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An entire day devoted to the art of the guitar, with a host of world-class performers presenting a variety of styles, technique and artistry, including jazz, classical, flamenco and an impressive display of fingerstyle guitar. It will be a first for Sedona.

Craig Ramsell, Whacky Music, Inc., and Sedona Cultural Park are pleased to announce the Sedona International Guitarfest, Saturday, June 9th, at the Red Rock High School Auditorium, with all profits to be donated to music education programs in Sedona public schools. 

Tim Sparks

The concerts include a U.S. debut performance by Tierra Negra, a "flamenco nuevo" duo from Germany, performances by two National Fingerstyle Champions, Steven King and Tim Sparks, a rare Sedona appearance by international jazz guitar legend and “touch”-style virtuoso, Stanley Jordan and performances by Peppino D’Agostino (fingerstyle), Benjamin Verdery (classical) and William Coulter (Celtic), with both solo and duo performance by the latter two artists.  Four workshops will be presented by different artists, two on different fingerstyle techniques, and one each on classical and flamenco techniques.  All workshops are open to all who hold day passes, workshop passes or workshop tickets and all skill levels are welcome.

The day begins at 9 a.m., with workshops devoted to different styles, and continues with both afternoon and evening concerts, with an optional catered “dinner with the artists” between the concerts and a scheduled conclusion before midnight.

The afternoon concert begins at 3 p.m. and features three artists.  Steven King is a National Fingerstyle Champion with an incredibly wide-ranging repertoire, has been playing guitar for 35 years and has created a unique "trio" sound with simultaneous walking bass lines, melodies, chords and rhythms.  In addition to original compositions, King "dusts off great songs, freshens them with ingenious arrangements, then plays them on guitar with the fullness of a small ensemble." 

Benjamin Verdery, who has performed and taught master classes throughout Europe, North and South America, and Japan, has been called a "great guitarist possessing an astonishing technique."  Verdery's recording of 15 of his original compositions won the 1992 Best Classical Guitar Recording in Guitar Player magazine. 

William Coulter has been performing and recording traditional music since 1981, including three albums of Celtic Music, and "elevates folk music with a refined, pristine and very much alive artistry."  Coulter and Verdery’s recent collaboration, Song for our Ancestors, has been called "a journey made of songs and spirit, steel and nylon, intricate strands and braids of sound."

The evening concert, beginning at 7:30 p.m., features four acts.  Peppino D'Agostino has been touted by Jazziz magazine as a "phenom in the same league with John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Doc Watson and John Renbourn."  The self-taught D’Agostino masterfully combines elements of jazz, classical and folk in a musical style that's impossible to pigeonhole and yet is reminiscent of his Mediterranean heritage. His mastery of the fretboard includes the frequent use of a variety of alternate tunings.  

Sedona International Guitarfest is proud to present the U.S. debut performance of Tierra Negra.  Coming to Sedona direct from Germany, this duo, consisting of Raughi Ebert and Leo Henrichs, have been playing "flamenco nuevo" together for the last 12 years.  Their beautiful original compositions range from fiery to mysterious and contemplative.  Their performance of Henrich's song, Tapas, was recently selected by the Narada label for inclusion in a new flamenco collection, and they richly deserve to be introduced to U.S. audiences. 

Tim Sparks is a National Fingerstyle Champion and widely regarded as one of America's most accomplished guitarists. Tim's recent focus on arranging and performing Jewish music for solo guitar has produced some astounding music, and his releases have been highly rated by Acoustic Guitar and Downbeat magazines.  Leo Kottke says, "I'm one of Tim Sparks biggest fans. . . He's really one of the best musicians I know." 

Stanley Jordan, widely regarded as the first "Touch”-style virtuoso, is legendary for having brought the two-hands-on-the-fretboard tapping technique to an unprecedented musical level, with the orchestral complexity of a keyboard instrument.  His Magic Touch album (1985) was #1 on Billboard's jazz chart for 51 weeks, received 2 Grammy nominations and certified Gold in the U.S. and Japan.

The workshops will be presented by King, Verdery, Sparks and Tierra Negra (Ebert and Henrichs).  King’s workshop at 9 a.m. is “Fingerstyle Voices: Simultaneous Melody, Chords and Bass Lines in Standard Tuning.”  Verdery will present “Classical Style and Technique” at 10 a.m.  Spark’s workshop at 11 a.m. is titled “One String Leads to Another: Multicultural Ideas for Fingerpicking.”  At 1:30 p.m., Tierra Negra will present “Flamenco Nuevo Guitar: Rumba Flamenca Style.”

Seating for the Guitarfest is limited. Day Passes, good for all workshops and both concerts, are $80, or $100 to include dinner with the artists.   The Platinum Pass includes premium concert seating and dinner for $125.  Concert Passes (good for both concerts) are $55, or $75 to include the dinner.  Individual concert tickets are expected to go on sale June 1, if seats are still available.  Workshop Passes (good for all workshops) are $35, and individual Workshop Tickets are $15, with a student discount to $5 per workshop, at the door only and with valid student ID.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, contact the Sedona Cultural Park Box Office at 520-203-4TIX (x253) or 800-780-ARTS (x 253).

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