Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
Festival Reviews
Blog Home All Blogs
This area is available for festival representatives to share articles and press releases about their festivals.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: festival review  festivals 

Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition

Posted By Connie Sheu, Wednesday, December 03, 2014

By Adam Brown 

On November 1st and 2nd, the fifth annual Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition took place in Bloomington, Indiana.  This year’s event brought top-tier competitors from all over the world and also featured concerts and master classes by world renowned artists. 

The two-day festival was orchestrated by artistic director Maestro Ernesto Bitetti, and executive director Petar Jankovic, and was made possible by the generous support of Aranjuez strings, the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, the Indiana University Office of International Affairs, Reverie Classical Guitars, Dr. Souheil Haddad, and Dr. Fadi Haddad.

Maestro Bitetti is the founder and chair of the Indiana University Guitar Department and Mr. Jankovic is a faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music as well.  Together their vision, guidance, and love of the guitar have made the competition a growing success that is eagerly anticipated by Bloomington’s musical community.

This year’s notable events included preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds of competition that were free and open to the public, master classes by guest artist Ricardo Gallén and Petar Jankovic, two divisions of youth competition, the premier concert of the Jacobs Guitar Ensemble, and a guest recital by Ricardo Gallén.

The open division showcased the talents of 25 competitors from Bosnia, Taiwan, Poland, China, Canada, Bulgaria, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam, Iran, and the United States.  After witnessing the caliber of players in the preliminary round, it was clear that the judges would be faced with difficult choices.  The judges ended up passing ten competitors into the semi-final round, a much higher number than in the competition’s previous years. 

The final round of competition was a spirited display of musicianship that showcased a broad spectrum of repertoire.  The first competitor to perform was Miodrag Zerdoner of Bosnia, playing the J.S. Bach Concerto BWV 972 and John W. Duarte’s Variations on a Catalan Folk Song.  Zerdoner’s playing was refined and beautifully communicated. Approaching the final round, Zerdoner was considered by many in attendance as being a contender for top prize.  Playing second was Mark Edwards of California, performing La Petit Fille aux Allumettes and Les Souliers Rouges by Ian Krouse and Joaquin Turina’s Fantasia Sevillana.  Edwards interpretations were clear and sensitively nuanced. His effortless and inspiring rendition of Sevillana made clear that the contest would be narrowly decided indeed.  Third to play was Jesus Serrano of Mexico, playing Johann Kasper Mertz’ Fantaisie Hongroise, Sarabanda de Scriabin and Toccata de Pasquini from Leo Brouwer’s Sonata, and Etudes No.11 and 12 by Heitor Villa-Lobos.  Serrano captivated the audience with his brilliant musicality and enviable technical prowess.  His daring and jubilant Fantasie, and superb command and attention to detail in Brouwer’s Sonata, showcased the scope of his musical versatility. Performing fourth was Celil Refik Kaya of Turkey, playing Mauro Giuliani’s Gran Sonata Eroica, Jorge Morel’s Milonga del Viento, Isaac Albeniz Cataluña, and Joaquin Rodrigo’s Fandango. Kaya’s playing ranged from delicate to dazzling and was underscored by his virtuosic technique.  His tasteful and impressive juggling of voices in Cataluña displayed his musical sensitivity as well as his command of the instrument.  The final competitor was Jeremy Collins of Ohio.  Collins performed J. Rodrigo’s Fandango, Tres Apuntes by Leo Brouwer, and Introduction and Caprice by Guilio Regondi.  Collins easily entranced the crowd with his enormous and gorgeous sound.  His moving interpretation of the Regondi showed a broad spectrum of emotional diversity within his playing.

After a spirited and contentious period of deliberation, the jury agreed that a shared first prize would be awarded to Jesus Serrano and Celil Refik Kaya.  Second prize was awarded to Jeremy Collins, and third prize went to Mark Edwards.

