Jay Kacherski – Artistic Director
"Virtuosismo" and "technical dominance" are the words used by the press to describe American guitarist, Jay Kacherski. A native of New York, Kacherski has performed worldwide as a soloist and member of the Grammy-nominated Texas Guitar Quartet. He has appeared at distinguished music festivals and venues including the Festival International de Guitarra de Taxco, Mexico, the Florida Guitar Foundation, the Brevard Music Center, Round Top, the New Orleans International Guitar Festival, the Austin Classical Guitar Society, and the International Guitar Art Festival in Shenzhen, China. He also collaborated with Grammy-winners and nominees such as the chamber choir Conspirare, Chilean flutist Viviana Guzman, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and renowned composer Libby Larsen.
Kacherski spent two years in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar and member of the guitar faculty at the Escuela Nacional de Música, the music conservatory for the National University of Mexico (UNAM) researching, performing, and promoting contemporary classical guitar music of Mexico. His guide and teacher was world-renowned Mexican guitarist, Dr. Juan Carlos Laguna. Kacherski has since premiered and recorded many new works from Mexico and has created a complete catalog of Mexican guitar works with links to videos, audio, scores, and more that can be found at http://www.kacherskiguitar.com.
His debut solo album, Synthesis: 20th & 21st Century Guitar Music from Mexico, was the culmination of his Fulbright work. The recording, on the Frameworks Records label, has been hailed by Soundboard magazine as a “…brilliant album” and “one of the finest guitar solo recordings of recent years”. His latest recording, Landscapes, with Brazilian pianist Lina Morita, also on the Frameworks Records label, is an album of new works for piano and guitar duo by award winning composers: Jefferson Todd Frazier, Olga Amelkina-Vera, Luciana Bigazzi and Maurizio Colonna among others. The duo recently commissioned a new work by the celebrated Brazilian-American composer, Clarice Asaad, that will be premiered in 2024.
Kacherski is currently on the guitar faculty at Loyola University of New Orleans, the University of New Orleans, and McNeese State University, as well as NOCCA (the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.)
He is Artistic Director of the 6-day Houston Classical Guitar Festival & Competition and the Loyola Guitar Festival in New Orleans as well as the Director of the Francis G. Bulber Youth Orchestra Guitar Program.
Kacherski’s academic studies include a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Music in Guitar Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and undergraduate degrees from Florida Southern College where he graduated with honors. (kacherskiguitar.com)
Jeremy Garcia – Associate Artistic Director
Jeremy García is a classically trained guitarist and noted composer who successfully transitioned to flamenco. As Associate Artistic Director of the Houston Classical Guitar Festival, he works with the Artistic Director and Education Director in the planning of the HCGFest, including selection of guest artists and festival programming. At the HCGFest, he has conducted many workshops in composition and flamenco technique. He performs often as a soloist and with Solero Flamenco for festival and preview concerts.
García and singer Irma LaPaloma cofounded the renowned Solero Flamenco, Houston’s premier flamenco performance company. Together and with many locally and internationally recognized artists, they have wowed audiences throughout the United States. García and LaPaloma were recently honored to participate in a project for Houston Grand Opera, Suite Española: Explorando Ibéria, created by HGO Artistic Advisor Ana María Martínez, one of the greatest sopranos of our time. The concert celebrates the music of Spain, including the art form known as zarzuela, or Spanish musical theater, by featuring a collage of selections from the repertoire’s most beautiful pieces. García, guitarist for the production, accompanied Martinez and played his arrangement of Asturias accompanied by flamenco dancer Manuel Gutierrez Cabello. LaPaloma was choreographer for the production.
In addition to many solo guitar pieces, García also is known for his composition, “Suite Andaluz,” which evokes the influences of Andalusian folklore in three movements. Composed and arranged for full orchestra with flamenco song, guitar and dance, “Suite Andaluz” was recently performed by Solero Flamenco and the Helena Symphony Orchestra in Montana, as well as by the Brazosport Symphony and Grace Symphony Orchestra in Texas. “Concierto Nuevo Flamenco” is another original concerto he co-composed for two guitars and orchestra. As a soloist, García performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the Helena Symphony (2017), Fort Bend Symphony (2006) and again with the Brazosport Symphony (2007 and 2016). His recordings of original music include Baile del Sol and Distancia
García earned a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and a Masters degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. As Professor of Music, García founded the guitar program at San Jacinto College that he directed for 20 years. He has an active performance schedule as soloist and with Solero Flamenco, and he is working on new compositions and other innovative projects. (jeremygarcia.net)
Eddie Healy – Education Director
Eddie Healy serves on the Board of Gulf Coast Guitar Association as Education Director of the Houston Classical Guitar Festival & Competition. A prolific composer and concert guitarist, Healy has performed in Spain, Mexico, and the United States. In Mexico he was featured at the 19th Annual International Guitar Festival of Morelia, the 4th Festival Internacional de Guitarra Ramón Noble, and in Spain at the annual 2014 and 2016 ChamberArt Madrid Festival. He and his duet partner, Dr. Brandi Estwick, perform routinely and serve as faculty for the annual ChamberArt Madrid Festival.
