By Thomas Heck
The 2012 edition of the Concorso
Internazionale di Chitarra "M. Pittaluga,” held in Alessandria, Italy, the
week of September 24-29, 2012, attracted 27 competitors from the four corners
of the world. Eight were selected for the semifinal round.
The jury discerned three finalists from among the
semifinalists: Pavel Kukhta
(Byelorussia), Lazar Cherouana
(France), and Ekachai Jearakul
(Thailand). These three played in the final (ensemble) phase of the competition
on Saturday night in the Cathedral of Alessandria. Each was accompanied by the Perosi Ensemble, a string quartet of
high repute and wide recognition, having deep roots in the region of
Alessandria. The first and third finalists performed the Quintet for Guitar and
Strings by Leo Brouwer, while Mr Cherouana elected to perform the Fourth
Quintet of Boccherini (G. 488).
The jury awarded
First Prize to Lazhar Cherouana (France). At just 23 years of age, he became the second French winner
of the prestigious Pittaluga Competition (after Gaelle Chiche, in 1998). Lazhar
lives in Salzburg presently, where he is completing his musical studies at the
On the evening following his victory, Mr. Cherouana was
hosted in the nearby town of Tortona by its "Friends of Music Society” for an
intimate winner’s concert. There
was standing room only in the salon where it was held, and his reception was
more than enthusiastic -- clamorous.
The Second Prize went
to a young Thai, Ekachai Jearakul, widely acclaimed in his homeland as an
emerging talent. A gifted Byelorussian
competitor, Pavel Kukhta, took Third Prize.
This year’s international jury was comprised of Frédéric Zigante of Italy (President), the
Norwegian Stein-Erik Olsen, the Venezuelan Alfonso Montes, the Frenchman
Bernard Maillot, the American Thomas Heck, and the Italians Paolo Ferrara and
The Composition Prizes were discerned during the evening of
the Finale by a kind of referendum: a unique system of public audition of the
three scores selected earlier by a jury for the final round. The public’s
voting was based entirely on the scores as heard, synthesized from the scores, with
no human interpretation involved.
"Path of History,” by the Venezuelan Luis Fernando Ochoa Graterol, was voted to be the winner of the 10th
"M. Pittaluga” International Composition Competition, while the Polish composer
Janko Raseta’s score, "Little Chant,” won the second or
"Public Prize.” The Third Prize
winner was the composition "Macumba,”
by Angel Gutierrez Faxas, of Cuba.
The evening’s proceedings were recorded and have been posted online, where they can be viewed through the Competition’s Web site, www.pittaluga.org.
This major cultural event was made possible by the following
sponsors: The Italian Ministry of
Culture, the Piedmont Region, the Province and Municipality of Alessandria, the
"Consiglio Regional,” the "CRAL and CRT” Foundations along with the Rotary Club
of Alessandria, the Soroptimist Clubs of Alessandria and of Acqui, the "Inner
Wheel” of Alessandria, the D’Addario Foundation, Savarez Strings of Lyon,
Paglieri Perfumes, the Beldent Group, Guala Closures, Metlac s.p.a., Restiani
s.p.a., the "Collegio Costruttori,” various Hotels and families who hosted the
competitors, and the many friends who support and promote the Competition.