Guitarist Lily Afshar, hailed by the Washington Post as "remarkable, impeccable," is the winner of the 2000 Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist. Chosen as "Artistic Ambassador" for the United States Information Agency to Africa, she is the winner of the Tenth, Eleventh, and the Twelfth Annual "Premier Guitarist" awards respectively, awarded by the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.
Lily is the Head of the Guitar Program at the University of Memphis where she was awarded the 2000 Eminent Faculty Award. Other awards include the Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Music, the National Endowment for the Arts Recording Award, Top Prize in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition, Grand Prize in the Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, and First Prizes in both the Music Teachers' National Association and the American String Teachers' Association Guitar Competitions.
Lily Afshar was among the twelve international guitarists selected to play for Maestro Andres Segovia in his master classes held at the University of Southern California at which time Maestro Segovia predicted that "she will be a beautiful celebrity." She then appeared in an interview on the NBC Nightly News.
Her interest in contemporary music has led to premiers of new works by Reza Vali, Garry Eister, Gerard Drozd, Loris Chobanian, Arne Mellnas, Kamran Ince, Barbara Kolb, Marilyn Ziffrin, Salvador Brotons, among others. She has given numerous concerts in the US, England, Ireland, Canada, France, Iran, Jordan, Denmark, Italy, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and South America. She has performed at the Wigmore Hall in London, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, Banff School of Fine Arts, the Menton Music Festival in the South of France, and the American Academy in Rome.
Lily Afshar's articles on "Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Goya" are published multi-lingually by Gitarre & Laute, Guitar Review, and Il "Fronimo".
Born in Tehran, Lily was 10 years old when she began learning the guitar. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degree in guitar performance from The Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music. At Florida State University, Lily became the first woman in the world to gain a Doctorate of Music in guitar performance. She has studied at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts and the Aspen Music Festival. She received Diplomas of Merit from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.
Lily Afshar's recordings of "24 Caprichos de Goya" by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and "A Jug of Wine and Thou" are available on Summit Records (CDs #167and #236). Her "Five Popular Persian Ballads" are published by Mel Bay Editions, INC. Her two CDs “Possession” and her latest CD “Hemispheres” are available on Archer Records.