The two divisions of Youth Competition took place on the morning of the festival’s final day.  The competitors showed an astounding level of playing and gave the audience a glimpse at their promising futures.  In the Junior Youth Division, first prize was awarded to Everest Nguyen, second prize to Jordan Dembsky, third prize to Ian Tubs and Oliver Ehrhardt (ex aequo), and fourth prize went to Benjamin Webb and Noah Ehrhardt (ex aequo).  In the Senior Youth Division, first prize was awarded to Filip Optolowicz, second prize to Tim Beattie, third prize to Jeremy Waldrip, and fourth prize to Sedona Farber.

This year’s festival and competition featured master classes given by guest artist Ricardo Gallén and Petar Jankovic.  Gallén’s master class featured competitors from the open division receiving instruction on works by J.S. Bach and William Walton.  Gallén’s direction focused on the importance of articulation and motivic identification.  Petar Jankovic’s master class featured contestants from the Youth Divisions performing works by Mauro Giuliani and Joaquin Rodrigo.  Jankovic taught on the subjects ranging from sound production to phrasing.

The first evening of the festival featured the presentation concert of the newly formed Jacobs Guitar Ensemble, under the direction of Daniel Duarte.  The ensemble was comprised of graduate and undergraduate students from the Jacobs School of Music Guitar Department.  The concert featured Duarte’s own arrangements works by Antonio Vivaldi, Astor Piazzolla, and Paulo Bellinati among others, as well as works by Fernando Sor and Leo Brouwer.  The result was an entertaining and diverse array of music stemming from the classical guitar tradition, but also included instruments from the guitar family such as the steel string guitar, bass guitar, cavaquinho, and requinto.  The program was also notable in that it did not neglect the guitars tradition as a coloristic and accompaniment instrument.   For Panchos Suite, an arrangement of popular Spanish songs, the audience was surprised by three male singers rising from their midst and joining the ensemble on stage for a maudlin and comic performance.  The vibrant assortment of sounds and styles was also helped largely by the multi-instrumental talents of ensemble member, Ben Wedeking, who adeptly played guitar, violin, mandolin, and cavaquinho throughout the evening.

The concert on the festival’s final night was given by renowned guitarist, Ricardo Gallén.  The classical guitar students and enthusiasts in attendance were expressly excited to hear Gallén give the U.S. premiere of Leo Brouwer’s Sonata No.4, Sonata del Pensador, which Brouwer dedicated to Gallén.  In his master class the day previous, Gallén hinted at his ability grasp a work’s depth and density down to the smallest detail. Gallén opened the concert with J.S. Bach’s Suite in G Minor, BWV 995, asserting a virtuosic articulation of every note.  In Fernando Sor’s Grand Sonata No. 2 in C Major, Op. 25, Gallén played with an elegance that contrasted nicely with Bach, but was no less mindful in its phrasing.  The final work of the evening was the aforementioned Brouwer Sonata, and it did not disappoint.  Gallén was able to elicit an incredible palate of sounds that combined with his prodigious artistry and technical capabilities to create a wholly memorable performance.

By all accounts this year’s festival was a resounding success. Artistic director and founder of the Jacobs School of Music guitar program, Maestro Ernesto Bitetti had this to say: "It has been a pleasure to orchestrate and enjoy the extraordinary success of the 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition that attracted numerous guitarists from 14 different countries, presenting an outstanding level.  All together with the debut of the NEWLY formed Indiana University Jacobs Guitar Ensemble directed by Daniel Duarte and the participation of Ricardo Gallén from Spain, who came exclusively for our event, brilliantly performing the U.S premiere of the 4th Sonata del Pensador dedicated to him, rounded up an unforgettable experience”. 

As competitors, guests, and attendees met for a reception after the festival’s closing a sense of camaraderie and anticipation for next year’s festival and competition was palpable. "It was a joy to compete in the friendly atmosphere of Indiana University International Guitar Competition sharing my music with excellent judges and hearing their comments, as well as hearing many excellent players and great friends" said Celil Refik Kaya, who shared first prize with Jesus Serrano.  The Jacobs School of Music, Maestro Ernesto Bitetti and, Petar Jankovic, with support of Aranjuez strings, the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, the Indiana University Office of International Affairs, Reverie Classical Guitars, Dr. Souheil Haddad, and Dr. Fadi Haddad have created a celebration of the guitar that has become a tradition in Bloomington for guitarists and music lovers from all over the world to enjoy, connect, and learn.

