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, Tim Lerch, Melyssa Stone, Clipper Anderson and Mark Ivestor.  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)  This class will look at student friendly music written for classical guitar in the last 50 years, including music by Bryan Johanson, Nikita Koshkin, Leo Brouwer, Andrew York and others.
  • 10:00 amJazz Festival Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal, Stephen Howland (Lagerquist Concert Hall)Festival Jazz Guitar Orchestra rehearsal in preparation to perform in the 1:00pm concert.  Please note this includes everything from fairly easy to advanced parts. Attending and participating in the rehearsal does not mean that you are committed to performing in the concert!
  • 11:00 amClassical Festival Guitar Orchestra Rehearsal, Elizabeth CD Brown (Lagerquist Concert Hall)Festival Classical Guitar Orchestra rehearsal in preparation to perform in the 1:00pm concert.  Please note this includes everything from fairly easy to advanced parts. Attending and participating in the rehearsal does not mean that you are committed to performing in the concert!
  • 11:00 am – Jazz Guitar Workshop, Stephen Howland (Room 306)Stephen leads a graded hands-on workshop on playing/improvising in the modal jazz style, a style epitomized by Miles Davis’s “So What” and John Coltrane’s  “Impressions.”
  • 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 pmJazz Guitar Workshop, Tim Lerch (Room 322)Tim will play, coach a student performer, engage the audience, and take time for Q/A.  Informative and inspiring for everyone.
  • 3:30 pmClassical Guitar Workshop, Gohar Vardanyan (Room 306)In this workshop we will discuss the basic techniques and knowledge necessary to play the guitar. The topics we will discuss include proper and healthy positioning of the guitar and hands, basic techniques like arpeggios, scales (free stroke/rest stroke), slurs, and tremolo, also practice organization and discipline to achieve the best results in a short amount of time.
  • 5:00 pmFaculty Concert (Lagerquist Concert Hall)- Elizabeth CD Brown, Stephen Howland, and guest performers Gohar Vardanyan, Melyssa Stone, Clipper Anderson and Mark Ivester.  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.
  • Bonus event: 8:00 pm – Regency Voices Concert (Lagerquist Concert Hall) – PLU Voice Faculty Ensemble Regency Voices performs with Elizabeth CD Brown, lute. 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!

Phone registration through the PLU Music Office at 253-535-7602 is open until 3:30pm on Friday, March 10.  Walk-up registration is available starting at 9:30am on Saturday, March 11 in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center Lobby.

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.

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 22, 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

Guest Artists

Melyssa Stone

An up-and-coming jazz vocalist, Melyssa Stone has made a name for herself as a versatile lyricist with a “voice that draws you in with every note.” She has performed alongside John Pizzarelli, Steve Turre, Dee Daniels, the New York Voices, and was a backup singer for pop artist Ben Folds. Melyssa is the 2013 runner-up for the Seattle-Kobe Jazz Vocalist competition at Jazz Alley, and continues to perform at prominent Seattle-area venues with her group, the Melyssa Stone Quartet. She works as a studio vocalist for Seattle-area composers, vocal producer for a studio and a clinician for area schools. A well-rounded musician in her own right, she is also a former violist for the Thalia orchestra and three-time member of Seattle Theatre Group’s More Music @ The Moore String Ensemble led by then artist-in-residence, Daniel Bernard Roumain. An educator in her own right, Melyssa currently conducts with the Northwest Girlchoir, and recently joined the faculty of the Seattle Pacific University Kodály Summer Institute as a musicianship instructor. melyssastone.com

Clipper Anderson - Lecturer

Known for his improvisational virtuosity, his steady presence in the pocket and his command of multiple styles, bassist Clipper Anderson is one of the most highly regarded musicians on the Northwest jazz scene today. Equally comfortable with straight-ahead, traditional, free jazz or bebop, he plays with genuine reverence for the music and an unassuming mastery that speaks for itself. Clipper has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a composer, performer, studio musician, vocalist and educator. He plays at jazz festivals throughout the United States and Canada and has appeared at the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, the Buddy DeFranco/University of Montana Jazz Festival, the Highland Jazz Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Art Festival, the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation Festival and the Drayton Harbor Music Festival, the latter Three of which he currently plays annually. He has shared the bandstand with a long list of jazz luminaries including Michael Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Samuels, Peter Erskine, Bruce Forman, Tamir Hendelman, Bob Mintzer, Lew Soloff, Bucky Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Paquito D’Rivera, Phil Woods and Buddy DeFranco. As a session musician, Clipper has appeared on numerous recordings, including five with Northwest vocal icon Greta Matassa. He has two recordings on Origin Records. Clipper’s 2012 release, “The Road Home,” marked his debut as a solo artist and composer and held the top 20-22 spots on the national jazz radio charts for several months. Clipper’s 2013 release, “Ballad Of The Sad Young Men”, featured his vocal and bass work and was well received by critics and fans alike. Clipper works out of Seattle, WA and is presently on the jazz faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. For more information, go to http://www.clipperanderson.com


Mark Ivester - Lecturer, Drum Set

Mark Ivester is a consummate drummer, widely respected for his sensitive musicianship and sincere dedication to his craft. He is experienced in many different idioms from pop-rock to big band to jazz, latin jazz and orchestral settings. Mark’s live performance credits are extensive, having worked with such jazz luminaries as John Patitucci, Larry Coryell, Freddy Hubbard, Mal Waldron, Diane Schuur, Eliane Elias, Bud Shank, Howard Roberts, Jack Sheldon, Michael Brecker, Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Frank Foster, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Tierney Sutton, Ann Hampton-Calloway, Karyn Allison and Mose Allison. His versatility is demonstrated on a wide range of recordings such as jingles, film scores and album projects including those of R&B artist Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire, Grammy award winning new-age duo Tingstad and Rumbel, Brazilian keyboardist Jovino Santos Neto and vocalist Greta Matassa. Mark is currently on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma,WA.