Established in 2009 and hosted by the UTSA School of Music, the Southwest Guitar Symposium is an immersive exhibition showcasing the classical guitar's versatility and providing community art enrichment and networking opportunities. SWGS hosts high-caliber performing artists to San Antonio yearly for performances, workshops, and masterclasses. The symposium also brings in rising artists to compete for prizes in the SW Solo Guitar Competition. In addition to artists, UTSA also welcomes guitar makers and local shops to display and sell their beautiful instruments on campus during the symposium's Luthier/Vendor Expo.

Isaac Bustos, D.M.A.


Isaac Bustos, D.M.A.

Assistant Professor, Guitar

Guitar competitor

2024 Southwest Solo Guitar Competition

Register for our high school and open solo guitar competitions! Top-tier prizes include paid performances and more.

Symposium Schedule

Friday, March 8

7:30PM Maestría Faculty Concert Series: Duo Fortis and Dr. Tracy Cowden, piano (Recital Hall)

Saturday, March 9

8:00 AM – Competitions Registration Check-in.

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – High School and Open Solo Guitar Competitions (Recital Hall)

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Masterclass: William Kanengiser (AR 2.03.18A)

5:00 PM – SWGS 2023 Winners' Concert: Wyatt Green and Adrian Montero (Recital Hall)

7:30PMEn Vivo Guest Artist Concert: Pablo Garibay and William Kanengiser (Recital Hall)

Sunday, March 10

11:00 AM – High School and Open Solo Guitar Competitions Final Round (Recital Hall)

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Masterclass – Pablo Garibay (AR 2.03.18A)

5:00PMEn Vivo Guest Artist Concert: Cuarteto de Guitarras de Ciudad de Mexico (Recital Hall)


Luthier shows a guitar to a student

2024 Luthier/Vendor Expo

We offer guitar luthiers and dealers the opportunity to display and sell their instruments at the Symposium.

Symposium Artists

Dr. Isaac Bustos, Artistic Director (Nicaragua) 

 bustos-isaac.jpeg“Soulful and virtually flawless,” hails the Portland Oregonian and the Boston Globe  

writes, “In warm, round tones, the notes of Bach cascaded from the guitar, every note correct and played without hesitation.” Classical guitarist, pedagogue and educator Dr. Isaac Bustos, enjoys an extensive performing career that has taken him to Canada, Central America, Europe, China, and all over the US. Bustos has made several Radio and Television appearances and is in demand as clinician and master class teacher invited to perform in some of the most prestigious festivals around the globe.  

Dr. Bustos has acquired an impressive number of top prizes in over 12 major international competitions, 7 of which are first prizes. Isaac has premiered new guitar works by composers Nico Muhly, Blas Atehortúa, Samuel Zyman, Frank Wallace, Mark Cruz, Peter Lieuwen, and Joe Williams II. In the Spring of 2019, he premiered a new concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned and dedicated to him, by American composer Peter Lieuwen under the baton of maestro Franz Anton Krager and the University of Houston Symphony Orchestra. Isaac has recorded for the Delos, MSR and Vgo Recordings labels.  

Chamber music collaborations have included performances with the Grammy award-winning ensembles Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Conspirare Choir, the Turtle Creek Chorale and legendary Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto. Bustos is also a founding member of the award-winning Texas Guitar Quartet and has released two critically acclaimed discs with the group. Highlights of the 2022-23 season included performances with the Chattanooga Symphony, Austin Classical Guitar, and Southwest Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Cusco, and Camerata de Queretaro.  

Isaac holds a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Music degree and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked under the guidance of renowned American guitarist Adam Holzman.  

As an educator, his commitment to teaching is reflected in the success of his students whose prize-winning performances have included victories in numerous competitions around the Us. Dr. Bustos serves on the faculty at the University of Texas – San Antonio School of Music, where he is head of guitar studies and artistic director of the Southwest Guitar Symposium.  

Alejandro Montiel (USA) 

