SIU Guitar Festival | College of Liberal Arts | SIU

Southern Illinois University



SIU Guitar Festival

Isaac Lausell with guitar in Faner garden

Note: This article references the 2016 SIU Guitar Festival. For information on newer festivals, please visit the festival website.

Carbondale – Southern Illinois University School of Music and Isaac Lausell this week set in motion what is sure to be another unforgettable experience for music lovers: the SIU Guitar Festival, “third edition.”

Beginning Thursday, September 29 and concluding Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium with a performance by Mr. Frank Gambale, Grammy Award-winning legendary master of the Sweep-Picking Technique, this year’s program is queued up to continue the musical revelations  Isaac Lausell brought to campus in the festival’s formative years. Still in its infancy, the festival has proven a precocious child, with at least one standing-room only performance in each of the last two years.

This year’s closing act, Frank Gambale, promises to be a crowd pleaser as well as a unique opportunity for guitarists to learn from an innovator in jazz fusion guitar. Gambale will offer a master class Saturday afternoon as part of his engagement in Carbondale. Gambale is noted for his seemingly effortless playing, his intense clarity and, above all, his musicality. Sponsored by the SIU Fine Arts Activity Fee, admission to this concert is free to all university members. Entry for community members is $12.

The Isaac Lausell Group, under the direction of Dr. Lausell, festival organizer and leader of SIU’s guitar program, will take audience members on a journey through guitar history on Friday, September 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium. Titled “From Renaissance to Electricity,” the program spotlights Dick Kelley on tenor saxophone and EWI (electronic wind instrument), Andrey Gonçalves on bass, Matt Endres on drums and Isaac Lausell on lute and guitar.

Thursday’s opening night gala features Classical Guitarist Hermelindo Ruiz Mestre performing in the intimate Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall (OBF) at 7:30 p.m. He will offer a master class in classical guitar on Friday afternoon, just after a special recital by the SIU Guitar Studio and Ensembles from 1–2 p.m. in OBF. His reputation is that of an exquisite guitarist, not to be missed.

This year’s festival also features a technical treat for aspiring auto-producers. Todd Herremann, senior lecturer in Radio, Television and Digital Media at SIU and twenty-year Los Angeles based music industry veteran, will give professional tips on “How to record the guitar” on Saturday, October 1 from 10 a.m.– noon in Altgeld Hall Room 117. Herremann is the faculty advisor to Digital Dog Records, the student-run record label, as well as a few other musical organizations in the area.

Festival sponsorship is reflective of a strong base of support on campus and in the wider community and includes: the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities; the Fine Arts Activity Fee; Sound Core Music and Video; The Axe Monkey; Sabor de Mel Restaurant; Mike’s Music and the Hispanic/Latino Resource Center.

There will be a table for late registration set up in the lobby of the recital hall at Old Baptist Foundation, which is located on the north end of Faner Hall, beginning Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. and again on Friday at noon. A two-day pass, which includes admission to all concerts, lectures and master classes is available for $72 and a one-day pass will net admission to all concerts, lectures and master classes on Friday and Saturday and sells for $35. The price for single events is $6 for students and $12 for general admission. For more information, please visit the SIU Guitar Festival online or contact Dr. Isaac Lausell at

--L. A. Brown