Northwest Guitar Festival 2010 Conclusion

by Bradford Werner

The last few days have been busy in Victoria, BC. The 2010 Northwest Guitar Festival took place at he Victoria Conservatory of Music with artists, composers, and presenters. I played in three concerts which made the weekend an exhausting but very exciting weekend. Performers include:

  • Alexander Dunn (director)
  • Victoria Guitar Trio (Bradford Werner, Adrian Verdejo, Michael Dias)
  • Oberon Guitar Trio (Brad Mahon, Ralph Maier, Murray Visscher)
  • Continuum Consort (Elizabeth MacIsaac, soprano; Emily Nagelbach, flute; Molly Janz, viola; Douglas Hensley, guitar)
  • Duo Verdejo (Meghan & Adrian Verdejo)
  • Michael Nicolella
  • John Oliver
  • Randy Pile
  • Ray Nurse
  • Stephen Boswell
  • Stephan Lochbaum
  • Janet Grohovac
  • Robert Ward
  • Peter Zankaer
  • Francois Koh

I thought I’d just give a brief run-down of the events:

Competition Finals:

Congratulations to all the competitors. Here’s the results:

1st place: Graham Banfield
2nd place: Brett Gunther
3rd place: Sheldon Stanley
4th place: Cesar Rojas

Continuum Consort & Victoria Guitar Trio

I unfortunately missed the Continuum Consort as I was warming up to play with the trio. However I heard that they played a great concert including an original work by Doug Hensley. The Continuum has been a very active group lately and one to keep an eye on.

The Victoria Trio was a blast, I don’t know what it was like from the audience side as I’m a member of the Victoria Trio. The Trio played an all Canadian Programme. We premiered a new work for guitar trio and tape, written for the Victoria Trio by RD Wraggett titled The Nagual’s Dream. Other works include September by Rodney Sharman (he came over from Vancouver for the performance – thanks Rodney!), Conversations for Three Guitars by John Weinzweig, and Carnaval by Patrick Roux.

Alexander Dunn & Friends

A wonderful concerts of chamber music including for great songs with vocalist Anne Grimm, and a work by Hummel with Roger Buksa, and Satori Strings. The concert also included a four movement quartet by John Oliver with the Victoria Trio joining Alexander to end the concert.

John Oliver: Music of John Oliver

A discussion of the composers’ works and evolving trends. If more composers had the chance to give presentations on their style and history as a composer I think performers would be more informed as how to prepared and accomplish the composer’s works.

Oberon Guitar Trio & Duo Verdejo

The Oberon Trio from Calgary was a delight. A very professional and well blended sounds made their Canadian programme a pleasure. Thier performance of Gagnon’s Alice in Wonderland was a treat, as was the work by Pascal Sasseville.

Duo Verdejo. What can say? They gave a concert of electric guitar and viola works and it was…awesome. Composers included: John Cage (arranged by Adrian Verdejo), Jan Javlepp, Tim Brady, and Eric Schwartz. My favorites were the Cage and Swartz. YouTube these two soon to see the clips! Duo Verdejo delivered one of the most exciting concerts I’ve attended in years.

Victoria Virtuosi – Janet Grohovac & Stephen Lochbaum

Two young a spectacular guitarists wowed the audience in the Alix Goolden Hall. Lochbaum played Bach, Mussorgsky and Brahms. Stephen’s playing has more than just pure technique, he has evolved into an extraordinary strong player with superb phrasing and musicality.

Janet Grohovac, winner of the 2009 Northwest competition delivered a spectacular performance! Janet is working toward a PhD in performance with Adam Holzman in Austin Tx.

B.C. Guitar Encounter

Guitars by British Columbia luthiers Hugh Greenwood, Scot Tremblay, Marcus Dominelli, and Douglass Scott.

Youth Showcase + MultipleGuitars

NWGF artists and students in a program of mixed ensembles, with the Canadian premiere of Vals Eterna by Michael Nicolella. Michael Nicolella director, Victoria Guitar Trio (Bradford Werner, Adrian Verdejo, Michael Dias), Oberon Guitar Trio (Brad Mahon, Ralph Maier, Murray Visscher), Peter Zankaer, Francois Koh, Graham Banfield

Ray Nurse: Music of John Dowland

The seminal Renaissance figure is examined by Canada’s premiere lutenist and lute builder. That pretty much sums it up, this was my favorite lecture at the festival. Check out Ray at the Vancouver Early Music Festival.


I seen Pepe play about three times now and every time I see him, regardless of the hall, the repertoire, or my mood, he always captivates the audience. As usual he gave a great concert including a duo performance with Alex Dunn and a quartet with Dunn, Pile, and Ward.

A weekend of performing and networking. Good fun.

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