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Stay up to date with all the latest happenings in the guitar world. On this blog, you'll find information about competitions, notable awards, obituaries, job openings and placements, and more. To submit an entry for Reverberations Live, please email


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2012 GFA Competition Results

Posted By Connie Sheu, Saturday, July 7, 2012

The 2012 Guitar Foundation of America Competition was held from June 26 to July 1, 2012 at the College of Charleston. Three divisions of the competition took place - the International Concert Artist Competition (18 and over), the International Youth Competition Senior Division (15-18), and the International Youth Competition Junior Division (14 and under). In all competitions, the final rounds were open to the public at the 2012 GFA Convention.

The winners of our 2012 International Concert Artist Competition are:

Rovshan Mamedkuliev (Russia) – 1st Prize
Celil Kaya (Turkey) – 2nd Prize
Silviu Ciulei (Romania/USA) – 3rd Prize
Ivan Sanchez Flores (Mexico) – 4th Prize

Below, our four finalists with ICAC director Martha Masters.

Rovshan Mamedkuliev will begin his tour in 2013-2014. For booking, please contact GFA Tour Director Lynn McGrath at

International Youth Competition: Senior Division
Huaicong Mu (China) – 1st Prize
Shon Stelman (Israel/US) – 2nd Prize
Noam Kanter (Netherlands) – 3rd Prize
Tobias James (US) – 4th Prize

Below, Risa Carlson, IYC Director, with Senior Division finalists.

International Youth Competition: Junior Division
Kevin Loh (Singapore)- 1st Prize
Woo Tak Kim (S. Korea) – 2nd Prize
Ashwin Krishna (US) – 3rd Prize
James Graham (Canada) – 4th Prize

Below, Risa Carlson with Junior Division finalists.

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Milos Karadaglic in Grammophone Magazine

Posted By Connie Sheu, Thursday, June 14, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012

Milos Karadaglic is on the cover of the June 2012 edition of Grammophone Magazine, which is being called the "Guitar Issue." The last guitarist to be on the cover of this magazine, considered the to be one of the leading publications for classical music worldwide, was Julian Bream in 1983.

See an article about Milos here: and view the cover photo here.

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Instrumental Influences Classical Guitar Book of Essays Wins 2012 International Book Award for Performing Arts/Music

Posted By Connie Sheu, Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Austin, Texas, June 5, 2012: Austin, Texas author Donn LeVie Jr. has received top honors in the 2012 International Book Awards (IBA) for his book of essays from world-renowned classical guitar performers and teachers. "INSTRUMENTAL INFLUENCES: Reflections on the Classical Guitar from the Instrument's Most Influential Performers and Pedagogues" (Kings Crown Publishing) was the Winner of the 2012 IBA in the Performing Arts/Music category. Instrumental Influences was previously the Runner-Up in the 2011 Global eBook Awards. The IBA is sponsored by the JPX Media Group in Los Angeles, California.

Instrumental Influences contains original essays from 26 classical guitar artists and teachers as well as 20 essays from LeVie himself, who performs on the classical guitar in churches around the country. Essayists include Grammy Award winners and nominees, and past winners of the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition. Tony Morris, host of Public Radio's Classical Guitar Alive!" program provided the Afterword to the book.

Chloe Baxter, project manager for Kings Crown Publishing, states that, "Instrumental Influences is the first project of its type in the history of classical guitar and classical music: Never before have so many classical music artists come together to lend their voices to a unique project that explore how teaching, studying, and performing on the classical guitar have all been 'instrumental influences' in the lives of artists, teachers, and students." Composer and classical guitarist Andrew Zohn agreed, stating that, "Donn LeVie Jr. provides a significant contribution to the musician’s literature that probes the questions of what is required to become, and what it means to be, a great musician.”

Instrumental Influences is an original work that offers deeper insight into the demands of studying the classical guitar, and the rewards of that relationship that manifest themselves in other areas of the artists' lives and in the lives of anyone pursuing serious study of the instrument.

Instrumental Influences is available in soft cover from and, and for the Kindle eBook Reader.

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University of Louisville Guitar Festival and Competition Results

Posted By Connie Sheu, Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The 3rd University of Louisville guitar festival and competition was held from May 24-28 at the UofL School of Music in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 2012 UofL festival was a preview of the 40th GFA Convention which will be held at the UofL school of music in Louisville, KY next year from June 25-30, 2013. The UofL festival will resume its annual schedule the follow year from May 22-26, 2014. We hope
to see everyone in 2013 for the GFA Convention!

The 2012 UofL guitar competition winners are:

Youth division 1 (14 & under)

1. Hannah Wade
2. Mallory Richards

Youth division 2 (15-17)

1. Joseph Douglas
2. Victoria Medley
3. Devin Brown

Solo artist division (all ages)

1. Joseph Palmer
2. Celil Refik Kaya
3. Jeremy Collins
4. Antoniy Kakamakov

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Celil Refik Kaya wins JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, June 11, 2012


Celil Refik Kaya, of Turkey, emerged victorious in the finals of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in Kleinhans Music Hall on Saturday night.

Petrit Ceku, of Croatia, came in second, and Ekachai Jearakul, of Thailand, was third.

