Welcome to the IGRC

Welcome to the IGRC

The IGRC is terrific, it’s much needed because there’s such a wide spectrum of guitar activity that needs proper delving into, from the European tradition, from Latin America from blues, jazz and so on, and it’s good to have a forum in which you know those things can not be just understood themselves but related to what we do on the guitar

John Williams, Honorary President of the IGRC


The International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC) is committed to the study and development of the guitar’s compositional, performance, analytical and technical activity across a range of geographical and stylistic domains. Now with a number of International partners across 6 continents (including the International Guitar Foundation, The Guitar Foundation of America, The Altamira Foundation in China, the 21st Century Guitar network in Canada), the IGRC has become a global hub of guitar research, co-hosting  conferences and festivals in the USA, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Portugal, Germany, UK and Australia, providing a fertile network for its scholars and practitioners, and disseminating its work (through scores, recordings, performances, broadcasts, academic writing and pedagogical materials) to broad public and cultural impact. Through this pluralistic activity, the IGRC advances and enriches the diverse practice, culture and public engagement with this universal instrument 


The IGRC offers a number of PhD opportunities through the University of Surrey with 11 doctoral graduates, and 17 current researchers. For information, and to apply see here


By any reasonable measure, the guitar is the most popular instrument on the planet. This decade is seeing the highest number ever sold despite the global recession, with a guitar bought every few seconds. There are now an estimated 780 million modern guitars on earth, one for every 100 humans. And the guitar, and its countless close instrumental relatives are integral to many global Music cultures. From the Afghanistan rebab to the Chinese Moon lute to the Venezuelan cuatro, the guitar family is essential to broad music culture.  

This welcome diversity of practice however has come at a cost. Ironically the universality of the instrument has crystallised into isolated silos of activity. And while much energy is spent cultivating or simple preserving a particular guitar style this has often led to the prevention of valuable cultural exchange. Classical guitarists are not privy to the fretboard harmonic knowledge of straight ahead Jazz guitarists who In turn may not appreciate the beautiful subtlety of expression found in the Turkish oud’s microtonality or the rhythmic feel of Reggae despite its apparent harmonic simplicity. 

The International Guitar Research Centre was formed with the simple but ambitious aim to create bridges between these cultural islands. Through the exchange of technical, pedagogical, analytical, and compositional ideas we are aiming not only illuminate but to develop the repertoire,  knowledge and appreciation of International guitar activity. And it is through this diversity of style and approach that we can both capture and help flourish the guitar in the 21st century.