Virtual Event: Baltimore Classical Guitar Society Master Classes and Concerts—The Beijing Guitar Duo

I’ve been an amateur classical guitarist for more than thirty years, and when I lived in Baltimore, I had access to resources that are hard to find elsewhere. There was the Peabody Conservatory, which hosted free noon recitals, usually by undergraduate and graduate performers. There was the Community College of Baltimore County, where I could enroll for a semester when I wanted to take a class and bolster skills that had reached a plateau. And there was the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, which offered multiple events: a concert series, usually at Towson University; master classes by local classical guitarists as well as visitors such as David Russell; an annual guitar festival; and regular opportunities for members to perform on stage.

Since moving back to New Orleans, the BCGS is a Baltimore institution that I have missed. Recently, however, I’ve been able to reconnect with it. The pandemic is consistently horrible, but it has at least inspired several organizations to create a new wave of virtual events. The BCGS is one of them, and I hope they will continue providing virtual access to their offerings when the world is able to shift back to in-person performances and classes.

The BCGS is presenting an ambitious virtual event this week, a Guitar Celebration Weekend that will start on Thursday, January 28, and end on Monday, February 1. The Beijing Guitar Duo, Meng Su and Yameng Wang, will be teaching three master classes over the course of the celebration as well as performing in a Saturday night concert.

As an observer, I attended multiple master classes led by these performers. I also went to their concerts and recitals whenever possible. They are both incredible guitarists as well as patient and knowledgeable teachers. On Thursday night, they will be teaching Peabody students only, but members of the BCGS can audition by video to participate as students in the Sunday and Monday classes. Membership in BCGS is extremely affordable (the basic membership is $25.00 a year), and members participate in master classes for free. Membership also gives you reduced rates for concert tickets.

Over the past year, the BCGS hosted several virtual master classes. They were arranged in a lecture and demonstration format, but, thanks to the chat function, the instructors were able to respond to the questions of the attendees. With the added participation of student guitarists, the BCGS Guitar Celebration Weekend master classes promise new levels of interactive instruction, and I hope that they will generate future classes and similar opportunities. Guitarists and music fans should make every effort to attend the classes and the concert.

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