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22–31 July 2010    by ALIX S.

Classical Guitar  UK


Nowadays, students have many summer guitar courses from which to choose. Each offers something different: it is often a question of deciding which course most suits your ambitions as a player, and what experience you want to take away from the occasion. Set in a castle in Limousin, the traditional heartland of France, the guitar course at the Château of Ligoure runs for ten days and is attended by around 30 students. Teachers at this year’s course included Maria Isabel Siewers, Judicaël Perroy and festival director Eleftheria Kotzia. These instructors also provided the course with its professional recital series.


Eleftheria Kotzia opened the “nuits de la guitare” with a wonderful concert that featured musical pieces ranging from J.S. Bach (Suite III) to twentieth-century composers from South America (Villa-Lobos, Pujol, and Savio), as well as from Kotzia’s homeland, Greece (Fampans and Theoodrakis). She opened her recital with three of the delightful “Preludes” by Maximo Pujol, which contrasted very lyrical and romantic playing with a wild ending. Full of accents and rhythm, these pieces embodied her inimitable joie de jouer. To the audience, this uplifting recital was as a perfect invitation to an emotional and inspiring journey through the landscapes of guitar music. Moreover, her performance inspired course participants with tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the week to come.

Maria Isabel Siewers performed the next night with thoughtful interpretations of several masterpieces. During the first part, the grace and apparent ease with which Maria Isabel played classics of the guitar repertoire (e.g.. “Preludes” by Villalobos or “Gran Solo” by Sor) ravished the audience. The second part, dedicated to Argentine works (by Guastavino and Ginastera) manifested a maintained intimacy with her musical roots. She ended her recital with a moving encore: “Aire Nortenio,” composed by her teacher, the famous Maria Luisa Anido.

Judicaël Perroy ended the series with an unforgettable recital which allowed him to demonstrate his tremendous skills and unique style—combining strong power with the most subtle of nuances. His performance culminated with an impressive rendering of the second suite by J.S. Bach, remarkable for both his dynamics and timbre. The swirling ardour of the Double left everyone speechless. A colourful rendering of Nunez's tango brought his program to a rousing finish.


For students, the festival programme included a combination of ensemble classes and individual lessons. Other elements included morning ”guitarobic” exercises, a concept developed by Kotzia and published by her in a book, and master classes for more advanced students. These public classes provide all students with the chance to hear the course instructors discuss their ideas on musical interpretation, and gave those performing an opportunity to receive feedback from a supportive group of listeners. And for those who wanted to demonstrate their playing in a concert situation, there were a number of informal public recitals. A final student concert united all participants in presenting the pieces they had worked on together.


One could hear sounds of guitar coming from everywhere in the château and the surrounding grounds. The student concerts were varied and everybody played either solo or in ensemble(s). Jacques Blagburn a promising eleven-year old player started a programme with some early music pieces. The concert ended with Jean Spenzia, a talented performer “running” the programme for an upcoming competition, impressing all with his rendering of the ”Sonata” by Turina and the “Prelude” of the Fourth lute suite by Bach. Despite struggles with 9/8 rhythm early in the week, a beginners group performing “Blue Rondo a la Turk” by D.Brubeck, did extremely well.

It seemed that the Argentine composer Maximo Pujol was a favorite choice this year. In the student concert, Emilie Kienlen and Margot Fontana played his ”Tango,Milonga y Final” and a quartet performed some of his ”Piezas Artesanales.”


This summer course offers a fantastic musical experience. Every pupil, irrespective of ability, benefited strongly from this opportunity to work closely with professional concert guitarists and to meet like-minded guitar players. By leaving time, you realise that you have to pack this luggage of memories like a precious treasure. Back home, you have the vivid impression that you have lived an experience so unique that you sometimes doubt it really happened; meanwhile your dearest wish is that it will happen again.



 Mohamed Bellamdani


Depuis 2008 , année de la reprise de la direction du stage de guitare par Eleftheria Kotzia , j’ai participé aux 3 stages et je m’apprête, inchallah , à participer à la session 2011

Aucun stage ne ressemble à l’autre car Eleftheria  innove chaque année. Il y a quelques stagiaires qui reviennent mais l’ambiance est différente à chaque fois tant par les éléves que par les professeurs .

La session 2010 a été inoubliable car le programme établi par Eleftheria est très complet. En dehors des cours individuels et des cours d’ensemble , il y a eu des master class par une grande dame Maria Isabel SIEWERS et sans oublier celle donnée par Judicael PERROY.

Le programme est chargé car il ne faut pas oublier les soirées de concert presque quotidiennes soit par les professeurs et à la fin par les stagiaires. 

 Il y a eu cette année une nouveauté, des séances de « guitarobics » données par Eleftheria .

En dehors de ces activités guitaristiques il y a des discussions fort intéressantes   pendant les repas et surtout après les concerts.

C’est aussi une occasion pour se perfectionner en anglais car il y a toujours des stagiaires anglais ( et aussi en français pour les british)

Le clou du stage a été la longue promenade de presque tous les   stagiaires à la recherche de l’ancien lac du château

Bien sur je n’ai pas parlé pas du cadre merveilleux qu’est le château, avec ses vastes espaces    sa forét, ses arbres rares , permettant des ballades ou un jogging matinal

Je peux dire que j’ai vécu dans un château et j’ai connu des grands concertistes à commencer par Jean Pierre BILLET avec son fils Antoine violoncelliste, Tania Chagniot ,Judicael PERROY, Maria Isabel SIEWERS et biensure Eleftheria KOTZIA


Que nous réserve donc cette année Eleftheria ?