CGC LIVE : Summer School 2017

//CGC LIVE : Summer School 2017

CGC LIVE : Summer School 2017

CGC Summer School Class of 2017

The participants of the CGC Summer School came from far and wide. There were guitarists from India, Germany, Australia, Mexico, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Many of us had known each other through the Classical Guitar Corner forums, but this was the first time to meet in person.

Ensembles and Orchestra

Each day we had small ensembles that were each led by one instructor. These groups worked together each morning putting together repertoire that was performed on the final concert. In addition to repertoire we talked about technique, musical concepts and practiced sight reading.

In the afternoons the entire group met to work on the orchestra pieces. We performed three pieces at the final concert and the orchestra was led by Janet Agostino and myself.

Perhaps the most astounding and impressive aspect of all this was that few of the participants had experience in ensemble situations before. It was a daunting prospect to recieve new music on day one and perform it on day five, but we achieved it with commitment and perseverance.


I don’t think I have ever seen a group of strangers become friends quicker than at the CGC Summer School. Granted, many people had been in communication with one another through the site, and had even seen each other on the live seminars, but it was still impressive and a testament to the open and caring people that were in attendance.

We had a chance to socialize at meal times, at the beach side BBQ (where Myles and Ben received rapturous applause for diving in the chilly North Atlantic) and in the evenings back at the residence hall.

Workshops, Presentations, and Individual Lessons

Every day we had a different presentation or workshop. Janet Agostino presented a lecture on the music of Richard Charlton and Phillip Houghton, two Australian composers who have written a lot of music that would be of interest to students and professionals alike. Raffaele Agostino presented a technique workshop that was focused on fundamentals of classical guitar technique. Gohar Vardanyan gave a workshop on practice technique and answered questions from the students. Ben Verdery gave a thought provoking and entertaining analysis of Manuel De Falla’s Homenaje and talked about the amount of detail we can find in a score. On the final day, the participants were led through a stretching class by Evita Powis.

Each guitarist had two lessons with different teachers that allowed them to get personalized feedback and instruction from world class teachers.


Each evening we were treated to a concert by the Summer School instructors. I performed on the first night (who was the genius that thought that would be a good idea?!) along with Jacques Lee Wood. Ben Verdery performed on the second night and we made the most of a lighting blackout that resulted in atmospheric lighting provided by a single desk lamp. David Belcher and Gohar Vardanyan wowed the audience on the third night and on the fourth Duo Agostino took the stage to show just how wonderful ensemble playing can be. On the final night it was the participants turn to perform and the performed to a small local audience and several thousand people via the internet.

Open Mic Night

After all the hard work studying your own pieces, open mic night was a chance to take the stage and perform in front of your peers. Over half of the participants took to the stage and were greeted by warm applause and cheers.

The Final Concert

Some of the participants were skeptical, or at least hesitant to think that with only five days of work we could pull together an ensemble concert. However, with great teachers, carefully chosen repertoire, and a lot of concentration, here it is!

The goal was never to have “perfect” renditions of these pieces. Rather, it was to set a goal, work towards it and perform. The goal was to break some comfort barriers, and learn more about what it is to be a musician. And, by all accounts these goals were met with aplomb.

I swear I was there!

One person you may have noticed as absent in these photos is me! I was the one behind the camera the whole time, so I am grateful to Roger for snapping this photo and sending it through. Proof!

2017-06-29T20:38:16+00:0018 Comments


  1. Linda Tsardakas June 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Thank you for all the pictures! It was a fantastic first Summer School and I look forward to the next!!

  2. Myles June 28, 2017 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Love that pic of you, Evita and Roger.

  3. Janet Agostino June 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to each and every Summer School participant for contributing to the most wonderful musical and social experience. Simon, you really created something special here, thank you for your inspiration (and perspiration) in making it all happen. Raffaele and I had THE BEST time!

  4. John Van Dyck June 29, 2017 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Fabulous podcast thx all. Pains me not to have been there but helps ease the pain. :))

  5. Marilynn Stark June 29, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply


  6. Peter Argondizza June 29, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Congrats all around and thanks for posting.

  7. Drew Burgess June 29, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Hi Everyone–this was a great week, I recommend attending if possible! Thanks Simon for posting. I listened to the podcast again. For me the dimension of the experience was/is remarkable. Reflecting and turning things over is a way to grow. I am fascinated with the way the project evolved. The teachers were all very attentive to each of the students. As Janet notes concerning perspiration– there is a good quote of Pablo Picasso, “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working”.

  8. Vic June 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply


  9. Emilio Llorca June 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I didn’t attend this wonderful event because my daughter graduation was on 17th June at Barcelona. After seeing your pics and videos I’ll do my best in order to meet you next year.
    All of you have me as a friend at the guitar school of Vilassar de Dalt , 20 km from Barcelona, Spain.
    Best regards.

  10. Roger Ramirez June 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    This was such a fun and wonderful week with amazing and beautiful people. I had such a great time and can’t wait until next year.

  11. Eduardo June 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Thanks Simon and for an excellent week, I had such a good time and I hope to see everyone next year!!
    Great podcast and pictures!

  12. Edward Gifford June 29, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you Simon. I hope to make the cut in 2018!

  13. Steve June 29, 2017 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    The podcast was excellent. I was especially moved when Janet gave her motivation for learning the classical guitar.

  14. Dawn C. July 2, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Have just managed to watch the final concert….it just looked like the best fun ever!!! Huge congratulations to everyone who took part, and to those who made it happen…just amazing, and incredibly inspirational!

    Well done everyone, would love to make it one year!

    Cheers :)

  15. Lissa July 12, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    This is wonderful, especially the questions and answers.
    Thanks everyone who participated.

  16. Karen July 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    The titles of the pieces were indistinguishable with the background noise. Could you post them please? Absolutely beautiful, wish I was there!

  17. Steve Catapano July 18, 2017 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Great write up! I hope to attend next year.

  18. TonyS July 26, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    This was a great podcast and I loved seeing all the photographs. I wish I could be a part of a summer school like this. It looks so much fun.

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