His original compositions have been performed by many artists throughout the world and can be heard on his CD, “Direction”. He has composed the theme to a series of podcasts produced by UTD titled “A Conversation With…”, scores for several video games, and the alma mater for Rogers Middle School in Prosper, Texas. In 2012 Healy released a CD consisting exclusively of his compositions titled, “Direction”. James Scott of minor7th.com said that the recording “…is a triumph, offering the listener accessible compositions matched by immaculate performances.” He published the sheet music for several of the compositions from Direction with Joachim-Trekel of Hamburg, Germany in 2010 and has nine publications with Les Productions d’OZ to date. Eddie is a member of ASCAP.
Healy is the Coordinator of Guitar and Music Theory Studies at the Eastfield campus of Dallas College in Mesquite, TX and teaches at the Gray School of Music. He directs the Brookhaven-Allegro Guitar Orchestra, a community guitar ensemble in Dallas. Healy is the Assistant Director of the Texas International Guitar Competition & Festival as well as that festival’s youth competition.
Healy received a Bachelor’s in classical guitar performance at The University of North Texas and completed his Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University. (www.eddiehealy.com)
Andrea Ricci Cannon – Outreach Director
Andrea Cannon is a performer proficient in classical and jazz guitar. An alumna of Berklee College of Music, she studied Jazz Guitar Performance and also received an Outstanding Alumni Service Award. Post-Collegiate studies include Applied Performance in Classical Guitar with Robert Guthrie of Southern Methodist University.
Cannon directs Guitar Arts Pre-Collegiate Studio in Houston and is a jazz consultant to Spring Texas School District. She formerly directed applied guitar studies at Lone Star College-North Harris County. Her students have received awards for classical performance in competitions through Music Teachers National Association, Eastfield College, University of Texas-Dallas, the Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Festival, Houston Young Artists Concerts and the Guitar Foundation of America Ensemble Showcase. Jazz students have been selected to Region Jazz Ensemble and showcased twice at Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
She travels internationally as a clinician and performer in Europe, Central and South America as well as cities throughout the USA and Canada. Cannon has been published in the American Suzuki Journal, Soundboard Magazine and American Music Teacher. She is certified through the Music Teachers National Association and is a Registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association.
The arts advocacy group Alarte of Guatemala City, Guatemala has created a scholarship in her name. The first recipient of the 'Beca Andrea Cannon' is enjoying the benefits of a new guitar as well as expert Suzuki instruction.
As Outreach Director of the Board of Directors of Houston Classical Guitar Festival & Competition, Cannon is responsible for augmenting guitar programs in the public schools and for sending our guitarists to perform in retirement communities and hospitals. (andreacannon.com)
Clara McLain – Communications Director
Clara McLain serves as Communications Director and as faculty for the Houston Classical Guitar Festival and Competition, teaching guitar technique to beginning and intermediate students and advertising the Festival and other performances.
She was a featured guest artist and teacher at the Summer Guitar Conservatory, a project of Guitar Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free guitar education opportunities for students throughout Houston. McLain formerly was faculty member at the “Classical Minds” Guitar Festival and Competition when it was in Houston.
McLain attended Brookhaven College, studying with Rodger Bennett, where she performed the Vivaldi Guitar Concerto No. 1 with the Brookhaven College String Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Matson Topper, and where she also received the Alice Jones Berding Award in Music. She then transferred to Southern Methodist University, receiving the Honor Transfer, Veritas, and Artistic Scholarships, and where, under the tutelage of Robert Guthrie, she earned her Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance. Pre-college, she studied with the acclaimed guitarist and composer David Brandon at Texas Tech University in Lubbock; and privately with Robert Guthrie, Professor of Guitar at Southern Methodist University's renowned Meadows School of the Arts.
McLain performed in masterclasses taught by many of the worlds’s most famous classical guitarists: Ana Vidovic, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Adam Holzman, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli (Solo Duo), Rene Izquierdo, Edel Muñoz, Matt Palmer, and Gohar Vardanyan.
In competitions, she was a Finalist in the Professional Division at the 2018 Mountainview Guitar Festival and Competition in Dallas. Earlier, she placed in the High School Division of many competitions including: the 2013 University of Texas Dallas Guitar Festival and Competition, the 2013 Classical Minds Guitar Festival and Competition in Houston, the 2013 Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition in Bloomington and the 2011 West Texas Guitar Festival and Competition in Odessa.
McLain currently performs and teaches in the Houston and Galveston areas. (claramclain.com)
Board of Directors
James D. Crain
Associate Artistic Director