Guitar Ensemble 04

A performer in the Oregon State University Guitar Ensemble practices during a Monday rehearsal. The ensemble is set to perform during Saturday's Corvallis Guitar Festival, which has been condensed this year to one day. 

This year's Corvallis Guitar Festival will be more compact than before, says Tom Strini, Corvallis Guitar Society board member.

But there's no reason to worry: It just means guitar enthusiasts will get all of the third annual festival's activities and concerts in one day, instead of two.

The Corvallis Guitar Festival returns to the First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis Saturday with a master class, a lecture and demonstration on guitar history, a workshop and performances by Ian O'Sullivan, classical guitarist, composer and ukulele master, as well as the OSU Guitar Ensemble and renowned classical guitarist Bill Kanengiser.

The festivities begin with a master class led by Kanengiser. The Grammy Award-winner is a founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, recording artist, professor of guitar at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and highly regarded ensemble and solo guitarist with a long list of international credits.

Cameron O'Connor, who will direct the OSU Guitar Ensemble's performance Saturday evening, studied under Kanengiser at USC.

He said his teacher "plays a wonderful, off-the-beaten- path repertoire."

"The guitar is capable of performing all sorts of different genres. His programming is diverse and showcases that aspect better than anyone I can imagine," O'Connor said.

He also admires Kanengiser's universal musical knowledge.

"I'm always in awe watching him perform for that reason," O'Connor added.

O'Sullivan, who grew up in Hawaii, in the North Shore countryside of Oahu, will play a classical guitar and ukulele concert Saturday afternoon. Well-versed in Hawaiian music and Western classical repertoire, the artist has performed throughout the country and internationally.

Most of O'Sullivan's music is his own compositions, Strini said.

"He's going to give a workshop on the real Hawaiian approach to ukulele playing," Strini said. "People will have a lot of fun at this one."

James Bishop Edwards, a classical guitarist, teacher and composer from Ashland, will give a lecture and demonstration on guitar history with O'Connor and Strini.

Edwards has a specific interest in odd musical instruments from 1750 to around 1830, a period which led up to the guitar, Strini said.

Festival organizers believe performances by Kanengiser and O'Sullivan will offer plenty of firsts for the audience.

"Even if you're sort of into the guitar world, you're likely to hear a lot of stuff you have never heard before," Strini said.

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