Tags:  festivals 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

VIII Encuentro Internacional de Guitarra, Xalapa 2013.

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, December 17, 2013

By Randall Kohl 

Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico has long been recognized within the country of Mexico as a center for the creative arts, in particular music and especially guitar performance. This past August, 2013, the city continued this tradition by hosting its 8th International Guitar Meeting and 6th National Guitar Competition with the support of the Universidad Veracruzana, the Instituto Superior de Música of Veracruz and two national arts councils, the FONCA (Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes) and CONACULTA (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes).

Despite Tropical Storm Fernand’s best attempts to cause havoc, only the first day’s talks and concerts were postponed and, after some minor adjustments to the original schedule, the rest of the week went by quickly and smoothly. In all, 17 different events were programmed which included research papers, master classes, CD presentations, concerts and the two-round competition. Particularly noteworthy were the concerts and master classes given by Eliot Fisk, Bill Kanengiser and Judicaël Perroy, all grand master performers and instructors who need no introduction to readers of this publication. We can also include in this category, Matanya Ophée whose talks on Domingo Prat’s work and the lascivious origins of the tango were particularly well received.

In addition to the world-renowned participants, the organizers of this event have also made a point of promoting local and national talents and this year was no exception. They included Daniel Guzmán, luthier at the National Instutute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) in Mexico City; David F. Mozqueda, originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco and alumnus of the guitar program at the University of Southern California; Mexico City’s Juan Carlos Laguna, instructor for the National School of Music at the Autonomous University of Mexico City (Universidad Autónoma de México) and recording artist for Urtext Digital Classics; Rodrigo Neftalí, also from Mexico City and third place winner of the 2007 "José Tomás” International Guitar Competition in Petrer, Spain; Álvaro Hernández, alumnus of the Universidad Veracruzana’s undergraduate program in guitar and the Universidad de Extremadura’s (Spain) master’s program; and Carlos Alberto Viramontes of Coahuila, Mexico, who studied guitar at the Autonomous University of Coahuila (Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila) and took first place at last year’s installment of National Guitar Competition in Xalapa. Special mention, in this category, must be given to Juan Helguera, composer, guitarist and researcher from Mérida, Yucatán, whose contributions during the second half of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st via publications, radio and television were on grand display and to whom this year’s gathering was dedicated.

We should also note the participation of the Italian musician, composer and painter Marco de Biasi who, in addition to performing his own original works for the guitar, gave a talk on his theories of color and music based on the works of Kandinsky and writings by Klee. Also noteworthy was the presentation of the CD Mictlán by the Universidad Veracruzana’s Cutberto Córdova with works for guitar by this local composer. A particularly moving moment was the in memoriam presentation of the recently deceased Mexican music researcher and guitarist Corazón Otero’s life and work.

Of the 15 contestants participating in the Young Performers’ competition, the winners and their respective prize money (in Mexican pesos) were: Jesús Serrano Huitrón, age 21, from Mexico City, first place ($25,000); Juan Pedro Villegas Bernabé, 24 –years-old, also from Mexico City ($15,000); and Bernardino Rodríguez Espejo, 23 years, from Xalapa, Veracruz ($10,000). More information on this past Encuentro and Concurso can be found at the following links:

http://www.conaculta.gob.mx/detalle-nota/?id=28810#.UnxD65TxRhQ, 

http://www.uv.mx/encuentrodeguitarra/

http://www.uv.mx/artes/noticias/encuentro-internacional-de-guitarra-reflejo-de-calidad-y-riqueza-artistica-de-la-uv/

The next Encuentro with concurrent competition is scheduled for April 18 to 24, 2015. Details will be made available through the Universidad Veracruzana’s music and arts web site.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, November 18, 2013

On October 26th and 27th, the fourth annual Indiana University International Guitar Festival and Competition took place in Bloomington, Indiana. Despite the Festival’s relatively young age, it is fast becoming one of the premier competitions in North America. "…It was once again a joy to participate! I have now been to several others, and I can say with confidence that yours in Bloomington is by far my favorite”, wrote a past prize winner. The competition and festival routinely attracts top-tier competitors from all over the world and features concerts and master classes by well established artists.

