José Tomās and Raphaella Smits
Den Rooy Conference Center
Lodewijck Van Male
Landcommandery Alden Biesen
GUITAR HAPPENING INITIATIVE
When on tour
in Spain in 1983, Raphaella visited her former teacher José (Pepe)
Tomàs in Alicante. Back home she decided that young Belgian guitar
students should get the opportunity to experience some master classes
of this great maestro.
As a result of Raphaella's initiative the cultural society Academix organized
summer classes for classical guitar from 1984 till 1995, well known as
the "Academix International Guitar Happenings".
In total over 350 participants from 28 different countries have enjoyed
the rural surroundings and the comfort of typical Flemish venues like
Den Rooy conference center,
Lodewijck Van Male hotel
or Landcommandery Alden Biesen.
They were inspired and got charged up by the finest guitarists and teachers
of these times like José Tomàs, David Russell, Jorge Cardoso,
Oscar Ghiglia, Hubert Käppel, Godelieve Monden, Roberto Aussel, the
late Ian Davies, Gerald Garcia, Jorge Morel, John Canning, Ben verdery,
Nicholas Goluses, Philippe Malfeyt and Ahmet Kanecci.
On top of that they were pampered with exclusive recitals by the guitarists
mentioned above plus artists like Jos Van Immerseel (harpsichord), Guy
De Mey (tenor), Lena Lootens (soprano), Roel Dieltiens (cello), duo Sonare
(guitarists Thomas Offermann and Jens Wagner), as well as lectures by
Miro Simic (nail care) and Kolya Panhuyzen (guitar maintenance) and exhibitions
by many international guitar builders.
Living close together with 25 to 35 people, almost in quarantine and miles
from anywhere, with your guitar teachers at hand in class, at the meals,
in the bar ... there was a unique and distinctive atmosphere, conspiratorial
sure, but instructive by all means. After participation to one or more
Academix Guitar Happenings, one would return home with ineffaceable memories
and with friendships to last a lifetime.
Without a doubt, all credit for the success of these summer classes is
due to Raphaella Smits, a perfect host for colleagues as well as for students,
a great performer and an empathic teacher that makes a lasting impression
on every participant.