The Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Guitar Festival, a celebration of the six-string sound that grew out of an annual guitar series that the university had been hosting since 1999, is back for its third year, with events planned Friday through Sunday, March 16th to 18th.

The festival features concerts, workshops and guitar vendors and takes place in the LMU Murphy Recital Hall, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester. Tickets are $5 to $22 per event or $65 for a three-day festival pass.

Featured concert performers include Duo Erato (consisting of LMU guitar instructor Dr. Martha Masters and her musical partner Risa Carlson) kicking off the festival at 8 p.m. Friday, March 16th; master classical guitarist Roland Dyens at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 17th; and classical guitar virtuoso with rock leanings Michael Nicolella at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19th.

Workshops include an improvisation session with Nicolella at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 17th; a musicianship workshop with Risa Carlson at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 17th; and a master class with Roland Dyens at 10 a.m. Sunday, March 18th.

MICHAEL NICOLELLA — With a repertoire spanning from J.S. Bach to Jimi Hendrix, Nicolella is recognized as a versatile and innovative classical guitar virtuoso. He is known for fusing electric guitar into his “classical” programs. Nicolella is also known for his composing work. Nicolella’s musical education includes undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music, where he studied improvisation with jazz greats Gary Burton and Billy Pierce. He received a Master of Music degree studying with Benjamin Verdery at Yale University. He also undertook postgraduate studies at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, as a scholarship student of Oscar Ghiglia.

ROLAND DYENS — Dyens says he likes his concerts to be a personal experience of emotional awakening for the listener. Deeply inspired by the concept of musical unity, Dyens encourages audience members to use the im- pact of his virtuosity and creativity in their own perception of music and in their lives as well. Dyens likes those unfamiliar with the contours and nuances of classical guitar performance to hear the classical guitar brought to its full musical potential during his show, he says.

When Dyens teaches, he is known for a keen ability to communicate with guitarists of younger generations, transforming the formality of a master class into a joyful encounter, according to his spokesman.

Roland Dyens teaches at the Conservatoire National SupÈrieur de Musique de Paris.

Born in France in 1955, Dyens began guitar studies at the age of nine. Four years later he became a student of Spanish master guitarist Alberto Ponce and, in 1976, was awarded the Licence de Concert de l’Šcole Normale de Musique de Paris.

While learning his instrument, Dyens also studied composition with the renowned teacher, composer and orchestra director DÈsirÈ Dondeyne, under whose guidance he was awarded a first prize in harmony, counterpoint and analysis.

Among the most highly regarded awards Dyens received during the early years of his career were the Special Prize at the International Competition “Cittý di Alessandria” (Italy) and the Grand Prix du Disque de l’AcadÈmie Charles-Cros, both in honor of the major Brasilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

At the age of 25 he became a laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. Eight years after this, he was recognized as one of the “100 Best Living Guitarists” in all styles by the French magazine Guitarist.

DUO ERATO — In recent seasons, Duo Erato has performed across North America, presenting a style of elegant lyricality and musicianship.

During their performances, guitar duo Masters and Carlson make it sound as if the two women are playing a single instrument.

The group won first prize in the 1994 National Guitar Summer Workshop Competition for ensembles and were finalists in the 1994 Baltimore Chamber Music Awards.

Today, the duo’s repertoire embraces works from all periods of classical music history, as well as new works and transcriptions. Duo Erato’s debut disc, Musings was released in October 2005 by GSP.

Information, (310) 338-7588.