The two-day festival was orchestrated by artistic director Maestro Ernesto Bitetti, and executive director Petar Jankovic and was made possible by the generous support of Aranjuez strings, the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, the Indiana University Office of International Affairs, and Reverie Classical Guitars.

Maestro Bitetti is the founder and chair of the Indiana University Guitar Department and Mr. Jankovic is a faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music as well. Together their vision and guidance have made the competition a growing success that shows no signs of dissipating.

This year’s notable events included preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds of competition that were free and open to the public, master classes by guest artist Luis Orlandini and Petar Jankovic, two divisions of youth competition and guest recitals by Matt Palmer and Luis Orlandini.

The open division displayed the talents of 16 competitors from a variety of countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Bulgaria. After a particularly strong semi-final round, four finalists were named by the Jury--Ye Eun Lee of South Korea, Bin Hu of China, Misael Barraza Diaz of Mexico, and Jeremy Collins of the United States.

The final round of competition was a dazzling showing of guitar repertoire benchmarks. The first competitor to perform was Ye Eun Lee, who impressed the Jury in the semi-final round with an enviable tremolo technique. For the finals Lee performed Fantaisie Hongroise by Johann Kaspar Mertz, Alborada by Francisco Tárrega, En Los Trigales by Joaquín Rodrigo and Manuel Ponce’s Sonata Romántica. Lee’s playing was elegant and articulate; effectively communicating her musical gestures and emotional sentiments with poise, confidence, and control. Playing second was Bin Hu, performing Lob der Thränen by Franz Schubert and arranged by Johann Kaspar Mertz, and Tres Piezas Españolas by Joaquín Rodrigo. Hu played with a commanding technique and stoicism, captivating the audience with his pensive interpretations. Hu managed to convey a meditative aura underscored with shades and hints of tastefully applied power and delicacy. Following Hu was Misael Barraza Diaz performing Sonata for Guitar by Alberto Ginastera and Variaciones sobre un Tema de Sor by Miguel Llobet. Diaz played with an emotional palette and infectious conviction that coaxed the audience into a state of empathy with his musical statements, as well a state of awe at his technical prowess. The genuine sentiment that Diaz plays with marks him as a great communicator and is punctuated by his formidable control of the instrument. The final competitor to perform was Jeremy Collins. Collins elected to play Fandango from Tres Piezas Españolas by Joaquín Rodrigo, Elegy by Alan Rawsthorne, and Introduction and Caprice by Giulio Regondi. Collins immediately controlled the audience’s attention with his enormous and beautiful sound. The pristine clarity, polished technique, and gorgeous sound with which he plays make him at once a moving and highly entertaining artist with an undoubtedly great career ahead of him.

After a period of painstaking and thorough consideration, the Jury named Misael Barraza Diaz as first prize winner ($1700). Second prize went to Jeremy Collins ($700), third prize was awarded to Bin Hu ($500) and fourth to Ye Eun Lee ($300). Diaz was clearly happy with the results and the overall experience. "The experience at the festival was great. Bloomington is a very special place, and I think having a guitar festival there was a great idea. The festival itself was also nice. Lots of great guitarists and artists were there and I think everybody got to meet new people and make new friends throughout it", said Diaz.

The two divisions of Youth Competition took place on the morning of the festival’s final day. The competitors showed an extraordinary level of playing and gave the audience a glimpse at their promising futures. In the Junior Youth Division, first prize was awarded to Kairey Wang, second to Jacob Tan, third to Yian Wang and fourth to Constantin Chekardzhikov. In the Senior Youth Division, first prize was won by Augustus Woodrow-Tomizuka ($500), second went to Erica Cha ($300), third went to Veronica Eres ($200) and fourth went to Clara McLain ($100).

