PLU Guitar Festival features workshops and concerts


Pacific Lutheran University is pleased to announce the eighth annual PLU Guitar Festival on Saturday, March 10, featuring classical guitarist Paul Galbraith and fingerstyle jazz guitarist Sean McGowan. This full day of hands-on classical and jazz guitar workshops and concerts features PLU guitar faculty members Elizabeth CD Brown and Dr. Stephen Howland alongside exciting guests. Festival participants will have the opportunity to perform with the Jazz and/or Classical Festival Guitar Orchestras, with music available in advance. All events take place at Pacific Lutheran University, in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center, with concerts held in the exquisite Lagerquist Concert Hall. All-inclusive price: $60 (general), $50 (senior) and $30 (students, grades 6+). The 2018 PLU Guitar Festival is supported in part by the Seattle Classic Guitar Society, the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society, the Rosewood Guitar and Sound Island.

Schedule of events (in Lagerquist Concert Hall unless otherwise noted):

9:30 a.m. – Registration opens, lobby
9:50 a.m. – Brief welcome and introduction
10 a.m. – Classical Guitar Orchestra Workshop and Rehearsal, Elizabeth CD Brown. This hands-on class will introduce the festival classical guitar orchestra piece for beginners through advanced players.
11 a.m. – Jazz Guitar Ensemble Workshop and Rehearsal, Stephen Howland. This hands-on class will introduce the festival jazz ensemble piece for beginners and advanced players. Electric and acoustic instruments are okay.
1 p.m. – Guitar Ensemble Concert. This concert features the classical and jazz ensembles that rehearsed in the morning. This event is open to the public and will be streamed live by the PLU School of Arts and Communications.
2:30 p.m. – Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials, Sean McGowan, MBR 322. In this workshop, we will explore the fundamental techniques of finger style jazz guitar including walking basslines and comping, chord voicing and substitutions, single-note and chordal improvisation, as well as extended techniques such as artificial harmonics and right-hand fretting.
3:45 p.m. – Classical Guitar Session, Paul Galbraith, MBR 306. Grammy award winning guitarist Paul Galbraith will do a talk-demo on Haydn, showing Haydn sonatas and talking about Haydn’s importance for the guitar repertoire.
5 p.m. – Faculty Concert. Admission is included in the festival registration, or tickets may be purchased separately. Featuring PLU guitar faculty Elizabeth CD Brown and Stephen Howland, as well as guests Paul Galbraith, Sean McGowan and Elliot Turner. Mary Baker Russell Music Center: Lagerquist Concert Hall. Tickets: $8-general, $5-senior, $3-alumni, complimentary-18 and under. This event is open to the public and will be streamed live by the PLU School of Arts and Communications.
To register, call the PLU Music Office at (253) 535-7602. For information, visit

Guest Faculty:

Paul Galbraith
Internationally renowned as a brilliant innovator of the classical guitar, Paul Galbraith has been working since the 1980s towards expanding the technical limits of his instrument, besides augmenting the quantity and quality of its repertoire. Galbraith plays a unique eight-string guitar, which he developed in 1993 together with legendary luthier, David Rubio. On this instrument, Galbraith has recorded a series of highly acclaimed albums.
Galbraith’s individual approach to guitar technique stems from an idea he had in 1984 to free the right arm from holding, or resting on, the instrument. The resulting freedom enables an unencumbered flow between movement and sound. Galbraith continued to develop and refine his new-found playing position until, by 1987, it had evolved into the cellist’s posture he is associated with today. For more information, visit:

Sean McGowan
Sean McGowan is a fingerstyle jazz guitarist who combines many diverse musical influences with unconventional techniques to create a broad palette of textures within his compositions and arrangements for solo guitar.
McGowan is an avid arts educator and currently serves as an associate professor of music and the guitar program director at the University of Colorado-Denver. He earned a DMA in guitar performance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and has conducted workshops at colleges throughout the country. For more information, visit or

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