International Classical Guitar Festival 2023
19 to 24 August 2023

30th Anniversary Celebration

Festival Director: Andrew Gough with Concert artists and tutors: Xuefei Yang, Craig Ogden, Montes-Kircher Duo (Alfonso Montes & Irina Kircher), Mark Houghton, Vincent Lindsey-Clark, Laura Snowden and Jack Hancher.

Under the directorship of Andrew Gough, West Dean College once again offers the celebrated International Classical Guitar Festival in the idyllic and relaxing surroundings which make this the perfect setting for lessons, masterclasses, ensemble coaching and concerts. The Festival is renowned for its tuition, performance, concerts and geniality, which make it a unique and fulfilling experience for all who attend.

Course structure
The 2023 Festival includes an intensive timetable of events and instruction in a wide range of areas: repertoire classes, ensemble performing, guitar orchestra, individual lessons, ‘the Learning Zones’, and solo masterclasses. A full list of the learning opportunities is in the outline programme and timetable below.

The evening concert series for 2023 commences on Saturday with a solo recital by acclaimed international concert artist Xuefei Yang. On Monday evening the ever-popular Craig Ogden returns to the West Dean stage. We then conclude the series with a performance by the Montes-Kircher Duo on Tuesday evening, in their welcome return to West Dean College.

The Open Day on Sunday 20 August (12.30pm – 7pm) will again celebrate all things guitar; with a selection of guitars and music on display and a variety of events to enjoy. It includes an exhibition of music and instruments, a guitar makers’ showcase with Laura Snowden and masterclass with Xuefei Yang, concluding with a recital by Gold Medal winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition 2022, Jack Hancher in St. Andrew’s Church at 6pm.

2023 Programme

The carefully planned and highly varied programme will appeal to all enthusiasts, from grade two level experience all the way to advanced . The course is open to anyone aged eighteen (18) and over.

Ensemble playing
These sessions provide important awareness of reading and listening skills, and also help with rhythm and counting. Participants are allocated a place in a medium sized ensemble with students of a similar standard. The course concludes with a performance by the ensembles on the Thursday morning.

Guitar Orchestra
This year the orchestra welcomes the return of Vincent Lindsey-Clark as guest conductor. These exciting rehearsals with a larger group of players culminate in a final performance at the end of course concert. Orchestral parts will be emailed out in advance.

In 2023 we are pleased to offer soloist masterclasses with Xuefei Yang and Craig Ogden. (N.B. All masterclasses require a video audition; details on how to apply will be found in the Musical Details form. Applications deadline 23 June 2023.)

Private lessons
Each course participant will receive two 30-minute individual lessons. Please note that playing in a Masterclass is regarded as one lesson.

Repertoire Classes
These are sessions where students may perform 'own choice' solo or small ensemble pieces to a small group of fellow students. Followed by some positive feedback from the tutor and an open discussion about the chosen repertoire.

Student Concerts
These concerts provide a great opportunity for course members to try out their pieces in public, and this year will again include an informal debut recital for those students for whom this would be their first public performance. There will be three lunchtime concerts, plus an evening concert on Wednesday.

Technique Workshops
These increasingly popular ‘question and answer’ classes provide students with the opportunity to discuss, and find ways to improve, a variety of technical issues.

'The Learning Zones'
Consist of a series of lectures and practical workshops covering a wide range of musical and technical aspects of guitar performance.

Alexander Technique – optional extra with an additional charge*
This year we are pleased again to be able to offer one-to-one Alexander Technique sessions with Carolyn Nicholls, a world-renowned Alexander Technique expert who loves working with musicians. *Individual 30-minute lessons available on Monday and Tuesday – £40 each. To pre-book a place, please indicate on the Musical Details form and you will need to pay Carolyn directly at your session, by cash only.

Provisional timetable

  Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
8am-9am   Breakfast

Orchestra & repertoire classes

Warm-up & ensembles

Warm-up & ensembles Warm-up & ensembles

9.15 Ensembles

10.00 Orchestra

10.30am Tea/Coffee Break


11 – 12.15

Learning zone:

Alexander technique workshop

(Old Library)

Craig Odgen


11 – 12.30

(Old Library)

Workshop or lessons


ensemble concert
(Old Library)

12pm Private lesson Practice time
12.30-2pm Lunch

Open day

12.30 – 7pm

Exhibition by individual makers and guitar retailers


Bursary winners’ recital


Xuefei Yang



Makers’ showcase with Laura Snowden


Recital with Jack Hancher at 6pm

Informal student concert

(Old Library)

Informal student concert

(Old Library)

Informal student concert

(Old Library)

Course finishes after lunch

2pm 2.15 Students arrival and registration

Orchestra & repertoire classes

Orchestra & repertoire classes Orchestra & repertoire classes
3.30pm Tea/Coffee break Tea/Coffee break

Welcome and introduction 

(Old Library

Learning zone:

(Old Library

Learning zone:

(Old Library

Learning zone:

(Old Library


5.00 Ensembles


5.45 Orchestra

Repertoire classes

or technique workshop

Repertoire classes

or technique workshop
Practice time
6.05pm Practice time Private lesson Student concert
6.30pm Dinner 7pm Dinner Dinner
8pm Xuefei Yang recital Free time or practice Craig Ogden recital Montes-Kircher concert

7.30 Student concert


2023 Festival Concerts

The following concerts are included as part of the Festival programme. If you have partners/guests staying with you on a resident-only basis for the Festival, individual tickets for the concerts can be purchased by clicking on each event.

