Uppsala International Guitar Festival is the music event that celebrates to the most commonly-used instrument on earth: the guitar. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the 2023 edition promises another smorgasbord of world-class music and artists, joyful encounters, workshops, masterclasses and talks – sprinkled with a heavy dose of musical magic.

The festival was inaugurated for the first time in 2003 and has grown rapidly, accruing more sensational acts and larger audiences as each year passes, to become one of the most influential events of its kind. John Williams, Paco De Lucia, Pat Metheny, Anoushka Shankar, Steve Vai, Tommy Emmanuel and Jennifer Batten are just some of the big names that have visited over the years, and the 2023 edition will see more yet. The festival programme is filled with major musical influences from across the globe and the founder Klaus Pontvik is excited for what’s to come.

Uppsala International Guitar Festival: The world’s most popular instrument celebrated with world class artists

Left: Yamandu Costa. Photo: Rodrigo Lopes. Right: Anne Sofie von Otter. Photo: Uppsala Gitarrfestival

Bringing people together

“The guitar is a social instrument, it gathers people – whether at a jovial party, a protest march, or around the campfire, a guitar brings people together. Uppsala Guitar Festival is a celebration of that musical power, gathering people through inspiring activities and transformative concerts. This year’s edition has an exciting number of artists in store, with many different traditions, influences and genres that will fuse together in musical performances. There will be something for everyone,” says Pontvik. In addition to the concerts, there will be a number of masterclasses, talks and workshops held by the artists themselves – the perfect activity for professional guitarists, guitar-nerds and amateurs alike.

Uppsala International Guitar Festival: The world’s most popular instrument celebrated with world class artists

Left: Göran Söllscher. Photo: Per Martinsson. Right: Amalie Stålheim. Photo: Uppsala Gitarrfestival

Influences from across the globe

The programme is filled with established legends as well as rising stars from three continents. The festival opens with a spectacular show where the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the most famous chamber orchestra in Sweden, will take to the stage along with Swedish guitar legend Göran Söllscher, rising star Carlotta Dalia from Italy, and the newly-founded ensemble Uppsala Guitar Quartet, featuring young stars from four different countries.

Another performance will include Antoine Boyer and Samuelito, whose spellbinding string pieces incorporate influences from jazz, flamenco, classical and pop, and whose interpretations of others’ music includes that of giants such as Django Reinhardt. Meanwhile, Brazil´s greatest guitarist Yamandu Costa and Jan Lundgren serves Nordic tunes mixed with billowing Brazilian rhythms in their performance Inner Spirits. Bireli Lagrene and Ulf Wakenius will perform a magical rhapsody of musical improvisations and interpretations inspired by references spanning Romani culture, American jazz standards and classical music such as Bach.

The festival finishes in glorious style on Saturday evening with a Gala concert Gracias a La Vida! The concert will be a celebration of life with music by Franz Schubert as well as a selection of songs from Sweden and Latin America. The unforgettable grand finale will be a star-studded evening featuring well-known Swedish and international names: the great Mats Bergström, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, jazz-guitarist Jojje Wadenius, Amalie Stalheim, and Argentinian singer Teresa Parodi, to name but a few.

Uppsala – a city of music, culture and history

Uppsala is a city with a rich history, pegged to become the European Capital of Culture in 2029. At just a short distance from the Swedish capital Stockholm and only 18 minutes from the main airport, Arlanda, Uppsala is it the perfect destination. In addition to the manifold historical monuments and sites where its longstanding university tradition has left a distinctive mark, there’s a buzzing culture and food scene that is worth exploring over a weekend. This, in combination with world class guitar music, will leave no visitor disappointed.

“The guitar has a power to gather people, and I believe that linking people across borders is the most beautiful thing you can do. Uppsala Guitar Festival is an extension of that spellbinding capability inherent to the instrument, and we can’t wait to welcome our visitors to another year of music, joy and magic in Uppsala,” Pontvik concludes.

Uppsala International Guitar Festival: The world’s most popular instrument celebrated with world class artists

Left: Dalia. Photo: Paolo Bibi. Right: Mats Bergström. Photo: Karl Melander

Web: www.uppsalagitarrfestival.se
Instagram: @gitarrfestival
Festival programme 2023
Location: Uppsala Concert Hall

Thursday 28/9

Opening concert: Göran Söllscher, Carlotta Dalia, Uppsala Guitar Quartet, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Christian Karlsen

Derek Gripper & Ballaké Sissoko

Friday 29/9

Presentation of 2022 contest winner Sohta Nakabayashi

Uppsala Guitar Quartet (Alvaro Toscano, Cristina Galietto, Jack Hunter & Filip Miscovic)

Antoine Boyer & Samuelito Yamandu Costa & Jan Lundgren - Inner Spirits

Guitar Fair

Saturday 30/9

Young Talent Competition

Bireli Lagrene & Ulf Wakenius (Gypsy jazz, fusion)

Gala Concert: Gracias a La vida! Mats Bergström, Anne Sofie von Otter, Jojje Wadenius, Amalie Stalheim, Teresa Parodi, Yamandu Costa, Carlotta Dalia and more.

Guitar Fair

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