Several of the Youth competitors collaborated with students of Indiana University’s pre-college guitar program to form the Guitar Festival Youth Ensemble. Directed by Atanas Tzvetkov, the ensemble performed works by Vito Nicola Paradiso and Gerardo Matos Rodríguez prior to the concert given by Matt Palmer.

This year, master classes were given by guest artist Luis Orlandini and Petar Jankovic. Orlandini’s master class featured competitors from the open division receiving instruction on works by Giulio Regondi, Joaquín Rodrigo, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Frank Martin. Orlandini’s direction focused on differentiating musical ideas and emphasizing gestures that are implicit in the music. Petar Jankovic’s master class featured contestants from the Senior Youth Division performing works by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Paolo Bellinati. Jankovic’s instruction emphasized the importance of recognizing cello-imitative lines in the Villa-Lobos works, discerning a composer’s intentions in their music, and quality sound production.

Matt Palmer’s recital on the first night of the festival was undoubtedly one of the weekend’s highlights. Palmer’s reputation for possessing astounding technical capabilities added to the anticipation of his performance and he convincingly delivered. Guitar students in the audience left the concert shaken by Palmer’s playing and were quickly clamoring to purchase Palmer’s book on guitar technique, The Virtuoso Guitarist. However, to merely label Palmer as a guitar technique powerhouse would be remiss. Matt Palmer is an artist of the highest degree. Palmer is one of those exceptional players who embody a meeting of artistic depth and physical capability that inform and compound one another. Palmer’s musical selections included standard setting renditions of works by Rodrigo and Ponce, a wholly unique and hypnotic performance of J.S. Bach’s Ciaccona from Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004, and concluded with the fireworks of Štěpán Rak’s Sonata Mongoliana. Palmer also served as a member of the competition’s jury.

The Festival’s closing concert was given by guitarist Luis Orlandini. Orlandini’s program was comprised of selections of Spanish and Latin American works. Opening the concert was Federico Moreno Tórroba’s Piezas Características, which Orlandini performed with a regal grace and sensitivity. The most moving and memorable moment of the evening came about as Orlandini presented a stirring performance of Esquinas, Op. 68 by Chilean composer Juan Orrego Salas. Mr. Salas was present at the concert and was clearly touched by Orlandini’s interpretation. The concert was concluded with a performance of Antonio José’s Sonata, with an entertainingly vigorous final movement.

By all accounts this year’s festival was a success. "This year the Festival and Competition have been extremely successful due to a high level of competition in all categories, the increasing number of participants from foreign countries, and distinguished guests offering recitals and Master classes" said Artistic Director Maestro Ernesto Bitetti. Guest artists and competitors alike agreed. "It was a great festival. I learned a lot. I'll try to send some of my students next year if possible!”, wrote second prize winner Jeremy Collins. Matt Palmer wrote, "…I was honored to have been a part of it.”

As competitors and guests gathered for a reception after the announcement of the prize winners and the festival’s closing, the sense of anticipation for next year’s festival was palpable. The Jacobs School of Music, Maestro Ernesto Bitetti and, Petar Jankovic, with support of Aranjuez strings, the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, the Indiana University Office of International Affairs, and Reverie Classical Guitars have created a celebration of the guitar that will hopefully become a lasting tradition in Bloomington, for guitarists and music lovers from all over the world.

Written by Adam Brown

Tags:  festival review 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Montreal International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

By Ann Ireland 

The hallways of the music building at Concordia University are oddly hushed this morning. Young men perch on the edge of tables, guitars on lap, tuning up or running through a piece that they are soon to play. The tension is low-key, but palpable.

The first round of Montreal’s International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition has already begun. One of the contestants is already inside the studio, playing in front of judges Jeffrey McFadden and Patrick Kearney .

Tomorrow I will appear in an on-stage interview with Jonah Snyder (classicalguitartraining.com) to discuss my novel The Blue Guitar. Is it a coincidence that my novel takes place at a classical guitar competition in Montreal? Not really; I attended the G.F.A. here in 2004 and made copious notes.

