World Youth Guitar Festival 2011, a review


  • wygf
I am just catching my breath after a most spectacular music festival. No, not Reading; the World Youth Guitar Festival in Cheltenham. Over 100 young students came to play with some of the world’s greatest classical guitarists. They spent four days listening and playing wonderful music.

The tutors this year included the core WYGF team of Helen Sanderson, Mark Eden, Mark Ashford, Chris Stell and Gary Ryan. The other guest tutors were Nick Polesland, Peter Nuttall, Frank Gerstmeier from Germany and the amazing Johannes Moller from Sweden. Of course, all are superb musicians, but they proved themselves to be wonderful tutors too. They were an approachable bunch; eating and chatting with students, as well as signing autographs in what little time they had left.

  • Johannes
The ensemble sessions are at the heart of WYGF. The students were divided into orchestras. Each orchestra worked with two tutors to prepare for the final concert. This was balanced with plenty of time for swimming and games, as well as other guitar related activities.

The evenings would then be split between recitals given by the tutors and student concerts. There was a chance for everyone to get involved, either in a showcase concert, or at the open mic night for those who wished to be a little more spontaneous!

I enjoyed every moment of my time at the festival, whether I was helping a student work through a tricky phrase in their piece, or listening in wonder to a performance from the tutor I had just eaten dinner with. I think two highlights for me were the final student concert, which was of a very high standard, and Peter Nuttall’s massed guitar orchestra where every guitarist learned and played the premier performance of a piece he wrote especially for the occasion. What an event!


WYGF takes place every two years. Please search for ‘World Youth Guitar Fesival’ on facebook if you would like to see photos and read more feedback.

You can also look on www.wygf.orgto make sure you don’t miss out on the next festival.

Please contact me if you would like to know how to get involved.