 montiel-alejandro.jpgDescribed by Soundboard Magazine as a "flawless musician, filled to the brim with polished technique,” GRAMMY™ nominated guitarist & arranger Alejandro Montiel enjoys a performing career that has taken him throughout the United States, Mexico, China, Central America, and Europe. He holds graduate degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin, and is a founding member of the Texas Guitar Quartet.  
A champion of new works for guitar, Alejandro has premiered pieces by Joseph V. Williams, Mark Cruz, John Truitt, Brian Herrington, and Samuel Zyman. He was part of the instrumental ensemble for the US premiere of Andy Pape's opera "Houdini The Great", collaborated with cellist Bion Tsang on a new score by Joseph Williams for the Alfred Hitchcock silent film "The Lodger", and was part of the 2015 world-premiere of Nico Muhly's new work for chamber choir and guitar ensemble titled “How Little You Are.” More recently, he gave the Houston premiere of Clarice Assad’s “Three Sketches” for two guitars and violin. 
Besides being a regularly invited artist, adjudicator, and clinician for guitar festivals around the US, Dr. Montiel is the Guitar Ensemble director at UTSA School of Music and also directs the guitar studio at Lone Star College - Montgomery. Alejandro is also a sought-after chamber musician throughout Texas - notable collaborations include Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Grammy-winning choir Conspirare, soprano Estelí Gómez, Line Upon Line percussion group, violinist Jennifer Choi, flutist Julee Kim-Walker, clarinetist Håkan Rosengren, and cellist Louis-Marie Fardet. Additionally, Dr. Montiel has been featured on multiple recordings, including the Texas Guitar Quartet's critically acclaimed debut album "RED" and its follow up, “ICON.”  Alejandro resides in the Houston area with his family. 

Pablo Garibay (Mexico) 


 "A guitarist of rare sensitivity, nuance and musicality." - Joann Falletta  

Hailed as ‘phenomenal’ by the General-Anzeiger newspaper in Bonn, Germany, Mexican guitarist Pablo Garibay has established himself as a leading force on the international classical guitar scene, with his pioneering interpretations of well-known classics and impressive performances of lesser-known masterpieces. 
An eminent performer of the great guitar concertos, Pablo Garibay is particularly known for his interpretations of Latin American music. As a concerto soloist, Pablo Garibay made his professional debut with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de Mexico. Recent performances have included appearances with the OFUNAM, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, New Britain Symphony, Salzburg Chamber Soloists, Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes, Orquesta Filarmónica de Acapulco, Orquesta Cuidad de Almeria, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Niedersächsisches Sinfonieorchester, and South African Chamber Orchestra. In addition, Pablo Garibay has appeared at major international festivals throughout Russia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States. 
A winner of no fewer than 16 international prizes, including 1st prize at the prestigious International Francisco Tárrega Competition, Manuel Ponce International Guitar Competition, René Bartoli Competition, JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, and International Guitar Competition Aachen. Pablo Garibay studied with Juan Carlos Laguna and Iván Rísquez at the Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México, Thomas Müller-Pering at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar, and Paolo Pegoraro and Giampaolo Bandini at the Festival Internazionale Parma.  
Described as ‘exceptional in every regard’ by Norbert Kraft, A&R Executive – Naxos records, Pablo Garibay is no stranger to the recording studio, having recently released recordings of music by Scarlatti, Ravel, and Ponce with the NAXOS, Urtext, and Fleur de son classics labels. He is currently beholder of the FONCA scholarship to make premieres of pieces by Mexican composer Hebert Vázquez. He is represented by Aranjuez Artistic Services.  

William Kanengiser (USA) 

 willkess.jpgWilliam Kanengiser has forged a career that expands the possibilities of the classical guitar. A prize-winner in major competitions (1987 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Toronto Guitar ’81) he has toured throughout North America, Asia, and Europe with his innovative programs and expressive musicianship. He recorded four CD’s for the GSP label, playing music as diverse as Caribbean, Eastern European, and jazz. A member of the guitar faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music since 1983, he has given master classes around the world and produced two instructional videos.  
Most recently, he performed the U.S. premiere of “Folk Concerto” by Clarice Assad, with fellow LAGQ member Scott Tennant, and the Albany Symphony conducted by David Allan Miller. 
An active proponent of new music, he recently received a grant from the Augustine Foundation for his “Diaspora Project,” commissioning seven new works focusing on issues of migration and assimilation. It includes new pieces by Sergio Assad, Dusan Bogdanovic, Golfam Khayam, and others. An advocate for musicians, wellness, he serves as Chair of the Thornton Musician’s Wellness Committee, curating their Wellness Initiative with health screenings and a lecture series, as well as creating a Musician’s Wellness course. 
A prolific arranger, he has created dozens of transcriptions for solo guitar and guitar quartet, and composed a number of works for four guitars. In 2009 he created the stage production “The Illustrious Gentleman Don Quixote” for narrator and guitar quartet, writing the stage script and adapting music from the Spanish Renaissance. It was premiered with Monty Python member John Cleese, and extensively toured with Firesign Theater founder Phil Proctor. 

As a founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, William Kanengiser has given hundreds of recitals and concerto appearances around the world, and has recorded over a dozen releases. Their Telarc release “LAGQ Latin” was nominated for a GRAMMY®, and it was their Telarc title “LAGQ’S Guitar Heroes” which won a GRAMMY® in 2005 as the best classical crossover recording. Most recently, their recording of the title work on Pat Metheny’s “Road to the Sun” hit #1 on the Apple Music Classical chart. 

