"Hartzell very obviously loves her instrument and the music she plays on it…[she] proves herself to be a master at creating moods…"
Valérie Hartzell began her classical guitar studies on a half-size Ramirez at the age of three. At the age of six, she studied with maestro Alexandre Lagoya at the Académie Internationale d’Eté in Nice, France.
She has performed in Europe, Canada, the U.S. and has appeared on television in Nice, France and in Houston, TX. She has also been featured on National Public Radio in Texas and Alaska, the show “Women in Music” which is broadcast on CKWR, 98.5 FM Canada, U.S. syndicated radio show, Classical Guitar Alive! and on BBC Radio 3 on the show In Tune in the UK. She has been featured in several guitar magazines and newspapers including The Bedfordshire Oracle (UK), Times & Citizen (UK), Warrington Guardian (UK), South Warrington News (UK), Dronfield Eye (UK), Anchorage Daily News (US), Soundboard Magazine (US), Nice-Matin (FR), Classical Guitar Magazine (UK), and Gendai Magazine (Japan).
She has performed in over 30 festivals, including the Middle Tennessee State University Festival, the East Carolina University Competition and Festival in Greenville, NC, the Pennsylvania Academy of Music Festival where she shared the stage with Eliot Fisk, Guitaromania in Agen, France, the 2010 ChamberArt Music Festival in Madrid, Spain, at the Annual Classical Guitar Fall Festival in Oneonta, NY, the Menil Community Arts Festival Performance at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, the "Classical Minds" International Guitar Festival in Houston, TX, and she was the only classical musician to be selected by Radio 3 from the short list of 117 to perform on the BBC Introducing Stage at the July 2017 Latitude Festival.
Valérie has been featured as a guest soloist for the New York City Classical Guitar Society, the Troubadour Series at Wofford College, the Grand Canyon Guitar Society, Triangle Guitar Society, Performing Arts Society of Kenai, Alaska, Oxford Guitar Society (UK), Manchester Acoustic Guitar Society (UK), Ealing Guitar Society in London (UK), North Wales Guitar Circle (UK), Music in the Quantocks (UK), Mayfield Music Society (UK), at Arizona State University, Appalachian State University, Kemp Recital Hall at Illinois State University, University of Texas at Dallas, Svenska Margaretakyrkan in Oslo, Norway, University of Alaska at Anchorage, Peck School of the Arts (University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin), Holywell Room at Oxford University, and at Clare Hall at Cambridge University. Recently, she gave an eleven concert tour of Alaska as part of Duo Amiche (with mezzo-soprano & pianist, Tamara McCoy) and a seven concert tour in England, including a London debut in 2016 , at the 1901 Arts Club.
Valérie has also performed with studio members of the Houston Grand Opera at the Rienzi Recital Series, Fantasia para un gentilhombre by Joaquin Rodrigo with the Kingwood Pops Orchestra and Carols of the Southwest by Conrad Susa with the Houston Chamber Choir at Chapel of the Villa de Matel in Texas.
She is an international prizewinner in 8 international competitions including 1st prizes at the 10th International Guitar Competition “Simone Salmaso” in Italy and at the Concours de Guitare Classique Heitor Villa-Lobos in France.
At the Peabody Conservatory, Valérie studied with Manuel Barrueco on scholarship earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 1997. She was awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at Radford University and was placed as Adjunct Faculty while studying for her Master’s Degree in Music, receiving her performance degree in May of 1999.
As a private instructor, her students have received scholarships to prominent universities, such as San Francisco Conservatory, University of Texas, Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, Texas State University, Arizona State University, and University of Louisville. Many of her students have won national competitions or placed in international competitions such as the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America.
Her CD, Ex Tenebris Lux, recorded at the National Public Studios in Houston, was released in 2011 through Soundset Recordings. Her second CD, Presti, an ensemble project, was also recorded at the NPR studios and was released in September of 2013.
Currently, Valérie lives in Bedfordshire where she maintains an active concert career both as a soloist and with her guitar duos, Astraea Guitar Duo (with English guitarist Raymond Burley) and Colibri Guitar Duo (with English guitarist Rod Faulkner). Valérie is the Musical Director of the Cambridge Guitar Orchestra and is the creator and Artistic Director to the "Classical Minds" Guitar Festival held in Cambridgeshire, UK.
Ms. Hartzell plays a Greg Byers Guitar.
Barbara Christian, President of the Performing Arts Society in Kenai, Alaska:
“A mesmerizing evening of virtuoso classical guitar: Valérie Hartzell is one with the guitar and the world classics she translates to her rapt audience; there is no barrier between the exquisitely rendered music and the listener.”