Inspiring Guitarists and Music Lovers Alike with World-Class Performances and Competitions

Our Annual Festival will be held in person on September 30 – October 1, 2023 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Buy ticket

Guitar Dreams Come True

Welcome to the largest and most inclusive guitar competition in the Southeast!

The Southern Guitar Festival and Competition is an annual event that brings world-caliber guitarists to Carolina. Our mission is to inspire and educate all music lovers. This multi-day festival presents concerts, workshops, lectures, and an international solo and ensemble competition. The guitar competition includes divisions for elementary/middle school, high school, and college/professional level classical guitarists. We also offer an ensemble division and a division for non-classical guitar players (Guitar Idol Carolina), in which every style of guitar playing is welcome, from jazz to blues, electric to acoustic. We look forward to every opportunity to encourage young artists and help them progress toward their full potential.


Until the 11th Southern Guitar Festivasl and Competition 2023

Celebrity Appearances:

Diego Figueiredo

Concert – Saturday, 30 September 2023 7:30 p.m. – Watson Hall


Diego Figueiredo is a new star of the guitar world. He is only 39, and he has released 26 Cds, 3 DVDs, and he has played in more than 60 countries around the world. He is the winner of several important competitions like the Montreux Jazz Competition and some others. Diego is presenting now his concert “ From the Classical to the Jazz”. It is a fusion between Jazz, Bossa nova, and Classical music. Diego has a unique interpretation, with a lot of technique, much emotion, and his show has been a great success for the audience.

With a variety of work already released, Diego is doing shows on the most important stages around the world enchanting and charming the public wherever he goes with his unique touch. Diego has collaborated and performed with names like Gilberto Gil, João Bosco, Roberto Menescal, Toquinho,  Janis Siegel, Stanley Jordan,  Joao Donato, Larry Coryell, Ken Peplowski, Lewis Nash, John Clayton, Cyrille Aimée, Jeff Hamilton, Terell Stafford, Wycliffe Gordon, Bill Cunliffe, Dick Hyman, and many others. Acclaimed by critics as the newest sensation in the guitar world!

Buy ticket - $42

Leonela Alejandro

Concert – Sunday, 1 October 2023, 2:00 p.m – Watson Hall

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in April 2000, Leonela formally began her musical education when she was seven years old. During her first years, she studied with various Puerto Rican teachers including Jomel Rivera, Julio Reyes, and Rey Nieves. She later became a student of Maestro Iván Rijos at the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan and then at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where she completed the first two years of her undergraduate studies. In 2018, Leonela transferred to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to complete her Bachelor’s degree with Professor René Izquierdo.

Leonela has received prizes in various level categories at festivals including Boston GuitarFest, Le Domaine Forget, Indiana Guitar Festival & Competition, Chicago Guitar Festival & Competition, Columbus Guitar Symposium, Southern Guitar Festival, Troy University Guitar Festival, José Tomás Villa de Petrer Guitar Festival, the Josefina P. Tuason International Guitar Competition, Louisville Guitar Festival & Competition, Florida Guitar Festival, and Appalachian State Guitar Festival.

Buy ticket - $32

Mak Grgic

Presentation – Saturday, 30 September 2023, 5:00 p.m. – “Fundraising & Project Execution” – room 167

Touted as a “gifted guitarist” by the New York Times, 2-time Grammy®-nominated artist Mak Grgic [GER-gich] is a star on the worldwide stage. An expansive and adventurous repertoire attests to his versatility and wide-ranging interests. From the ethnic music of his native Balkans to extreme avant-garde and microtonal music, his roles as soloist, collaborator, and Grammy-nominated recording artist are fueled by curiosity, imagination, and boundless energy. As a testament to his versatility and wide-ranging appeal, in 2018 Mak was invited by legendary singer-songwriter k.d. lang to perform as the opening act for the North American leg of her Ingénue Redux Tour.

An avid new music proponent, Mak has commissioned a multitude of new works for solo guitar and guitar with ensemble. Some of these include works by Michael Gordon, Julia Adolphe, Nina Senk, Leon First and Cengiz Eren, to name a few. In the Fall of 2022 he premiered and toured a newly commissioned guitar concerto by Michael Abels, Pulitzer Prize winner and composer for the Oscar-winning motion picture Get Out.