Press Room

National Museum of Women in the Arts Presents Guitarist Lily Afshar

Mar 20 2015

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents a lineup of acclaimed performers as part of the annual Shenson Chamber Music Concerts under the artistic direction of Gilan Tocco Corn. These concerts contribute to the museum’s mission of recognizing and supporting women in all areas of the arts. Women musicians have been impressing audiences through NMWA’s free concert series for 17 years. The series was named in honor of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, who were longtime supporters of the museum and lovers of music.

Join NMWA in welcoming guitarist Lily Afshar on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Highly regarded worldwide for her innovative music, Afshar has performed in solo, chamber music and orchestral performance venues in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, including London’s Wigmore Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her recordings have garnered recognition in Billboard magazine and on National Public Radio.

An extraordinary and accomplished artist, Afshar has built her career on a foundation of excellent formal education. With a bachelor’s degree from The Boston Conservatory, she earned her Master of Music at The New England Conservatory and went on to study at Florida State University, where she became the first woman in the world to be awarded the degree of  Doctor of Music in guitar performance. She pursued greater proficiency with summer studies at The Banff Centre and the Aspen Music Festival and School, advanced training at Gargnano, Italy, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena and master classes with Andrés Segovia at the University of Southern California.

Since becoming a tenured professor and head of the guitar program at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, Afshar has received the 2000 Eminent Faculty Award, and in 2011 she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from The Boston Conservatory. As a performing guitarist, she has won a top prize in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition, Grand Prize in the Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, the Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist and a National Endowment for the Arts Recording Award, among others, and she was chosen as an “Artistic Ambassador” to Africa for the United States Information Agency.

Because of Afshar’s passion for going beyond the traditional guitar repertoire, contemporary classical composers have sought her for creative collaborations. Her notable world premieres have included works by Carlo Domeniconi, Reza Vali, Garry Eister, Gerard Drozd, Loris Chobanian, Arne Mellnäs, Kamran Ince, Barbara Kolb, Marilyn J. Ziffrin, David Kechley and Salvador Brotons.

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National Museum of Women in the Arts