Guitar Festival: World Class Strings

Guitar Festival: World Class Strings

The Fourth Annual SIU Guitar Festival opens on Friday, and continues into Saturday.
Leah Williams

An upcoming two-day event on the Southern Illinois University campus celebrates the universal sounds of a favored string instrument.

The Fourth Annual SIU Guitar Festival opens on Friday, and continues into Saturday. The festival offers concerts, lectures as well as master classes for students and guitar enthusiasts alike to enjoy the sounds of the visiting professional musicians.

“It’s a great opportunity for not only our students but for the public to come out and see these world-class performers,” said Dr. Isaac Lausell, assistant professor in guitar for the School of Music.

The opening gala features Dr. Zonimir Tot, a Chicago-based jazz guitarist, and composer. Tot’s style has been described as one that is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, yet also flavored by his European origins. Tot has performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Croatia.

Tot is currently a clinical assistant professor of music at the University of Illinois Chicago. He teaches jazz guitar, harmony, ear training, counterpoint and jazz ensembles, and he is also the founder and owner of Groove Art Records.

Tot will be performing Friday with Lausell, professor Phil Brown on bass and Wayne Goodwin on drums. Tot will also teach a master class with contents from his new book, “Jazz Guitar Harmony.”

Lausell said the closing gala will include award-winning guitarist Moacyr Teixeira Neto, who is from Espirito Santo, Brazil. One of the country’s most prized guitarists, Teixeira Neto won the Best Interpretation Prize in the Heitor Villalobos Guitar Competition. He also competed in the Souzaa Lima Guitar Competition and was a finalist in the Agustin Barrios International Guitar Competition.

Teixeira Neto has performed for audiences from all over the world including those in Spain, Parguay, Peru, Uruguay and Italy.

Professor Teixeira Neto is the artistic director of Centro de Música e Artes and guitar professor at Faculdade de Música do Éspirito Santo (FAMES). He has released four recordings focused on Brazilian guitar music and another four on international music for classical guitar. His first CD Gravuras do Violã received an award from the Ministry of Culture in Espirito Santo, Brazil.

The concert at SIU Saturday is the North American release of Teixeira Neto’s album Over the Time. The disc features music from Italo-Brazilian composer Marcos Vinicius.

Lausell said the Guitar Festival at SIU is a chance for the public to come out and hear and learn from world-renowned artists.

“We tend to think of Carbondale as a smaller area with not as many opportunities as the larger cities,” he said. “There really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Texieira Neto’s concert and master class are sponsored by the SIU Fine Arts Activity Fee and the Ministry of Culture of Espírito Santo, so SIU students, faculty and staff can be admitted in free with an active SIU ID.


For tickets, festival passes and a full schedule visit the Guitar Festival website at