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Artistic Director

Meet Slava Grigoryan, Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director.

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Regarded as a ‘wizard’ of the guitar, Slava has forged a prolific reputation as a classical guitar virtuoso.

Grigoryan was born in Kazakhstan and immigrated with his family to Australia in 1981. He began studying the guitar with his violinist father Edward at the age of 6. By the time he was 17 he was signed to the Sony Classical Label. His relationship with Sony Classical, ABC Classics in Australia, ECM in Germany and his own label Which Way Music has led to the release of over 30 solo and collaborative albums spanning a vast range of musical genres. 

At the age of 18, his first tour was with guitar legends Paco Pena and Leo Kottke. Since then he has travelled the world as a soloist in recitals and with orchestras in Europe, Asia and North America. Appearances with orchestras have included the London Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Halle, the Dresden Radio Orchestra, the Israel Symphony and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has performed at dozens of national and international arts festivals and guitar festivals. He has won four ARIA awards for Best Classical Album and performs regularly as a soloist with all of Australia’s symphony orchestras. He has had three critically acclaimed tours with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and internationally his performances have taken him to some of the world’s leading venues. From numerous appearances in London’s Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall, to New York’s Carnegie Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and Tokyo’s Sumida Triphony Hall, Slava Grigoryan has developed a talent for bewitching his audiences. 

Collaborations have played a huge part in Grigoryan’s career, most notably the guitar duo with Leonard Grigoryan. Together they have released more than ten duo albums and appeared on many others. Their touring has seen them perform throughout Europe, America, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. From 2017 to 2019, they played to sell-out audiences in Australia, the US, the UK and Ireland as part of k.d. lang’s Ingénue Redux tour, making their debuts in iconic venues such as the Beacon Theatre in New York City, the Hammersmith Apollo in London, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and the National Concert Hall in Dublin amongst many others. 

Grigoryan’s other collaborations in the classical sphere have been with ensembles including the Goldner, Flinders and Australian String Quartets in Australia, and the Endellion, Skampa and Chilingirian Quartets in Europe. He regularly performs with the Southern Cross Soloists and has worked extensively with pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and baritone José Carbó, and was a founding member of Saffire, the Australian guitar quartet. He has also collaborated with numerous composers and premiered many new works, significantly with composers William Lovelady, Nigel Westlake and Shaun Rigney. 

Outside the classical world Grigoryan has had long term collaborations with MGT – a guitar trio featuring jazz icons Ralph Towner and Wolfgang Muthspiel – and a duo with Austrian electric bassist Al Slavik. Alongside the Australian String Quartet he has recorded quintets by Muthspiel, Towner and Iain Grandage. With Leonard Grigoryan and with Joseph and James Tawadros he has formed Band of Brothers, performing a fusion of contemporary jazz, classical and Middle-Eastern music. For the last six years his duo with cellist (and wife) Sharon Grigoryan has become another productive and meaningful collaboration in a full musical life. Since 2010, Grigoryan has been the Artistic Director of the Adelaide Guitar Festival. 

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