International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC)

Honorary President John Williams | Director Professor Steve Goss | Deputy Director Dr Milton Mermikides

In March 2014, the University of Surrey launched the International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC). The research centre aims to establish an international hub for guitar-centered research in all styles of music.

Surrey has had a strong association with the guitar since the 1960’s when Reginald Smith-Brindle was Professor. In more recent times, the Guildford Guitar Weekend has become a permanent fixture in the annual cycle of significant guitar events in the UK. The University has a large cohort of guitarist PhD students and alumni.

The research centre will work in close affiliation with various partner institutions including the IGF (International Guitar Foundation, King’s Place, London), the IGRA (International Guitar Research Archive, CSUN, Los Angeles, California) and the University of São Paulo (Brazil).

International Guitar Research Conference, March 2016

International Guitar Research Conference, March 2016

The most recent large-scale event at the IGRC was a conference that took place from 18th to 23rd March 2016. Some of the most distinguished and highly regarded scholars and musicians from around the world gathered for this major international conference featuring six public concerts, four keynote lectures, and over 50 lecture-recitals and academic papers. There was a conference installation in the Lewis Elton Art Gallery and delegates had the chance to try the latest Moog guitars in the project room. Visitors were also able to visit the Maurice J Summerfield Collection which was recently donated to the University Archives & Special Collections.

Keynote lectures were given by Jonathan Leathwood (University of Denver), Thomas Heck (Guitar Foundation of America), Tilman Hoppstock (Academy of Music, Darmstadt) and Christopher Page (University of Cambridge). Concert artists included the Mobius Trio (USA), Tilman Hoppstock (Germany), The Ant Law Trio (UK), and a special concert featuring the newly commissioned works by the Julian Bream Foundation from Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Leo Brouwer, and Julian Anderson.

Video and audio recordings and presentation slide shows will be published here later in the year.

 IGRC Launch Event

The launch was a two-day event on 29th and 30th March 2014 that included academic papers, seminars, public discussions, lecture-recitals and concerts. Guest artists included John Williams, Xuefei Yang, Newton Faulkner, The Amadeus Guitar Duo, Bridget Mermikides, Declan Zapala and Michael Partington.

Future plans for the research centre include:

  • The hosting of regular research events
  • Co-hosting events with the IGF at London’s South Bank and King’s Place
  • Developing an online database of guitar research
  • Building an online network of current guitar researchers and research projects
  • Increasing the number of affiliated institutions and industry partnerships
  • Providing an online peer reviewed publishing platform for guitar research in conjunction with the International Guitar Research Archive in Los Angeles
  • Applications for funded research projects
  • Applications for funded research degree studentships through the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) block grant scheme or through the Faculty of Arts and Humanities studentship competition

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