2016 PLU Guitar Festival

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Elizabeth Brown & Stephen Howland, Directors

Julie DeCamp, Administrative Assistant


Pacific Lutheran University is pleased to announce their fifth annual Guitar Festival on Saturday, February 27, 2016. This full day of hands on workshops and concerts features PLU guitar faculty members Elizabeth CD Brown and Dr. Stephen Howland alongside exciting guest faculty and performers, including Stephen Stubbs, Tom Baker, Gordy Ryan and Nate Omdal.  Festival participants will have the opportunity to perform with the Festival Guitar Orchestra, 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. Thanks to the D’Addario Music Foundation festival participants will receive a set of guitar strings—first come, first served! All-inclusive price:  $60 (General), $40 (Senior) and $30 (Students, Grade 6+) Thanks to the D’Addario Music Foundation festival participants will receive a set of guitar strings—first come, first served! The 2015 PLU Guitar Festival is supported in part by the D’Addario Music Foundation, the Seattle Classic Guitar Society and the Rosewood Guitar.


All events take place in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center 

  • 9:30 am – Registration Opens (Lobby)
  • 9:50 am – Brief Welcome and Introduction (Room 306)
  • 10:00 am – Lecture/Workshop on the “Interval-Compass”, Tom Baker (Room 306) – The “Interval-Compass” is a method for seeing intervals on the fingerboard, which enables the player to break out of using scalar material and arpeggios. Based on the work of Henry Threadgill, this method can lead to some new, interesting compositional and improvisational ideas.
  • 11:00 amBeginning Jazz Guitar Workshop, Stephen Howland (Room 322) – This class is Part I of two workshops looking at the very influential tradition of jazz guitar playing and improvisation developed by the Swing jazz guitar giant, Charlie Christian.  Subjects include form, chords, rhythm and melody.
  • 11:00 amFestival Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal, Elizabeth CD Brown (Lagerquist Concert Hall) – PLU Guitar Festival Orchestra rehearsal.  Please note that this will include everything from easy to advanced intermediate parts. See the Performance box to the right for more information.
  • 11:50 pm – Lunch Break
  • 1:00 pm – Guitar Ensemble & Orchestra Concert, Elizabeth CD Brown, Festival Participants (Lagerquist Concert Hall) – This event is free and open to public and will be streamed live by the PLU School of Arts and Communications
  • 2:15 pmTalent is a Myth! Guitar Technique Workshop, Elizabeth CD Brown (Room 306) – In this hands on technique workshop we will explore ways to vary your practice routine so that you can stay engaged, rather than giving in to frustration, so that your playing can really improve.
  • 2:15 pm – Intermediate Jazz Guitar Improvisation Workshop, Stephen Howland (Room 322) – This class is Part II on the style of Charlie Christian.  Subjects include improvising with common chord shapes, added color tones, sequences, rhythm, articulations, and special guitar techniques.
  • 3:30 pmBaroque Guitar Lecture/Workshop, Stephen Stubbs (Room 306) – This session will start with a lecture on the important role of the baroque guitar, and then move on to a hands on workshop on the hand strumming used for the rasgueado technique so prevalent in baroque guitar music.
  • 5:00 pmFaculty Concert (Lagerquist Concert Hall)- Elizabeth CD Brown, Stephen Howland, and guest performers Stephen Stubbs (baroque guitar), Nate Omdal (bass) and Gordy Ryan (percussion) present a three-part performance of baroque guitar duos, classical guitar duos, and original works for latin jazz ensemble.  Featuring works by Corbetta, de Murcia, Turina, and Howland.  Admission is included in the Festival Registration, or tickets may be purchased separately.  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 please call the PLU Music Office at 253-535-7602 by Friday, February 26, 3:30pm.  We will also accept walk-up registrations on Saturday morning (February 28) from 9:30am to 10:30am. All-inclusive price:  $60 (General), $40 (Senior) and $30 (Students, Grade 6+) Thanks to the D’Addario Music Foundation festival participants will receive a set of guitar strings—first come, first served! We have nylon (classical) strings, acoustic steel strings and electric guitar strings, please indicate your choice on your registration form.  Register early to guarantee your first choice of free strings!


Perform at the PLU Guitar Festival All festival participants will have the opportunity to perform in the Festival Guitar Orchestra, which will rehearse at the festival and perform in the afternoon concert, which is free and open to the public.  We will be playing two “Canciones Populares Mexicanas” by Manuel Ponce in a 4-part arrangement, which includes both fairly difficult and beginner parts.  Sheet music in both standard notation and tab is available below for both pieces. Ensembles Also Invited to Perform! Pre-existing guitar orchestras and guitar ensembles (2+ performers) that have a prepared piece are also invited to perform in the afternoon guitar ensemble concert.  All performers should be registered participants in the PLU Guitar Festival.  Please contact festival director Elizabeth CD Brown at brownec@plu.edu if you have a group interested in performing.  Please note that proposed program information for performing ensembles is due to Elizabeth CD Brown at brownec@plu.edu by February 2, 2015.

Sheet music for “Canciones Populares Mexicanas” by Manuel Ponce

FestivalGtr1 Guitar 1 part in standard and tab notation.  Contains notes in high positions, frequest accidentals and ornaments.

