Guest guitarist Lily Afshar will perform at Hope College on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the John and Dede Howard Recital Hall of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts.
Public Radio International has acclaimed Afshar as “one of the world’s foremost classical guitarists,” and The Washington Post has described her onstage performance as “remarkable, impeccable.”
In 1989, Afshar became the first woman in the world to be awarded a Doctor of Music degree in guitar performance. Born in Tehran, Iran, Afshar began taking guitar lessons at age 10, and her love for music led her to The Boston Conservatory, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music. She received her Master of Music degree at The New England Conservatory, and studied with Bruce Holzman at Florida State University to receive her Doctor of Music degree.
In 2000, she received the Eminent Faculty Award at the University of Memphis and the Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist. She is a three-time winner of the Annual “Premier Guitarist” awards given by the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and she was chosen as an “Artistic Ambassador” to Africa for the United States Information Agency. She was also presented the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Boston Conservatory in 2011.
Afshar is now not only a tenured professor and head of the guitar program at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, but also the only classical guitarist in the world that blends formal training in the United States and Europe with the rich cultural heritage of Persia. She regularly conducts guitar master classes in conjunction with her touring and during summers in Iran. She has arranged for guitar and published “Five Popular Persian Ballads” with Mel Bay Publications, which also produced a DVD in 2008 titled “Virtuoso Guitar.”
Performing at venues in the United States, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Denmark, Jordan, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, and countries in South America and Africa has enabled Afshar to learn to bridge gaps of culture and distance through her music and performances. International composers with whom she has collaborated include Carlo Domeniconi, Reza Vali and John Baur.
Comparing her performances to the richness of a Persian tapestry, Afshar gives audiences a fresh approach to the standard classical guitar repertoire with music that is new and different. Embracing her Persian heritage, Afshar has not only performed her arrangements of Persian and Azerbaijani pieces, but also fascinated concert goers with occasional live performance on the seh-tar, a traditional Persian instrument which evolved over many centuries into the guitar.
Individual tickets for the concert are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens and Hope faculty and staff, and $5 for students 18 and under. Tickets are available online at hope.edu/tickets as well as at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The ticket office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.
The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts is located at 221 Columbia Ave., between Ninth and 10th streets.