Melbourne International Guitar Festival, September 23-25 2016 – Get Yourself Along!

The 2016 Melbourne International Guitar Festival, held over Sept 23-25 at the prestigious Melba Hall, Melbourne University, will see a culmination of the world’s biggest international stars for concerts, workshops, classes and a performance competition.

If this is anything like the 2015 Festival Melbourne is in for a real treat. The Festival’s organisers, Evan Hopkins and Michael MacManus of the Melbourne Guitar Foundation, are just off the charts in terms of the passion, enthusiasm, sense of purpose and professionalism when it comes to the promotion of the classical guitar here in Melbourne and Australia. And they’re not too shabby on the guitar themselves either! Having watched them grow and develop over recent years I have been seriously impressed with their level of dedication and highly professional approach to getting events such as this Festival up and running.

If you’re in Melbourne you should really make a point of getting along and checking out at least one of the four cracking concerts, three masterclasses, workshops, presentations and performance competition that the guys have in store for us.


Building from the inaugural 2015 Melbourne International Guitar Festival, the Melbourne Guitar Foundation (MGF) are making 2016 a year to remember.

This year’s festival, held at the prestigious Melba Hall at Melbourne University on Sept 23-25, will see some of the world’s biggest international stars converge over a 3 day festival of concerts, workshops, presentations, classes and a performance competition.

A large aim of ours is building community involvement, and making the classical guitar accessible to the general public. Many of our events over this weekend are FREE to attend, so we don’t want anyone to feel left out! Music should be for everyone!” – Festival co-director Michael MacManus

You won’t find steel strings at this festival, as it focuses on the dolce tones of the nylon classical guitar. The performances on show will demonstrate popular Spanish masterpieces, edgy Brazilian rhythms, Irish folk music, European works and a number of world and Australian premieres.

The artists include two of Australia’s most respected instrumentalists, Tim Kain (guitar) and Virginia Taylor (flute), Italian Adriano del Sal, Brazilian Chrystian Dozza, Canberra based Brew Guitar Duo (Matt Withers and Bradley Kunda), and the Victorian Guitar Orchestra.

The performance competition ranges from beginner to the highly competitive Open category. First prize includes $1000 cash and an 8 concert Australian tour. There have been entries from across all of Australia and even as far away as Italy! It promises to be a remarkable showcase of virtuoso talent.

To view the full festival schedule please visit 







Melbourne Guitar Foundation Launches Inaugural International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition

If you’re looking for some fantastic guitar-related action next weekend (and even if you weren’t) then look no further than Melbourne.

Michael MacManus and Evan Hopkins, founders of the Melbourne Guitar Foundation, have been working their socks off again to bring us the inaugural Melbourne International Guitar Festival and Competition featuring several world class recitals from Saturday 19th September to Sunday 20th September at Melba Hall, the University of Melbourne, Royal Parade, Parkville.

Festival passes are $50/$40 full/concession.


The weekend will feature several concerts featuring world class artists: Vladimir Gorbach (2011 GFA International concert artist winner and recently appointed head of guitar at the Sydney Conservatorium), Alex Tsiboulski (winner of 7 international music competitions, ARIA nominated and NAXOS recording artist) and the Melbourne Guitar Quartet (the string quartet for guitars! Part of the Melbourne Recital Centre 2015 Local Heroes program) with support from the Victorian Guitar Orchestra (featuring yours truly!).

The competition, which has drawn 50 entrants from all states of Australia and New Zealand, includes Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Open categories, will be held between the concerts.

Young Melbourne Entrepreneurs and current classical guitar M.Mus(Performance) students from the Melbourne Conservatorium, Michael MacManus and Evan Hopkins, banded together in late 2014 to establish the Melbourne Guitar Foundation. Their mission is promote and cultivate the classical guitar in Australia. With a vision of an engaged local community of guitarists contributing towards a culture of learning, support and sharing of ideas to create the best musical and artistic environment in Australia.

After a highly successful international concert season in 2015, featuring international Swedish star Johannes Möller, Guitar Trek member Minh Le Hoang, European-based ensemble Duo Amythis, and a $1000 student scholarship program, the MGF is gearing up for their biggest event of the year.

And this is what Michael has had to say about the inaugural Festival and Competition:

This festival essentially follows on from the work I did in 2013 when I organised and ran a large national guitar competition through the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria. Unfortunately CGSV stopped running this competition last year, so Evan Hopkins (who co- runs the MGF with me) and I are picking up the reigns to continue this tradition, and add to it by including a festival component! We are very grateful for the support of the CGSV who are kindly donating the $1000 first prize for our competition, and our other sponsors, GuitarsOnline, Hannabach Strings, Thomas Lloyd Guitars, Hans Music Spot and CutCommon magazine.

This festival was created as a way for us to bring together the close guitar family throughout Australia and a chance to promote the classical instrument to audiences in Melbourne. It also gives a platform for our up-and-coming musicians to showcase their talents in front of a receptive audience. The festival component includes several fantastic concerts of the highest calibre and we are thrilled to see some competitor entrants flying over from New Zealand to be involved!

