XVII. International Festival Abel Carlevaro

Activities during the festival (from Eduardo Fernandez)

Dear friends,

Since 2002, I am in charge of the Erlbach course, officially called "Internationales Festival Abel Carlevaro Gitarre und Natur". It was founded by my teacher, Abel Carlevaro, who directed it for 9 years, until his death in 2001. It is organized by the 1. Vogtländischer Gitarre-Förderverein. (http://www.gitarreundnatur.de/festival.html)

Erlbach, and the group of paricipants in 2007. Not everybody is there

The 2008 edition will take place from July 27th to August 3th. This course has several special characteristics which make it a bit different; one of them is that it is addressed to all levels, amateurs, serious students and beginners. All the teaching is done at the Hotel Haus Schwarzbachtal (http://www.haus-schwarzbachtal.de/ ) situated outside the village of Erlbach, in the Vogtland region of eastern Germany.

View from the window of the hotel, and the terrace

It is an unique country, both by its natural beauty and its history, and one that allows for intensive concentration because of the absence of distractions. It was one of the world centers for musical instruments, until the crisis of 1929 and everything that came after. But still there are many excellent luthiers in the area, guitar-makers as well as makers of other instruments. The Musical Instruments Museum of Markneukirchen will surprise any visitor with its wonderful collection. And a walk in the surroundings will make you feel you are inmersed in one of the brother Grimm's tales. The concerts take place at the Old Castle (Altes Schloss) in Erlbach and in the churches of Erlbach and Markneukirchen.

A street in Erlbach and one of the churches where concerts take place

We arrived at the present format of the course after several experiments. It works like this:

-In the mornings, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., there is a session devoted to some specific repertory. We work in depth on analysis, performance practice and even on fingerings. Since we started with this (2006) the subjects have been Villa-Lobos' 12 Etudes, and J.S.Bach's Suite BWV 995. For 2008, the proposal is to work on repertoire from the XIXth century. It is neither necessary nor expected that the participants have studied these works, but of course if somebody actually has, and wants to show his/her work, we are very happy to help!

The works for this part of the course in 2008 will be:

Fernando Sor: Fantasie No. 7, op.30 and Etude op.29 No.24. Mauro Giuliani: "L'Armonia" from "Giulianate", op. 148., and fragments from "Rossiniane" Dionisio Aguado: Rondo op. 2 No. 2 Luigi Legnani: some of the Caprices op. 36 J.K.Mertz: Bardenklänge (An Malvina, Unruhe, An die Entfernte, Tarantella) Giulio Regondi: Nocturne-Reverie op. 19

The course will begin with a talk about performance practice subjects on the first day, and

will go on treating of a specific author each day during the week. -After a coffee pause, the participants have the opportunity to work with the assistants, from 10:45 to 12. The four assistants, Patrick Zeoli (Argentina- Ireland), Janesz Gregoric (Slovenia - Austria), Leon Freijns (Holland-Luxembourg), and Rene Toriello (Guatemala - Germany) have wildly diverse backgrounds and interests, but all of them had intensive contact with Carlevaro and his ideas on technique. So if you want to learn about this, this is the right place to do it. Patrick, born in Argentina and raised in Northern Ireland, lived many years in Uruguay, studied there with Carlevaro and myself, and traveled extensively in South America. He has developed very interesting techniques for group improvisation, and is not only an excellent guitarist but an accomplished virtuoso on charango, a Bolivian and northern Argentina native instrument. Janez and Leon studied with Carlevaro in Uruguay and know not only all the tricks of this technique but also how to teach

them. Rene has a special interest in South American music and usually organizes some ensemble playing during the course, besides being our official translator. Or you can decide to learn something about Alexander technique with Dr. Herbert Steger, from Vienna.

Eduardo with Patrick Zeoli, in front of the hotel, and the main classroom (2007)

The official languages of the course are English, German and Spanish, but we can also deal with Italian, Portuguese, French and Dutch. It is desirable that the participants can understand at least something from one of the three "official" languages, since we cannot always translate everything for everybody at the same time. But rest assured that we do try! -In the afternoons (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.), we have free-repertory masterclasses, which I

impart. -If there are enough participants interested, we form an ad hoc ensemble to play in the Friday party. Rehearsals are after the masterclass finishes.

-During the week we will have three or four concerts in the evenings, and Friday evening we have a concert/party at a very special place, the Musikscheune, with the participants who want to do so playing. It is not a “student concert” but a party, and please bear this in mind! This is how it looks:

I think it is a very nice opportunity to (hopefully) learn something new and enjoy nature. And also I have a special interest in this course. My birthday usually falls during it, and presents are accepted.

Eduardo Fernández

How to get there: the nearest train station is Adorf, Vogtland. You can search the schedules in the German railway system, in several languages:


The organizers will pick you up if you let them know when you will arrive.