Adrian Montero (Costa Rica)

Winner of the 2023 SWGS Competition 

adrian.jpg Adrian Montero is one of the most awarded Costa Rican guitarists, acclaimed for his artistry, musicality, and technique. He began his musical studies on guitar in 2002 at the Municipal Conservatory of Alajuela. In 2006 he entered the Conservatory of Castella, and began with Professor Nuria Zúñiga, in 2008 he began the intensive guitar program with the Cuban professor, Aldo Rodríguez, and graduated with honors from the institution in 2014. In 2018 He finished his Bachelor's degree at the National University of Costa Rica under the tutelage of teachers Jorge Luis Zamora and Pablo Ortíz and currently is coursing his master's at the University of Rhode Island, under the studio of Adam Levin. 

He has taken master classes with teachers such as Lukasz Kuropaczewski, Eliot Fisk, Gohar Vardanyan, Mario Ulloa, Andrés Saborío, Andrew Zohn, and Scott Borg, among others. He is one of the most internationally awarded Costa Rican guitarists and is continuously actively recording and promoting music by contemporary and Latin American composers. 

He has offered concerts in Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Mexico, France, and the United States recitals. His repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the present, emphasizing contemporary Latin American music, bringing the broad spectrum of the guitar to the public, from the popular, early music, and the contemporary.

As a recording artist, he has two released albums on streaming platforms “Azulado” and “Sonatas & Partita”, and he also has collaborated on the album “ Sueños y Sones” and the Latin Grammy-nominated album“El ruido del Agua” and the world premiere recording alongside Cuarteto Latinoamericano of “Oché”, a new string quintet by the Costa Rican composer Alejandro Cardona. 

His goal is to keep promoting the music of Latin America and create opportunities for the younger generations of Costarican guitarists, that's why he is one of the organizers and producers of “Concurso Nacional de Guitarra” in Costa Rica, continuing the legacy of his predecessors.  

Wyatt Green (USA) 

Winner of the 2023 SWGS Youth Competition 


Wyatt Green, age 14, started his formal guitar education at age two. His early teachers were his father and Andrea Cannon. At age nine, Wyatt began studying with world-famous guitar performer and teacher Adam Holzman, whom he currently studies with. Wyatt has received prizes in Pre High School and High School categories at the 2023 Marku International Guitar Competition in Albania, 2018 Texas A&M Guitar Symposium, 2022 Southwest Guitar Symposium, 2023 UT Dallas Guitar Festival, 2023 Southwest Guitar Symposium, 2023 Houston Classical Guitar Festival, and the 2023 Summerfest Guitar Festival. Wyatt has also had masterclasses with William Kossler, Gohar Vardanyan, Issac Bustos, Erdong Li, Ivan Petricevic, the Ibison Duo, Kanahi Yamashita, and Leonela Alejandro. In addition to competing in guitar competitions, Wyatt performs for weddings with his mother and is a regular church musician for multiple parishes.

Jay Kacherski (USA)  

 jaykerch.jpg"Virtuosismo" and "technical dominance" are the words used by the press to describe American guitarist, Jay Kacherski.  A native of New York, Kacherski has performed around the world as a soloist and member of the Grammy nominated Texas Guitar Quartet. Kacherski has performed at distinguished festivals and venues such as the Festival International de Guitarra de Taxco,  the Florida Guitar Foundation, the Brevard Music Center, Round Top, the Festival Internacional de Guitarra del Conservatorio Nacional de Música, Mexico City, the New Orleans Opera, the New Orleans International Guitar Festival, and the GHM International Guitar Art Festival in Shenzen, China among others.  He has also collaborated with Grammy-winners and nominees such as the chamber choir Conspirare, Chilean flutist Viviana Guzman, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.  
Jay Kacherski spent two years living in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar and member of the guitar faculty at the Escuela Nacional de Música, the music conservatory for the National University of Mexico (UNAM) researching, performing, and promoting contemporary classical guitar music of Mexico under the tutelage of world-renowned Mexican guitarist Dr. Juan Carlos Laguna.  Kacherski has since premiered and recorded many new works from Mexico and has created an ever growing catalog of Mexican guitar works with links to videos, audio, scores, and more. Visit the Mexican Music and Mexican Guitar Music Catalog pages for more information. His debut solo album Synthesis: 20th & 21st Century Guitar Music from Mexico was the culmination of this work. The recording, which is on the Frameworks Records label, has been hailed as a “…brilliant album” and “one of the finest guitar solo recordings of recent years” by Soundboard magazine. His latest recording Landscapes is a duo recording with pianist Lina Morita, and is comprised of all new works for the piano and guitar duo including commissions and premieres.   
Jay Kacherski is currently on the guitar faculty at Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, and McNeese State University, as well as NOCCA, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He has presented at music conventions and festivals throughout the U.S. and is often invited to adjudicate at national and international competitions. As a teacher, his students have been finalists and winners of international solo and chamber music competitions and recipients of scholarships for continued study. He is the Artistic Director of the Houston Classical Guitar Festival and Competition in Texas and the Loyola Guitar Festival in New Orleans and the director of the Francis G. Bulber Youth Orchestra Guitar Program.  Previously, he served as the Associate Editor for Soundboard Magazine and as a reviewer for the American String Teacher Journal of the American String Teachers Association.        
Academic studies include a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Music degree in Guitar Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and undergraduate degrees from Florida Southern College where he graduated with honors.   

