‘Classical Minds’ Institute & Competition
June 10-14, 2015
San Jacinto College - Pasadena
Valerie Hartzell, Executive Director

Jeremy Garcia, Director


Welcome to the 12th Annual 'Classical Minds' Guitar Festival, held at San Jacinto College - Central Campus, Music Bldg (8060 Spencer Hwy. Pasadena, TX 77505). 'Classical Minds' (CM) is open to classical guitarists of all levels and ages. CM further educates middle school, high school, college level students, and adult amateurs with private lessons, technique classes, master classes, lectures, concerts, and workshops. The goal of CM is to increase student’s sight-reading abilities, gain performance experience through the student recital & competition, and reach individual goals through private lessons & master classes. A unique component of the festival is the partnership with Methodist Hospital who will provide lectures from hand specialists and nutritionists.
This year our faculty include Gohar Vardanyan, Matt Palmer, Valerie Hartzell, Susan McDonald and Solero Flamenco.

Thank you for visiting us and please feel free to email us with questions regarding the festival,
Valerie Hartzell, Executive Director of ‘Classical Minds’: valeriehartzell@gmail.com and Jeremy Garcia, Director of ‘Classical Minds’: jsgtr222@gmail.com 

Mission Statement

The 'Classical Minds' Guitar Festival seeks to promote fine arts, music education as well as fostering artistic growth and creativity through the classical guitar while creating a sense of community for professionals and aficionados alike.  Our vision is to become the pre-eminent festival dedicated to the classical guitar in the country. Classical Minds is the first classical guitar festival and competition in the greater Houston area.



CM was founded in 2005 with the goal of further educating the community about classical guitar and to help further their knowledge of the instrument.  We started as an institute of the Texas Music Festival (TMF), held each June at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. In 2008 we added a competition which has grown to be a very respected and coveted event, not only in Houston but nationwide. In 2014 we found a new home at San Jacinto College, Central Campus. Each year we have given students, from predominantly Hispanic and socioeconomically challenged area in Houston, full scholarships to participate in the festival.  This has allowed for the students to dedicate themselves to music and give them the discipline they need to become successful in their education.
Not only do the scholarships help the middle school students but it also allows for students outside of Texas to afford the trip to Houston. We have had college and high school students from Arizona, Alaska, and Maryland who have attended the festival thanks to scholarships.
During the week we have a day recital and lecture series along with evening concerts. Bringing in stellar guitarists such as Matt Palmer, Adam Holzman, Gohar Vardanyan, Martha Masters, Ernesto Tamayo, Jérôme Ducharme from around the world enriches the lives of the Houston community.

These scholarships are possible thanks to private donors from the Houston community and also through local businesses. This year we will continue to fundraise for both scholarships and competition prizes from corporations, businesses, and private sponsors.
If you would like to help, please go to our Donations Page.


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Soundboard Magazine 

Thank you to Soundboard Magazine for including an article on Classical Minds. We have recently pushed the due date for applications to JUNE 2nd. The full schedule of events is also available. I am posting a link to it here and on the applications page. We lost our fundraising coordinator a month ago so we were forced to drop the Open Division. However, we have GREAT high school prizes and a nice middle school division plus a few scholarships available. Please contact me at valeriehartzell@yahoo.com for questions.


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