Skip to Content

Hill Country Classical Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition

Hill Country Guitar Festival poster

The Second Annual Hill Country Classical Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition

March 8 and 9, 2019

This festival will be held at the beautiful Texas State University – San Marcos campus. This is a national competition and is open to high school students, college level students and independent studios of high school classification in an effort to bring like-minded individuals together to celebrate guitar and strive for excellence in performance. These performances will be adjudicated by a prestigious panel of judges including Tony Morris, Chad Ibison, and Janet Grohovac.

Stellar and award-winning classical guitarist, Chad Ibison, will be featured on the evening of the 8th. The dazzling Texas Guitar Quartet will close the festival with their captivating blend of lyricism and virtuosity on the evening of the 9th. These guest artists will be giving masterclasses on the day of the competition. There are a limited number of masterclass spaces available. Positions will be granted to early registrants.

A vendor fair will also be present at our festival that will include luthiers and publishers.

Registration will open on Saturday morning at 8:00 am (March 9) and remain open until 9:30 am. Competition performances will begin at 9:00 am and continue throughout the day until 5:00 pm with a break for lunch.

Twenty-five institutions will be accepted. No more institutions will be accepted after twenty-five. 

Pricing and deadlines for registration and masterclasses are located on the registration form. See below.


• There are no set pieces for the competition, although, programming with contrasting works are expected and will be one of the facets to be evaluated – along with tuning, unified time, tone quality, balance, mix, interpretation, dynamics, musicality, presentation, etc.

• High school students (ages 14 to 19) must prepare a program of seven to ten minutes (must not exceed. Include any change of chair configuration into your time, if applicable).

• College students (no age limit) must prepare a program of twelve to fifteen minutes (must not exceed. Include any change of chair configuration into your time, if applicable).

• Performances will be timed. Competitors will be cut off should program exceed the time limit.

• There are no penalties for exceeding the time limit, but we encourage participants to remain within the boundaries of these time limits.

• Ten points will be deducted (per judge) should the director perform with students. There is no penalty for directors conducting for their students.

• Only classical guitars are permitted to be used. Upper or lower ranged instruments such as a requinto or acoustic bass may also be used as long as the strings are nylon. No electric or steel-string  instruments.

 Click here to view hotel information and directions

Competition Registration Form:

(click here to download)

Registration forms must be received by February 20th to get the $30.00 per participant charge. Late registrants will be charged $50.00 per participant. No registration forms will be accepted on or following February 27th.

We encourage all participants to arrive in San Marcos on Friday, March 8 by 6:00 pm so that all participants can enjoy our opening concert at 8:00 pm featuring the dazzling Chad Ibison.

For Potential Vendors:

Vendor Application:
(click here to download)


Chad Ibison – March 8 at 8:00 pm at the TSU School of Music Recital Hall

Chad Ibison
Chad Ibison

American guitarist Chad Ibison has captivated audiences across North America and abroad through his imaginative musical interpretations and charismatic stage presence. Hailed through critical acclaim, Chad has been described as “really versatile in terms of contrast and range of expression” (Classical Guitar Canada) with “masterful phrasing combined with technical precision” ( Composer Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, perhaps best describes Ibison’s impact as a performer; “Chad gave an incendiary performance. His approach was, at the same time, aggressive and intimate. He melded with the instrument, and the result was brash, expressive and technically secure.” 

Along with his critical acclaim, Ibison has accumulated ten first place awards among his eighteen top prize wins at international guitar competitions. Chad has distinguished himself in some of the world’s most prestigious competitions: The Guitar Foundation of America, JoAnn Falletta Concerto Competition and Boston’s New England Conservatory Guitarfest. As a result of the competition wins, Chad is sought after as a concert artist throughout America. He participates regularly at many guitar festivals as a performer, teacher and judge.

Currently, Chad resides in Austin, Texas where he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a doctorate in guitar performance while serving as Adam Holzman’s teaching assistant. For his final year as a doctoral candidate, Chad created a new critical edition of selections from the 24 Caprichos de Goya, op. 195 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. 

Chad is a member of the Grohovac-Ibison Duo, where he and Dr. Janet Grohovac perform throughout the US and abroad. Recent concerts include the Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Taxco, Mexico, St. Barnabas’ concert series in Canada, Ticino Musica’s concerts in Lugano, Switzerland, Greater-Houston Guitar Guild concert series, Austin Classical Guitar’s Cactus Café series, and Austin’s radio stations KMFA and KVRX. The duo also collaborated as clinicians for Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project in partnership with Austin Classical Guitar.      

As a dedicated educator, Chad began teaching at a young age which eventually led to the formation of his thriving company, CMI Music Lessons in Houston, Texas, where Chad taught on average sixty students per week for over fifteen years. In addition, Chad has also taught at The University of Texas at Austin, Columbus Conservatory, Orpheus Music Academy, St. Elmo Elementary, and in masterclasses across the United States and abroad. As of 2016, Chad Ibison currently is the Assistant Professor at Texas Lutheran University.

TxGQ – March 9 at 8:00 pm at the TXST School of Music Recital Hall

Texas Guitar Quartet

Formed in 2008, the Texas Guitar Quartet has been hailed as “Impeccable in every respect” by Classical Guitar Magazine. Throughout the United States, Central America, Spain, and China, audiences have embraced the quartet for their daring programs, dazzling virtuosity and joyful music making. Recent highlights include performances for the Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra 2016 (Nicaragua), Victoria Bach Festival, Guitar Foundation of America Convention, Festival Internacional del Noreste (Mexico), and Texas Music Festival. During the summer of 2015, the quartet presented a series of concerts in historic cathedrals along the Camino de Santiago, Spain. 
The TxGQ recently premiered a landmark new work by lauded American composer Nico Muhly in collaboration with Grammy-winning chamber choir Conspirare, Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and the Dublin Guitar Quartet. The group continues to push the boundaries of the guitar quartet medium by premiering new works by Joseph Williams II, Peter Lieuwen, Mark Anthony Cruz and John Truitt and creating daring arrangements of orchestral works by Mozart, Beethoven and Ravel. 
Red, the quartet's first album, was released to critical acclaim and was praised by Guitar International as a “tremendous accomplishment for the classical guitar...the TxGQ perform with virtuosity, clarity, balance, and a refined character which will no doubt help to establish them as one of today’s leading guitar quartets.” Their latest album, Icon, features the complete 40th Symphony by Mozart was released in late 2018. 
The TxGQ has been featured in concertos with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra (Maestro Marcelo Bussiki), Camerata Bach and Nicaraguan Youth Symphony (Maestro César Bermúdez Rodriguez), Sam Houston State University Symphony Orchestra (Maestro Zachary Carretin) and the Abilene Philharmonic (Maestro David Itkin). They have been part of the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artist Roster since 2010. The TxGQ is Isaac Bustos, Jay Kacherski, Alejandro Montiel, and Joseph Palmer.