A door opens, and a young man scurries out of the studio with his guitar, his face pink. Another enters, hoping to play well enough to make the semi-finals. A friend from Toronto is competing in this first round; he’s only been taking lessons for a couple of years – so this is a big deal for him.

I am staying in a house with noted Scottish guitarist, Matthew McAllister. Yesterday we hiked alongside the canal discussing music and Scottish politics, my ear tilted to his Sean Connery accent. This evening, at the concert hall, Matthew plays soulful Scottish lute pieces that he’s transcribed for guitar. When he finishes, the crowd surges towards the merch table.

The amateur guitar orchestra members file on stage, dressed in black. They peer earnestly at their music stands, bi-focals in place, as the conductor, Dave Pilon, lifts his baton. The audience is jammed with relatives and friends who wave to their pals in the orchestra between pieces. This looks like major fun.

At intermission, Patrick Kearney announces the names of those who made it to the semi-final round. My friend’s name is called. I hope I don’t embarrass him by my noisy ‘Yip Yip!’

Back at the house the guest artists are bagged from a day’s work judging and performing and are keen to rehydrate with a drink or two. Soon the stories start to flow, mishaps of international guitarists, scandals, horror stories.... It occurs to me that hanging out with musicians is way more fun than partying with writers.

The semi-finalists enter one at a time and play for ten minutes – and Patrick Kearney is strict about this. In the middle of a soul-baring Adagio – tough luck, pal; you should have timed it better. Nerves are poorly concealed: hands swipe knees, then brush back hair. A smile is more like a grimace.

Matthew has a two-hour Master Class directly afterword judging the round, and when I reach him to ask – ‘You going to join us for dinner?” – he’s glassy-eyed.

‘I’m totally fried,’ he says. ‘Can’t eat. Can’t talk.’

So Jeffrey, Patrick and I hit the St- Hubert chicken joint, a must-visit for anyone coming to la Belle Province. We hoover up moist chicken, beer and bloody Caesars.

My friend didn’t make it past the semi-finals, but he’s happy to have gotten as far as he did.

Last day: After recitals and master classes and the on-stage interview with me, it is time for the the presentation of awards for the youth competition.Tim Beattie pulls off the win. A raffle is held for a brand new guitar and the kid who’d played Bach’s First Cello Suite snags the winning ticket.

Five adult finalists will now perform half hour recitals, the crescendo of the weekend. The audience has bulked up with guitarists who didn’t make it to the final round. One sits forward, elbows on knees. Another nods as a performer nails a tough passage. Another looks sleepy, maybe hung over.

Joseph Palmer’s low ‘e’ string breaks mid-stream: a loud ‘ping’ followed by a hush. He disappears into the hallway to fashion the string change. Within five minutes he’s back to continue his program. He comes in second overall. Nice recovery.

I try to figure out who will win, but I’m stymied. One performer excels in musicality, another flies by the seat of his pants and nails what seems, to this amateur player, an impossibly fast section.

The winner is Misael Barraza, Mexican. Second is Joseph Palmer from Texas. Third is Brent Crawford from Toronto.

Patrick and his team act like they’ve been released from a cruise ship stuck at sea. We head out for Chinese food, giddy with achievement.

‘What about next year, Patrick?’

‘It will be magnificent. Adam Holzman’s coming. And we have a snazzy new venue for the concerts. We’ll showcase composer Denis Gougeon –”

‘And so much more?’

‘You got it.’

If you want to hear/see an edited version of my on-stage interview with Jonah Snyder of classicalguitartraining.com – here’s the link:

http://classicalguitartraining.com/interview-with-ann-ireland-author-of-the-blue-guitar/

About the Author:

Ann Ireland is a prize winning novelist, former president of PEN Canada, and coordinator of the Writing Workshops department at the Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University, Toronto. Her most recent novel is: THE BLUE GUITAR published by Dundurn Press.

http://www.dundurn.com/authors/ann_ireland

www.annireland.ca

Tags:  festival review 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Sign In


Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Latest News
Calendar

2/14/2015
Las Vegas Regional Symposium