West Dean International Classical Guitar Festival 2020 with Alison Bendy, Andrew Gough, David Leisner, Gerald Garcia, Helen Sanderson, Jan Depreter, Mark Ashford and Zoran Dukic

Ref: SCG09923

Suitable for all

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About this course

Outstanding learning and performing opportunities through repertoire and technique classes, ensemble playing, guitar orchestra, student concerts, individual lessons and solo masterclasses. Working with internationally acclaimed artists you will study in an ensemble group according to your level (Grade 2 and above). Includes a guitar open day and an evening concert series with Zoran Dukic , NYGE Fellowship, Gary Ryan and Mela Guitar Quartet.

Bursaries are available for 18 to 24 year old.

Sponsored by Stuart Christie Guitars, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar Centre Birmingham, D'Addario UK, Universal Edition and José Ramirez Guitars.

Festival Director: Andrew Gough with Mark Ashford, Alison Bendy, Jan Depreter, Zoran Dukic , Gerald Garcia, David Leisner, Gary Ryan and Helen Sanderson .

Course Description

Under the directorship of Andrew Gough, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation once again offers the celebrated International Classical Guitar Festival in the idyllic and relaxing surroundings which make this the perfect setting for concerts, lessons, masterclasses and ensemble coaching.

Course structure

The 2020 Festival includes an intensive timetable of events and instruction in a wide range of areas; repertoire classes, ensemble performing, guitar orchestra, individual lessons, ‘the Learning Zones’, and solo masterclasses. A full list of the learning opportunities is in the outline programme and timetable attached.

Evening concerts and recitals

This year we can look forward to an exciting series of evening recitals by international concert artists, performing solo and guitar quartet repertoire. The evening series commences on Saturday with a solo recital by prize-winning Croatian virtuoso Zoran Dukić. On Monday evening the ever-popular Gary Ryan makes a welcome return to the West Dean stage. We then conclude the series with a West Dean debut performance by the Mēla Guitar Quartet on Tuesday evening.

Open Day

The Open Day on Sunday 23 August (12.30pm – 7pm) will again celebrate all things guitar; with a wide selection of guitars and music on display and a variety of events to enjoy. This year we will be including a guitar makers’ showcase with a special in-depth discussion and demonstration about each guitar by Jan Depreter. David Leisner will be our guest lecturer, discussing his new book ‘Playing with Ease’, and Zoran Dukić will be giving a masterclass. At 6pm we welcome Helen Sanderson and The NYGE Fellowship Ensemble to the stage in St. Andrew’s Church to conclude our Open Day event. 

Course level

The carefully planned and highly varied programme will appeal to all enthusiasts, from grade two level experience all the way to advanced. The course is open to anyone aged eighteen (18) and over.

You can find out more about the course here.


Guitar Festival Timetable

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the festival week will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival day

Residential students to arrive from 2 - 3.30pm, non-residential students to arrive by 3.30pm.

4pm: Welcome and introduction, attendance is essential.

5pm: First teaching session, followed by dinner (included).

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 6pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).

Evening working - students may have access to teaching rooms, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 2pm, lunch is included.

Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

You need to bring your own guitar, music stand, foot-stool/guitar-rest, and a selection of current repertoire to use in lessons and repertoire classes, and for performances in the student concerts.

Find out more about the 2020 Classical Guitar Festival including a detailed programme and bursary information.

See full details


Alison Bendy

Alison is a highly experienced guitar tutor, music publisher (Holley Music) and ensemble guitarist with the Aragon Guitar Quartet and in a duo with Gerald Garcia.

Andrew Gough

Andrew Gough (Guitar Festival Director) is head of guitar at the Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department and also teaches at The Blue Coat School and King Edward's School, Birmingham.

David Leisner

David Leisner is an international soloist, recording artist and composer. He is artistic director of Guitar Plus in New York and co-chair of the guitar department at the Manhattan School of Music.

Gerald Garcia

Gerald Garcia combines a career in performing and recording guitar music with composing and arranging for films and the stage. He is an experienced director of educational workshops and conducts numerous amateur guitar ensembles in Britain.

Helen Sanderson

Helen is Head of Guitar at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Artistic Director of the World Youth Guitar Festival and NYGE, adjudicator and chamber musician.

Jan Depreter

Jan Depreter started training in music at the age of five and received his first guitar age eight. He obtained both Master and Performance Degrees from the Royal Conservatories of Antwerp and The Hague. Jan has spent 26 years teaching at the Antwerp Academies, and four years as professor of guitar at the Conservatories of Antwerp and Mechelen.

Mark Ashford

Mark Ashford is an international performer and teacher. He was a scholarship student at both Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music where he graduated with first class honours. He is now Head of Guitar at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Director of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble-Birmingham.

Zoran Dukic

Zoran is an international prize winning soloist from Croatia and versatile chamber musician. He tutors at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and is visiting artist at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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