As a music student at George Mason, Nathan Fischer often played for wedding receptions. One of the places where he performed was The Athenaeum. He came to know Mary Jackson, director of The Athenaeum, and was asked to provide the background music for one of The Alexandria Ballet's performances, “The Boy and the Bull.”
“He was crazy about the acoustics here and started thinking how there was no guitar festival in this area," said Jackson.
Well, now there is. Due to a concerted effort by Fischer and others, the First Alexandria Guitar Festival began this past Wednesday and continues through Saturday. The sponsors plan to hold the event annually. The festival features a series of concerts, classes and lessons.
A concert is scheduled Friday night with Dr. Nicholas Goluses, a professor of guitar and director of the guitar programs at the Eastman School of Music. This musician has performed around the world in both solo and chamber performances. He teaches master classes at major international festivals, colleges, universities and conservatories throughout the world.
Concert series will close on Saturday evening with a performance by Larry Snitzler, who is regularly featured at conservatories and international music festivals. Snitzler is a resident of Old Town, Alexandria, and teaches at both George Mason and American universities. Fischer was one of Snitzler’s students at George Mason, and when he mentioned the idea of a festival to Snitzler, he said that he thought it was a great idea. Snitzler regularly performs, gives classes and makes presentations in three languages at conservatories and international music festivals. He enjoys playing at both the Athenaeum and the Lyceum. "One of the attractive things about Old Town is that I'm 10 minutes away from two concert halls, and there’s no waiting," he said.
Both concerts begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for each concert; children under 12 may attend free. Receptions will follow each concert. In addition to the concerts, there will be daily lectures from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Individual master classes and private lessons, running 40 minutes, are available for performing students. Call 703-660-6678.