About the Guitarists and Tutors

Andrew Gough
Director of the West Dean Classical Guitar Festival, Head of Guitar at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department, ensembles director and concert guitarist

Jack Hancher
Jack Hancher is a rising star of the classical guitar. In 2022, he won the prestigious Gold Medal of the Royal Overseas League Competition, becoming just the third guitarist to win the award.

Mark Houghton
Award winning composer of over 120 works for guitar. A popular guitarist and teacher from Liverpool, Mark’s works have been published and performed worldwide.

Irina Kircher
International concert artist, composer and teacher from Stuttgart, Germany. Director of the Guitar Department at Stuttgarter Musikschule. Half of the outstanding Montes-Kircher Duo with her husband Alfonso Montes

Vincent Lindsey-Clark
English guitarist Vincent Lindsey-Clark is well known for his compositions for the instrument. He writes music for both students and professionals, much of which has been used extensively by the major exam boards and performed all round the world. He has also written two guitar concertos.

Alfonso Montes
Venezuelan composer, teacher and performer. Alfonso is a prolific composer not only of works for the guitar but also of symphonic, chamber and film music. Now based in Stuttgart, Alfonso joins us at West Dean with his wife and duo partner Irina Kircher.

Craig Ogden
Craig is one of the UK's most recorded guitarists, including five Classic FM No.1 albums in the UK classical chart. Head of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Laura Snowden
Renowned British-French guitarist and composer. Tutor at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. As an international artist Laura has performed across Europe, the USA and in China.

Xuefei Yang
Xuefei is a prize winning Chinese international concert artist. Commissioner of new works for the guitar, EMI recording artist and popular visiting lecturer.

Required preparation

Please complete the Musical Details form and send or email to the Bookings Office at the time you make your booking.  You need to bring your own guitar, music stand, footstool/guitar-rest, and a selection of current repertoire to use in lessons and repertoire classes, and for performances in the student concerts.

Musical Details Form

Fees and Accommodation

Non-resident student fee £648 including coffee, lunch, tea and dinner daily, as evening events are planned.

Accommodation fees Summer 2023 per person, including breakfast:

Annexe Rooms Standard Rooms Superior Rooms
With en-suite shower Single occupancy with private bath/shower en-suite or adjacent (Main House/Vicarage) Twin occupancy with private bath/shower en-suite or adjacent (Main House/Vicarage) Single occupancy with en-suite bath/shower (Main House/Vicarage) Sharing twin bedroom with en-suite bath/shower (Main House/Vicarage)
£355 £480 £320 £600 £380


Partners are welcome to stay with you at the Festival on a resident-only basis, please refer to the website for details. Partners/guests can also purchase tickets for the concerts via the website.

Arrival and finishing times

The Festival begins on Saturday 19 August at 4pm.  Please arrive and register between 2pm and 3.30pm (before tea). If you wish to arrive in time for lunch on Saturday, it is essential that you book in advance by emailing the Bookings Office.

The course ends at 2pm on Thursday 24 August. Please advise us in advance if you need to depart before the advertised finishing time.

If you wish to arrive early and arrive on Friday evening 18 August, rooms may be available if booked in advance with the Bookings Office.

Booking your place

To make your booking, please complete the musical details form and book online here.

For full Terms and Conditions please refer to the website.

Further enquiries

If you have any queries concerning course content please contact:

Andrew Gough, Festival Director
E-mail: [email protected]

If you have any queries concerning booking the course or accommodation please contact:
The Bookings Office, West Dean College, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ.
Tel 01243 818300  
Phoning from abroad: +44 1243 818300 
Fax: +44 (0) 1243 818293
Email: [email protected]

Book your place today

Bursary Fund Raffle

1st Prize – An Inizio Classical Guitar donated by Steve Toon Guitars, with a Hiscox Case donated by Classical Guitar Centre, Birmingham, plus a donated year’s subscription to Acoustic Guitar magazine.

2nd Prize – Publications of Gary Ryan’s music donated by Universal Edition and a subscription to Acoustic Guitar magazine.

3rd Prize – A mixed box of guitar strings donated by Luthier Strings and a subscription to Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Tickets: £5 each. Please purchase them from West Dean College Reception or at events or concerts during the Classical Guitar Festival.

Raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 22 August 2023 in St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean at the end of the interval of the evening concert.