Cuarteto de Guitarras de la Ciudad de Mexico  

 mexico-quartet.jpgCuarteto de Guitarras de la Ciudad de México was formed in 2001 with the very purpose of performing contemporary Mexican music originally written for four guitars. Throughout its career, the quartet has performed in concert all over Mexico as well as in different countries in Europe and Latin America, within some of the most important festivals, which have included the world premiere of music dedicated to the quartet. 
Apart from this, the quartet has made various broadcastings for several Mexican cultural radio and television channels. In 2011, as part of the celebration for its tenth anniversary, the quartet made the premiere in Mexico of Interchange, the concerto for guitar quartet and orchestra composed by Brazilian composer Sergio Assad. 
Cuarteto de Guitarras de la Ciudad de México has published three recordings that have in common that each one of the pieces or arrangements they contain were commissioned by the ensemble to form interesting programs that contribute to the repertoire of this chamber formation. Jícamo a 4 (Urtext Digital Classics, 2005) has original music composed by five renowned composer-guitarists (Ernesto García de León, Juan Helguera, Julio César Oliva, Jorge Ritter and Gerardo Tamez). On the same page, ...a cinco (Clave Producciones, 2013) includes five chamber pieces for guitar quartet and a guest instrument (flute, voice, percussion, clarinet and live electronics) composed by Samuel Zyman, Jorge Sosa, Marcela Rodríguez, Jorge Ritter and Sabina Covarrubias. On the other hand, Sones y Danzones de Buena Madera (Tempus Clásico, 2014) is a showcase for Mexican music of traditional origin with brilliant arrangements for guitar quartet of popular sones jarochos, sones istmeños, and danzones, as well as symphonic music written by some of the most renowned Nationalist composers (such as José Pablo Moncayo, Blas Galindo and Arturo Márquez) which were also performed with twelve guitars made with Mexican endemic woods built by Abel García López, one of the most recognized luthiers in Mexico and worldwide. In 2024, the quartet celebrates the tenth anniversary of its release with a concert series which includes a tour in several festivals and universities in Texas.  

Dr. Tracy Cowden (USA) 

Tracy Cowden Appointed in 2018 as Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and Chair of the Department of Music at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Tracy Cowden’s professional life centers around making music with others, whether in duos, chamber music, or orchestral settings. Her work as a collaborative pianist includes a wide range of music and partners, from the music of Jane Austen’s songbook with soprano Julianne Baird, to klezmer-influenced music with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and cellist Nick Cannelakis, to American fiddle music with violinist Mark O’Connor. She is also active in commissioning and performing 21st century music, and has premiered works in concerts from Kalamazoo to Bangkok.  
Cowden’s interest in poetry and art song has led her to commission a song cycle by Gregory Hutter that features the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, and another by Daron Hagen titled Vegetable Verselets, which features poetry by Margaret Hays. This song cycle, along with other works by Hagen performed by Cowden, soprano Ariana Wyatt, tenor Brian Thorsett, and cellist Benjamin Wyatt, was released on an album titled Rapture and Regret on the MSR Classics label in 2021. 

Cowden’s recent work includes performing in health care settings, both in person and virtually, and facilitating interdisciplinary research regarding music and health; she is a member of the Brain Health Consortium at UTSA. Also active as a clinician and lecturer, Cowden has presented master classes and workshops on topics related to collaborative music-making and creative programming across the country. She has been a presenter or performer at conferences including the National Opera Association, Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, International Trumpet Guild, International Tuba Euphonium Conference, and the National Flute Association. Cowden is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association, and currently serves as the chair of the MTNA National Certification Commission, as well as chair of the College Music Society 2021 National Conference Committee, and as a visiting evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music. 

A Michigan native, Cowden has previously served as a faculty member at Virginia Tech, Ohio Wesleyan University, Kalamazoo College, and Hope College. She received the D.M.A. and M.M. degrees in piano accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music, and a B.M. degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University. 

The UTSA Guitar Studio and Ensemble 


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