One may visit Loyola Marymount University’s Murphy Recital Hall and think nothing of it in relation to the guitar. However, the 216-seat venue houses some of the best acoustics for that instrument in Los Angeles.
“Murphy Recital Hall is the perfect place for the intimacy of the guitar,” said Michael Miranda, assistant professor in the Department of Music. “In fact, it is the best place in the city.”
That is one reason why Murphy Recital Hall is the location of LMU’s Guitar Concert and Masterclass Series, now in its 9th season. Top guitarists from around the world and from the most prestigious music institutions are invited to perform and teach three weekends each year. Each of the invited guitarists performs in concert and then teaches a masterclass, a series of one-on-one lessons in front of an auditing audience, on the following day. Students with various levels of skill play for the master performer and then receive a critique from him or her.
“The experience is immeasurable and completely inspirational. Not only are the master performers great players, but they are incredible pedagogues who know every aspect of playing the guitar,” said Miranda, who is also the director of the guitar series.
Past master guitar performers have included: Scott Tennant, Grammy Award-winning guitarist, USC professor and member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; Roland Dyens, French guitarist and composer; Andy Summers, guitarist for the rock band “The Police”; and Martha Masters, LMU faculty and co-director of the series, as well as an award-winning guitarist herself.
In 2005, the 1st annual LMU Guitar Festival was initiated in the spring semester to accommodate growing interest in the guitar community. The festival includes several concerts by world-renowned performers, hands-on workshops, master classes, and a vendor fair and luthier’s fair. The festival is targeted towards younger elementary and high school guitarists. Nonetheless, a wide range of performers, from junior high school students to professional musicians, attend the event.
“The series and festival have developed a large following, including students and faculty from throughout the LMU community,” Miranda said. “It has also helped LMU become known in the classical guitar community as well.”
Guitarist and composer Brian Head is the upcoming guest performer for the series, performing in concert on Saturday, Jan. 18, and giving a masterclass on Sunday, Jan. 19. Concert admission for the general public is $22; $15 for LMU faculty, staff, and students. The 4th Annual Guitar Festival will be held on March 28 – 30.
For advance tickets, call 310.338.7588. For more information about the guitar series, masterclass and festival, please visit www.lmu.edu/guitarseries.