2018 PLU Guitar Festival

Saturday, March 10, 2018

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 the eighth annual PLU Guitar Festival on Saturday, March 10, 2018, 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, Grade 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.


All events take place in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center 

  • 9:30 am – Registration Opens, Lobby
  • 9:50 am – Brief Welcome and Introduction, Lagerquist Concert Hall
  • 10:00 am  — Classical Guitar Orchestra Workshop and Rehearsal, Elizabeth CD Brown, Lagerquist Concert Hall –  This hands-on class will introduce the festival classical guitar orchestra piece for beginners through advanced players. We will cover various techniques, the Tango rhythm and rehearse Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango.”
  • 11:00 am  — Jazz Guitar Ensemble Workshop and Rehearsal, Stephen Howland, Lagerquist Concert Hall – This hands-on class will introduce the festival jazz ensemble piece for beginners and advanced players. Electric and acoustic instruments are okay. We will cover the parts, style, and techniques; we’ll rehearse the piece in sectionals and as a full group; and there will be open choruses for improvisation.
  • 1:00 pmGuitar Ensemble Concert, Lagerquist Concert Hall – 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 pm — 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 & comping, chord voicing & substitutions, single-note and chordal improvisation, as well as extended techniques such as artificial harmonics and right-hand fretting.
  • 3:45 pm — 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.
  • 5:00 pmFaculty Concert (Lagerquist Concert Hall)  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. Featuring works by Presti, Kruisbrink, Karmon, Scriabin, Albeníz, Howland and McGowan. 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 is the only Festival event for which individual tickets will be sold.


Register now to save your spot!

To register please call the PLU Music Office at 253-535-7602. All-inclusive price:  $60 (General), $50 (Senior) and $30 (Students, Grade 6+), $10 (PLU Students).  Seattle Classic Guitar and Seattle Jazz Guitar Society members get a $10 discount from these prices.

We really appreciate advance registration (call the PLU Music Office at 253-535-7602).  You can also register in person at the festival throughout the day.  Please note that the same registration fee applies for any portion of the festival—the only event for which individual tickets will be sold is the 5pm Faculty concert.

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 is posted below for both Guitar Orchestras–participants are encouraged to play through the music ahead of time and are welcome to choose any part that works for them.  We would like to extend a special “Thank you!” to Hilary Field for the use of her great arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango.

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 26, 2018.

Classical Guitar Orchestra Music

Libertango Score

Libertango Part 1

Libertango Part 2

Libertango Part 3

Libertango Part 4


Additional Participant Information:


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. Paul plays a unique 8-string guitar, which he developed in 1993 together with legendary luthier, David Rubio. On this instrument, Paul has recorded a series of highly acclaimed albums, starting with the music of Brahms (his Op. 21A piano variations), and continuing with a Haydn Sonata CD; ‘French Impressions’, with music by Debussy & Ravel; a DVD recital, with Britten’s famous Nocturnal for guitar as the center-piece; and Bach’s complete Solo-violin Sonatas & Partitas, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998.

Paulʼs 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. Paul 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.

Paul began concertizing in his late teens, having come to public attention in Great Britain through a series of televised competition successes. Asked by a member of the press after the 1981 Leeds Castle Segovia competition what he thought of Paul, who was awarded silver medal, ʻSegovia raised his hand, and exclaimed: “Paul is magnificent. He will be a great artist”‘. Since the early nineties, Paul has toured the USA annually, and performed throughout the UK and the European Union, as well as in China, South America, Russia, Norway, Australia, Canada, India, etc. He also has appeared with several of the major orchestras and ensembles in Britain and Europe, such as: the BBC Orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic, the St Petersburg Quartet, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Halle, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the European Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and the Shanghai Quartet.  For more information visit: http://www.paul-galbraith.com

“He has not only mastered his instrument technically but has the ability to gain access into its inner mysteries.”
Classical Guitar

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. His first recording River Coffee won the Best Independent Release of the Year Award (2002) from Acoustic Guitar magazine and music from the recording has been published in Japan’s Acoustic Guitar magazine and Mel Bay’s Master Anthology of Fingerstyle Guitar, Vol. 3 (2005). His subsequent recordings Indigo (2008) and Sphere: the Music of Thelonious Monk (2011) offer compelling portraits of classic jazz standards performed on solo electric archtop guitar. Sphere was named one of Acoustic Guitar magazine’s “Essential Albums of 2011”, and Sean was recently featured on the cover of Fingerstyle 360 magazine (Summer 2012). His most recent solo guitar recordings include Thanksgiving & Christmas Tidings (2014) a collection of seasonal hymns and carols arranged for acoustic guitar, and My Fair Lady (2015) a collection of songs from Lerner & Loewe’s masterpiece.

As a soloist, Sean has performed at several festivals including the Novi Sad International Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in Napa Valley, Copper Mountain Guitar Town, the Newport Guitar Festival, and the Chet Atkins CAAS Convention. He has also collaborated with several dance and improv companies, as well as with jazz and acoustic musicians throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

Sean 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. Sean is a strong advocate for injury prevention and health education for musicians, and his workshops incorporate a holistic approach to playing. He is also a contributing editor and educational advisor for Acoustic Guitar magazine. He is the author of the String Letter book/DVD instructional projects The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist, Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials and Holiday Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar, as well as Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Survival Guide and Walking Bass & Comping for Jazz Guitar, both available at TrueFire.com. For more information visit www.seanmcgowanguitar.com or https://www.youtube.com/user/seanmcgowanmusic


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