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Since 2010, the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society has hosted the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival. 14-16 December 2018 at the ICCR in Kolkata, will mark the 9th edition of this event. This year we have concerts by Thu Le & Lorenzo Bernardi (Italy), Raphaella Smits (Belgium), Máté Palásti (Hungary), Javier Somoza (Spain), Johannes Moller (Sweden) Ricardo J Martins & Fernando Ponte (Portugal) and Gary Ryan (England).

  • This is the only festival of its kind in India.
  • The largest in Asia.
  • And features Grammy award winning artistes, legendary composers & unforgettable concerts.
  • Partners
    • Istituto Italiano di Cultura
    • Instituto Cervantes
    • Embassy of Spain in India
    • Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata
    • Instituto Camões (Portuguese Embassy Cultural Centre)
    • Balassi Institute (Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre)

Spanish Guitar Competition

Part of the festival includes a national-level classical guitar competition presented by the Instituto Cervantes New Delhi and Embassy of Spain in India.

Established with the intention of fostering an interest in Spanish music and culture in India, this is now an integral part of the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival. Prizes include a trip to Spain and participation in the Cordoba Guitar Festival, a formal recital in the Instituto Cervantes, a prize guitar by Alhambra guitars, and strings and guitar accessories by Savarez.

Date: 13 December 2018, Venue: The Calcutta School of Music

About the concerts 


By Thu Le & Lorenzo Bernardi

Friday 14 Dec, 6.30-7.30 pm

Partners: Instituto Italiano di Cultura & Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata

The duo will pay homage to the great Italian musical tradition. They will take us through an exciting journey through the centuries, across Italian regions and styles. From the Italian baroque of Domenico Scarlatti and Antonio Vivaldi, we’ll continue through the ages hearing Neapolitan song, Opera with Gioacchino Rossini, and all the way up to the 20th century with Ennio Morricone.


By Raphaella Smits

Friday 14 Dec, 8-9 pm

Raphaella Smits plays worldwide in her unique way on eight-string guitars and historical instruments. This concert is on a special guitar designed for her by John Gilbert in 1980. The repertoire contains the best of Raphaella’s repertoire, focussing on Baroque (Purcell, Telemann and Bach’s Chaconne) but also includes a suite by the Ponce which though written in the 20th century pays tribute to the Baroque guitar master Sylvius Leopold Weiss.


By Máté Palásti
Saturday 15 Dec, 5-6 pm

Partners: Balassi Institute (Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre)

South American rhythms, Gypsy roots, Máté Palásti the Hungarian fingerstyle guitarist will give us a little jazz, a little improvisation, a little flamenco and a lot from South America with music by Jobim, Van Heusen, Snétberger, Guinga, Paco de Lucia, Sonny Rollins, Vicente Amigo, Yamandu Costa among others.


By Javier Somoza

Saturday 15 Dec, 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Partners: Instituo Cervantes & Embassy of Spain in India

Music written for the maestro Andres Segovia, or made popular by him, this concert by Javier Somoza (Prof., Royal Conservatory Madrid) will present the best of what we associate with Spanish classical guitar. Music by Santiago de Murcia, Dionisio Aguado, Joaquín Turina, Rosa García Ascot, Francisco Tárrega, Emilio Pujol, Frank Martin and Manuel López-Quiroga.


by Johannes Moller

Saturday 15 Dec,8-9 pm

Swedish-born guitarist 2010 Johannes Moller waswas awarded the first prize in the Concert Artist Competition Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), considered by many to be the most prestigious classical guitar competition in the world. Today Johannes performs close to a hundred concerts per year and have a large following in China, Europe, Australia, North & South America. This performance will feature music from Johannes Moller’s newest classical guitar album and his own genre blending compositions, this is a personal and unique concert about following your heart and believing in our dreams.


by Ricardo J Martins & Fernando Ponte
Sunday 16 Dec, 6.30-7.30 pm

Partners: Instituto Camões (Portuguese Embassy Cultural Centre)

For the first time in Kolkata, this duo will present ‘fado’ the traditional folk music from Portugal described by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. It is usually characterised by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. The Portuguese Guitar (an ethnic instrument which resembles more the mandolin than the contemporary) is the main accompanying instrument for this song. Ricardo J Marins discovered that it was through the Portuguese Guitar that he could truly express his musicality. He is constantly in search of new ways of expression on the Portuguese Guitar through composition and performance. But even in this search, he is committed to the roots of the instrument. He will be accompanied by Fernando Ponte.


by Gary Ryan

Sunday 16 Dec, 8-9pm

The UK guitarist Gary Ryan is one of the world’s leading exponents of the instrument and has won international critical acclaim for his exceptional technical control, profound musical insight and entertaining recital programmes. He is also well known for his highly innovative guitar compositions and in May 2013 was awarded a prestigious Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, London, by HRH Prince Charles in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the international musical world. In this concert of original exciting pieces for the guitar, Gary will take the audience on a unique and fascinating musical journey, coaxing an amazing range of sounds from the instrument and revealing the guitar’s full potential through performances of music across an incredibly diverse range of styles.

How the guitar festival began

The Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival was started with the intention of developing and promoting classical guitar music in the region. This is a niche art form – western classical music played on a traditional Spanish (nylon-string) guitar – with a dedicated following. Students in India have very little exposure to live concerts and international-standard education for this.

A national impact

The impact an annual festival focussed on concerts and education was felt across India. Guitarists in different parts of the country have been inspired to organise themselves & form similar societies. We now have informal guitar associations in Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Goa, Nagaland, Darjeeling, Delhi and Shillong. Through this network, 2018 will feature the Guwahati International Classical Guitar Festival and the Imphal International Classical Guitar Festival!

A house-full Western classical music festival!

For the last 2 years in a row, all our concerts have been sold out. This is the first western classical music festival in India to be houseful.

The 9th edition

Classical guitarists consider the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival an annual pilgrimage. And while, the festival has made a permanent imprint on people within this community it has also an eagerly-awaited event for concert-goers in Calcutta.

We are happy to invite you to join us for the festival, to enjoy the music, and be a part of our guitar family!