Guitar greats arriving for festival at BGSU

Jazz guitar great Kurt Rosenwinkel is coming with his quartet to Bowling Green State University for Orchard Guitar Festival, set for tonight and Saturday.

The headlining guest is the Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet. Also featured will be guitarist and composer Fred Hamilton. Rosenwinkel and Hamilton will also have clinics.

“We’ve been trying to get them for many years. The pandemic and schedules and such, well, we finally got them,” said Bill Mathis, dean of the BGSU College of Musical Arts.

Rosenwinkel emerged on the jazz scene in the early 1990s and has collaborated with Eric Clapton, Q-tip and Gary Burton.

“Kurt Rosenwinkel has always been one of my favorite jazz guitarists,” Ariel Kasler, BGSU applied jazz and classical guitar professor, said. “It’s been several years since we have been trying to get him, and finally it is working out.”

Rosenwinkel and Kasler attended the Berklee College of Music.

“Everyone at the time really admired Kurt and tried to sound like him,” Kasler said. “Kurt has a way of playing that is very sophisticated, but also very melodic. I like music that on first hearing it, it sounds beautiful and then, after digging into it, it sounds very deep and impressive too.”

Hamilton is known in jazz circles for his jazz guitar books and video series published by Guitar by Masters.

“Hamilton has a big presence in the guitar education world. He has taught for many years at the University of North Texas, and at (BGSU) we have guitar ensembles that have been playing his music for a long time. I’m excited to have him here,” Kasler said.

Mathis said that Hamilton is recognized as a professor of jazz guitar, and the University of North Texas is the top jazz school in the country.

“He is really famous in the guitar world for his many arrangements for guitar ensembles, that are jazz standards. Many of those will be featured at the festival,” Mathis said.

Mathis said that those arrangements are part of the American songbook, from the 1930s through the 1960s.

While heavily leaning on the jazz guitar, because of the jazz program at BGSU, Mathis pointed out that in the past there have been guests showcasing many different styles of guitar.

The festival is also embracing the jam session concept tonight at 8:45.

“We did this last year as well. We had a small jam session, but this year it is a formal part of the festival,” Kasler said.

Tonight’s Jam Session will be held at the Pub 1910, which is the on-campus bar in the student union.

This is the seventh year for the Orchard Guitar Festival.

“Tom Orchard, the benefactor of the festival, loves everything about guitar music. We wouldn’t be able to do this without the Orchards, Tom and Martha,” Mathis said. “It’s kind of cool. We’ve had a lot of artists come through here for the Orchard Guitar Festival.”

The complete schedule of events can be found on the BGSU website, under the School of Musical Arts, at