Guitars Festival in Vrsar, Croatia, the Festival Kras in Farra d’Isonzo, Italy, and the inaugural  Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra Villa Caletas in Herradura, Costa Rica.

He has also performed for the Tampa Classical Guitar Festival, N.C. Bach Festival, Appalachian Guitar Fest, Columbus State University Guitar Symposium, and East Carolina University Summer Guitar Festival, where he also serves as director.

An aficionado of guitar music of Hispanic cultures, he has performed lecture/recitals pertaining to the music of Antonio Lauro for the Guitar Foundation of America at international festivals in Pasadena and New Orleans.

Matt Palmer ranks among the elite virtuosos of his generation of classical guitarists. Recipient of the 2010 “Up and Coming Guitarist of the Year” award by Guitar International, Palmer is gaining worldwide recognition as a virtuosic and soulful concert artist.  His performances have been described as “powerful and emotional,” and “highly expressive and technically virtuosic.”  An active performer, winner of numerous international guitar competitions, and author of the method “Effortless Technique,” he is emerging as a major force in the modern guitar world.

Primarily self-taught as a youth, Palmer began his formal studies at age 20 at Middle Tennessee State University, and received his M.M. at Appalachian State University.  Palmer is currently in the final stages of a D.M.A. degree at the University of Arizona.

Palmer has performed and lectured at numerous guitar festivals including The Las Vegas Guitar Festival, Tennessee Guitar Festival, Interlochen Guitar Festival, WIU Guitar Festival, Tucson International Guitar Festival, Appalachian GuitarFest, and Texas A&M Guitar Symposium.