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Kean University

Guitarfest, a Free Celebration of Classical Guitar, to Be Held at Kean

Musician and composer Celil Refik Kaya plays guitar.

Kean University will celebrate classical guitar in all its splendor at the third annual Guitarfest on Saturday, June 15 at Enlow Recital Hall in Hillside.

The free music festival is open to the public and includes two back-to-back concerts. 

Regional high school guitar ensembles, the New Jersey Guitar Quartet, and a flute and guitar duo will perform at 4 p.m. International recording and performing artist Celil Refik Kaya, DMA, will give a solo recital, followed by performances by the New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA) Honors Guitar Ensemble and the New Jersey Guitar Orchestra (NJGO) at 7 p.m.

“Guitarfest celebrates the growing prominence of guitar in the music world,” said Matthew Halper, DMA, professor and chair of Kean’s Department of Music. “The guitar now rivals the piano in terms of ubiquity and impact.” 

Halper’s composition for guitar orchestra, Autumnal, commissioned by the NJMEA Honors Guitar Ensemble, will be performed by the all-state high school group side-by-side with the NJGO.

Kaya, a Turkish-American classical guitarist, recording artist and composer, has been acclaimed for his “magical touch” and virtuosic, masterful performances. Since his concert debut at the age of 6, he has received accolades and awards, including being the youngest to win First Prize in the 2012 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. Kaya has performed in the most prestigious concert halls and festivals around the world, including solo recitals, concerto performances and master classes in the D’Addario Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, Masters of the Guitar Series at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Frick Collection’s Summer Artists series in New York, and the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. Kaya is the coordinator of guitar studies at Kean University.

Guitarfest is supported, in part, by a grant from the Augustine Foundation. Seating is general admission and tickets are not required for the free event. It will be held Saturday, June 15, at Enlow Recital Hall, 215 North Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205. 

For more information, visit Kean Stage.