I personally reckon Michael and Evan are doing a bloody good job in their mission so far! Keep it up guys and really looking forward to the Festival!

The MGF festival on Sept 19 and 20, will feature:
Sept 19: 1:30pm – Lunch time recital by the Melbourne Guitar Quartet with support from the Victorian Guitar Orchestra and Melbourne Conservatorium Guitar Ensemble.
Sept 19: 7pm – Vladimir Gorbach

Sept 20: 7pm – Alex Tsiboulski
Both evening recitals are catered during intermission with free wine, beer, chocolate and cheese platters available.

The festival will be held at the historic Melba Hall, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Named after the great Dame Nellie Melba, who laid the foundation stone, this Heritage Listed Building continues to breathe new life into the Melbourne music scene.

Attendees may purchase festival passes at $50/$40 (full/concession) which include entry to each recital and competition viewing, or individual concerts are $30/$25. Tickets and further information can be found via

About the Artists

Vladimir Gorbach

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Vladimir Gorbach has captivated audiences across Europe, Australia the United States and his native country of Russia.

His international success began when he was accepted into the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation “Live Music Now” outreach program. He then went on to win many international guitar competitions and prizes in Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Greece and most recently at the 2011 Guitar Foundation of America earning him a full season concert tour throughout North America, including at Debut Carnegie Hall, NY; Canada, Mexico, South America, and China, in addition to a publication with Mel Bay and a recording for Naxos label distributed worldwide.

In 2013 Vladimir took on his new duties to lead the guitar program at the California State University, Fullerton, in addition to his new role as the first International Artist Fellow in Music at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music to pursue his Doctoral of Musical Arts (DMA) studies. (USC’s most elite graduate fellowship, nick-named as the “Rhodes Scholarship” for the Arts, which is granted annually to only one fellow in each of six arts schools at USC).

He has performed in recital and as soloist with chamber ensembles of Orchestra de Las Beiras, the Orchestra de Aveiro (Portugal), the Russian Academic Chamber Orchestra Musica Viva, the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, and Junge Philharmonie Köln , as well as appearances at the Moscow Philharmonic Concert Series, Koblenz International Guitar Festival (Germany), Guitar Art Festival Belgrade (Serbia), Vienna Guitar Forum  (Austria),  Nantes Summer Guitar Academy (France), Vondelpark Festival (The Netherlands), and Sydney Crows Nest Concert Cycle (Australia), in addition to giving master-classes at numerous festivals.

This year Vladimir started his appointment at the University of Sydney, Sydney Conservatorium of Music as the chair of the guitar studies.

Melbourne Guitar Quartet

The guitar family is to the guitar world what the string quartet is to the string world. Repertoire creation for this trail blazing genre is central to the Melbourne Guitar Quartet’s mission, and is an exciting development in the guitar – playing scene.It will pave the way for future generations of classical guitar quartets in Australia and internationally.

MGQ’s passion, experience and dedication ensures that whichever music they turn their hands to receives the utmost attention to detail. Preservation of the inherent musical characteristics and enhancement of the music is paramount in their arrangements. Whether it is an arrangement of a modern Australian work or a re-modelling of a traditional chamber work, MGQ surpasses the limitations of standard guitar ensemble performance and brings the music to life in a new light with the instruments of the guitar family. Composers are often completely surprised to find out that their works translate so effectively in this idiom. On hearing Omphalo Centric Lecture for marimba quartet, Nigel Westlake writes:

“…I would never have imagined that Omphalo could work so well in this context, and it is testament to the MGQ’s perseverance, attention to detail and technical excellence that this performance sings with all the energy & joy that was the inspiration behind the original composition almost 30 years ago.”

Nigel Westlake June 2010

Guitar performance is set to transform with MGQ at the helm. Join them on their ground – breaking journey of creating new repertoire for guitar quartet.

Alex Tsiboulski

Ukrainian-born guitarist Alex Tsiboulski began playing the guitar at age 12, shortly after moving to Australia. He is winner of seven international competitions, including the 2000 Australian Guitar Competition, 2003 Gisborne Instrumental Music Competition (NZ) and the 2006 Tokyo International Guitar Competition. His second solo release, Australian Guitar Music on Naxos was nominated for Best Classical Album at the 2010 ARIA awards.

He has performed widely as a soloist as well as a chamber musician. Together with tenor Robert Macfarlane, he is a part of Duo Trystero, a voice and guitar ensemble dedicated to recently composed works of literary and musical significance.

2015 will see a release of a new solo recording featuring striking new arrangements of three of J.S. Bach’s Cello Suites.

Victorian Guitar Orchestra

Conducted by Ben Dix (member of the Melbourne Guitar Quartet) this orchestra sees a diverse mix of guitarists, young and old, combine to create a full and lustrous sound.

Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two. – Fredric Chopin. With 18 guitarists, the dynamic and colour range available to this orchestra is a unique experience.