2017 PLU Guitar Festival

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Elizabeth Brown & Stephen Howland, Directors

PLU Guitar Festival Registration Form or call 253-535-7602

Pacific Lutheran University is pleased to announce their seventh annual Guitar Festival on Saturday, March 11, 2017. This full day of hands on classical and jazz guitar workshops, lectures and concerts features PLU guitar faculty members Elizabeth CD Brown and Dr. Stephen Howland alongside exciting guest faculty and performers, featuring Gohar Vardanyan and Tim Lerch.  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. 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 2017 PLU Guitar Festival is supported in part by the D’Addario Music Foundation, the Seattle Classic Guitar Society the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society, the Rosewood Guitar and Sound Island.


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 – Classical Guitar Workshop, Elizabeth CD Brown (Room 306)
  • 10:00 amJazz Festival Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal, Stephen Howland (Lagerquist Concert Hall)
  • 11:00 amClassical Festival Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal, Elizabeth CD Brown (Lagerquist Concert Hall)
  • 11:00 am – Jazz Guitar Workshop, Stephen Howland (Room 306)
  • 11:50 pm – Lunch Break
  • 1:00 pm – Guitar Ensemble & Orchestra Concert, Elizabeth CD Brown, Stephen Howland and 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 pmClassical Guitar Workshop, Gohar Vardanyan (Room 306)
  • 3:30 pmJazz Guitar Workshop, Tim Lerch (Room 322)
  • 5:00 pmFaculty Concert (Lagerquist Concert Hall)- Elizabeth CD Brown, Stephen Howland, and guest performers Gohar Vardanyan and Tim Lerch.  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.


Register now for your 1st choice of strings!

To register please mail in the Registration Form or call the PLU Music Office at 253-535-7602. 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!

PLU Guitar Festival Registration Form


Perform at the PLU Guitar Festival All festival participants will have the opportunity to perform with the Jazz and/or Classical Festival Guitar Orchestras, which will rehearse at the festival and perform in the afternoon concert, which is free and open to the public. Music for the Festival Guitar Orchestras will be posted here in January 2017

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 10, 2017.


Additional Participant Information:


Gohar Vardanyan

Widely admired for her technique and artistry, Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has performed throughout the United States for numerous guitar societies, universities, and arts organizations. She has appeared on National Public Radio in the United States and Radio Nacional in Argentina. She has been a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Panama National Symphony Orchestra. She has been featured on the cover of Classical Guitar Magazine. Guitar International Magazine has described her as “the complete package.” Ms. Vardanyan is an author of four books from Mel Bay Publications. She is an instructor on Strings by Mail’s Lessonettes and Unexplored Repertoire Series on YouTube.

Ms. Vardanyan began studying the guitar in her native Armenia at the age of five under the careful guidance of her father, Vardan Vardanyan. At the age of eight, she gave her first public performance and also appeared on Armenian National Television. She went on to study with Antigoni Goni at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School. In 2001, Ms. Vardanyan studied with John Wunsch at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She was awarded the Young Artist’s Certificate from Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Harold Randolph Prize in performance from the Peabody Conservatory.

Ms. Vardanyan holds a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Sharon Isbin, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Tim Lerch

Currently one of the Pacific Northwests busiest and most well respected guitarists, Tim is the newest member of the legendary northwest gypsy jazz group Pearl Django. In between gigs with PD Tim tries to play as many solo guitar performances as he can fit into his schedule. Tim also plays occasionally with former Roomful of Blues front man Mark Dufresne, harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar and the Tim Lerch Trio. Also a sought after session guitarist, Tim records frequently in Seattle and Vancouver. Tim’s latest recordings under his own name are The Tim Lerch Trio – The Carriage House sessions Vol.1 and Tim Lerch Solo Guitar. In addition to his live playing and recording schedule Tim is also a well respected and popular teacher with a busy schedule of private lessons, classes and workshops. Recent activities include a feature article in Vintage Guitar Magazine, a new instructional DVD for Hal Leonard Publishing and Master Class Videos for JazzGuitarSociety.com and a regular column in Fingerstyle Forum Magazine.



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

PLU Guitar Festival

Music At PLU