FestivalGtr2  Guitar 2 part in standard and tab notation.  Contains notes in higher position (up to 7th), some accidentals and pull-offs.

FestivalGtr3  Guitar 3 part in standard and tab notation.  Contains notes on the top 5 strings, a few accidentals and hammer-ons.

FestivalGtr4 Guitar 4 in standard and tab notation.  Contains notes in first and second positions on the lowest 2 strings and a few accidentals.

FestivalPonceScore  Score of all 4 parts


Additional Participant Information:


Stephen Stubbs

Stephen Stubbs

After a thirty-year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and baroque opera specialists. Before his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany, where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste. In 1987 he founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, which toured throughout Europe, Japan and the US, as well as recording numerous CD’s. Tragicomedia has been the continuo team for the Boston Early Music Festival since 1997. Stephen is the Festival’s permanent artistic co-director along with his long time colleague Paul O’Dette. Stephen and Paul are also the musical directors of all BEMF operas. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee, and Psyché were nominated for Grammy awards in 2005, 2007, and 2009 respectively. In 2007 Stephen established his new production company, Pacific MusicWorks, based in Seattle reflecting his lifelong interest in both early music and contemporary performance. PMW’s productions have included performances of the Monteverdi Vespers, described in the press as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world”. This season brings a special collaboration with the Seattle Symphony in the form of “the Passions Project” in which the Symphony will present the St. Matthew Passion, and PMW will present its first performances of the St. John Passion. In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMW and BEMF, other recent appearances have included Handels’ Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. He made his debut with the Edmonton Symphony performing Handel’s Messiah in 2012, and conducted Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Denver. His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist include well over 100 CDs, which can be viewed at stephenstubbs.com, many of which have received international acclaim and awards. In 2013, Stephen was appointed Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music. His first major production there was Handel’s Semele in May 2014. Stephen is represented by Schwalbe and Partners.

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

Tom Baker has been active as a composer, performer, producer and educator in the Seattle new-music scene since arriving in 1994. He is the artistic director of the Seattle Composers’ Salon, co-founder of the Seattle EXperimental Opera (SEXO), an advisory board member of the Washington Composers’ Forum, and founder and president of the new-music recording label Present Sounds Recordings. Tom is a faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where he teaches composition, music theory, and electronic music. Tom was on faculty at University of Washington from 1993-2006, where he taught composition and music theory. It was at UW where he received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition in 1996 from the University of Washington, He also holds a Master’s Degree in classical guitar performance from Arizona State University. He has studied music and composition with, among others, Stuart Dempster, Chinary Ung, William O. Smith, John Rahn, and Henry Threadgill. Tom is also active as a performer, playing both acoustic and electric guitar, specializing in fretless guitar and live-electronics. Tom’s group Triptet released their third album, Figure in the Carpet, on Engine Records in 2012. In 2013, he performed an electronic concert with Anne La Berge in Amsterdam, and the two began work on their forthcoming album. 2014 brought an invitation from SEAMUS (Society for ElectroAcoustic Music in the US) to have his work for fixed digital media, What Remains, featured at their national conference at Wesleyan University. Tom has written music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, solo instrument, electronic media, and voice.  Tom has received many awards and grants for his work including awards from Meet The Composer, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culuter, and Artist Trust. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida and the Montalvo Arts Center in California. Tom’s works have been performed throughout the United States, in Canada and in Europe.  Tom’s music has been recorded on several labels, including Rosewood Recordings, Acoustic Levitation, Present Sounds Recordings, and Engine Records.   www.tombakercomposer.com


Elizabeth C. D. Brown
Elizabeth C. D. Brown - Senior Lecturer
Stephen Howland
Steve Howland


Nate Omdal

Nate Omdal

Nate Omdal is one of the most in-demand bassists in the Seattle area. He studied jazz performance and composition at Cornish College of the Arts. After Cornish Nate has continued to live and work in Seattle, performing in various groups for many of Seattle’s fine public and private events. In 2007 he co-founded an independent record label to support new and emerging northwest artists. In February of 2010, Nate as awarded a smART Ventures grant from the Seattle Mayors Office of Film and Music to produce a concert featuring the music of film composer Ennio Morricone. (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Untouchables) Most recently Nate co-founded a non-profit (501-C3) with the Seattle-based arts management company Shunpike, to help commission new jazz compositions and collaborations.

Gordy Ryan

Gordy Ryan

Gordy Ryan’s training included African music and dance at the Olatunji Center for African Culture on125th St. in Harlem, classical studies at Manhattan School of Music, and Jazz studies at Sounds of Joy in N.Y.C.  He has worked as a recording artist for albums, jingles, and film scores with players such as Olatunji, Santana, David Sanborn, Abbey Lincoln, Airto, Planet Drum, Gabrielle Roth and many more.  He toured the world with The Olatunji Drums of Passion for over 2 decades and brings his deep knowledge of African music, jazz , and funk to the master classes he leads at many locations in North America and Europe.  He carries on with passion the tradition of ‘generation passdown’ which was a focal point in the work of Babatunde Olatunji – to light the internal fire, inspire, and train those who will follow in our footsteps as creative musicians.  http://www.obatheband.com