February 27, 2012

Peabody Preparatory celebrates the guitar with Fret Festival

The Peabody Preparatory Guitar Department will present its third annual Fret Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, on the Peabody Institute’s Mount Vernon campus. A daylong celebration of the guitar, the 2012 Fret Festival will offer workshops with Peabody Preparatory and Conservatory faculty members, arts and crafts activities for kids and a vendor fair featuring Kirkpatrick Guitars and local luthier David Pace. Peabody guitar alumna Martha Masters will also conduct a master class and perform in a special concert concluding the day’s events.

The Illinois Times wrote that Masters “is on a swift and certain trajectory to star territory.” Her playing has been described as “seductive” (Fort Worth Star Telegram), “intelligent and natural” (Guitar Review) and “refined and elegant” (American Record Guide). She has received critical acclaim as a solo recitalist, as a chamber musician with Duo Erato and as a soloist with orchestras.

Masters’ first CD, Serenade, is now in its second printing, and her Naxos recital disc sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide in the first year of its release. Her recording of Italian music was released in 2006 on the GSP label, and a recording of early-20th-century Spanish music was released on GSP in 2009. Masters’ book, Reaching the Next Level, aimed at experienced guitar students, was published in 2010 by Mel Bay and has received critical acclaim.

In addition to leading the guitar program and the LMU Guitar Festival at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Masters teaches annually at the National Guitar Workshop Classical Summit in Connecticut and on WorkshopLive.com. She also is president of the Guitar Foundation of America, which supports the instrument, its players and its music in the U.S. and throughout the world. Masters studied with Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1994 and her master’s in 1996. Her master class and recital at this year’s Fret Festival will provide a rare opportunity for hearing one of Peabody’s most distinguished guitar alumni teaching and performing live at her alma mater.

“The annual Fret Festival is a wonderful event for guitar students of all ages, their families and guitar teachers that has been highly successful in years past and is eagerly anticipated, as its popularity has grown each year,” said Carolee Stewart, dean of the Peabody Preparatory. “We look forward to welcoming guitar enthusiasts from throughout the greater Baltimore area, as well as our own students, to this exciting day.”

Registration opens at 9:30 a.m., and the master class starts at 10 a.m. A variety of workshops follow mostly concurrent tracks, with classes geared for children, parents, teenagers and adult students.

Preparatory faculty members teaching at the 2012 Fret Festival include Benjamin Beirs, Zane Forshee, Zoe Johnstone Stewart, Aaron Lubliner-Walters, Scott Matejicka and Steve Yankee.

A special Conservatory Ensemble showcase with Conservatory faculty member and Guitar Ensemble coordinator Serap Bastepe-Gray and Preparatory Guitar faculty member Zane Forshee will feature performances by the Conservatory’s finest young artists in the Guitar Ensemble Program, plus a guitar orchestra of Preparatory and Conservatory students. The vendor fair, and arts and crafts activities for kids, will be available until 4 p.m., with Masters’ recital at 6 p.m. ending the day.

The 2012 Fret Festival is made possible in part by support from the D’Addario Music Foundation.

Ticket prices range from $10 to $40, depending on whether the buyer is a current Preparatory student and whether he or she will attend classes, the recital or both. Special family rates are available. Individual participants can enjoy a full day with workshops, special performances and the guest artist recital for $30. Advance registration is encouraged; walk-in registrations will be accepted on the day of the event as space permits. For the complete schedule and a registration form, go to www.peabody.jhu.edu/fretfestival.