Kaya's prize is $10,000, a valuable Spanish guitar and engagements with the Round Top Music Festival in Texas and the Virginia Symphony.

Ceku took the $3,500 second prize, and Jearakul took the $1,000 third prize.

The three guitarists who made the cut for the finals did their best to influence the seven judges' decision.

But the judges weren't the only ones they needed to persuade, because the audience was choosing their favorite performer via the ballot box and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra had their own Musicians Choice Award to hand out.

Though Kaya won the competition, Ceku won musicians and audience awards as the top guitarist in separate voting.

Before the three began their efforts, the judges — all professional guitarists — banded together to play arrangements of two pieces (Ernesto Nazareth's "Brejeiro" and Stepan Rak's "Rumba") for the audience. It was a pleasant-enough diversion but they could have used a more forceful boost from the sound system to make the kind of impact they deserved.

This year, a twist was added to the competition's format. In addition to each guitarist having to perform a concerto from a selected list, each got a chance to play a solo piece best demonstrating their abilities.

Thailand's Jearakul, the first guitarist to take the stage, and Ceku, the Croatian, who had the third slot, chose safe, audience-friendly, well-known works by Joaquin Rodrigo that needed a bit of "oomph" to make them stand out from the thousands of performances each piece had acquired through the years.

Jearakul's take on the "Fantasia para un Gentilhombre" and Ceku's performance of the "Concierto de Aranjuez" both had their points, with the former being more straightforward and contained in his interpretation and the latter a bit more physical and outwardly involved.

Ennio Morricone's "Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso" was a pleasant-enough solo piece for Jearakul to end up with but Ceku's rendition of Isaac Albeniz's more familiar "Malaguena" was greeted with a bit more enthusiasm by the audience.

Kaya, the competition's winner and the youngest among the finalists also was the one who, it could be said, may have taken the biggest chances. Roberto Sierra's "Folia" is an intensely focused piece that deserves more performances. The fact that Kaya's choice made "Folia" a New York premiere was a point in his favor because there were no preconceptions that the audience could make about the piece. Sierra's presence in the audience was another bonus.

As a solo piece, Kaya chose Astor Piazzolla's "Primavera Porteno," one of the four tango-oriented works that made up Piazzolla's musical portrait of the seasons in Buenos Aires.

The one constant throughout the evening was Falletta's conducting and the way the BPO responded to her every gesture. Both of them are gems in Western New York's musical life and it was good to hear them in top form.

The Buffalo contest is held every two years as a friendly competition among prominent classical guitarists, but a victory can do a lot for the career of a young player.

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2012 Parkening International Guitar Competition Results

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, June 4, 2012
Parkening International Guitar Competition Names 2012 Winners

Malibu, CA, June 2--Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University today announced the winner of the third triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. The competition, the world's preeminent guitar competition with the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition, took place from May 29 through June 2, 2012.

Petrit Ceku, 27, of Croatia took the Gold Medal with his scintillating performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre during the sold-out final round on Saturday, June 2. He received the $30,000 Jack Marshall Prize in addition to his medal.

The Silver Medalist, Rafael Aguirre, 27, of Spain received $12,500; the Bronze Medalist, Florian Larousse, 24, of France was awarded $7,500.

The three finalists, each of whom performed a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra under the baton of conductor Richard Kaufman, were selected from a pool of 15 standout competitors. After a brief deliberation by the judging panel, the winner was announced.

The three, along with Solomon Silber, 29, of the United States (fourth place) and Alberta Khoury, 16, of Australia (fifth place), competed in the semifinal round on Friday, June 1.

Other competitors included Tim Callobre, 19, USA; Riccardo Calogiuri, 22, Italy; Silviu Ciulei, 26, Romania; Ricardo Escobar, 26, USA; Fabian Freesen, 28, Germany; Samuel Hines, 20, USA; Adam Kossler, 28, USA; Nemanja Ostoich, 28, Serbia; Andrea Roberto, 16, Italy; and Marko Topchii, 21, Ukraine.

All of the competitors performed on the first full day of the competition (May 31); five semifinalists were then selected to proceed to the second day. The competitors performed required and free-choice pieces and were judged on musicianship, tone, technique, and stage presence.

The distinguished panel of five judges, representing different areas of the music world, were Dave Grusin, film composer and jazz artist; Costa Pilavachi, Senior Vice President of Universal Music Group; David Russell, guitar virtuoso; Julie Smith, Classical Project Manager for The Recording Academy; and Jim Svejda, Classical KUSC radio host and producer.

The 15 competitors vied for cash awards that totaled $57,000. The fourth- and fifth-place winners each received $1,000. Awards of $500 were given to each of the remaining 10 competitors.

Petrit Ceku was born in Prizren, Kosovo, where he received instruction from Luan Sapunxhiu. In 2002 he moved to Zagreb, Croatia, where he continued his music education under Xhevdet Sahatxhija. Later he entered Darko Petrinjak's class at the Music Academy in Zagreb and graduated from the program in 2008. His first CD was released that year under the Naxos label. He currently studies with guitarist Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.

Ceku has won first prize in numerous international guitar competitions, including the 2003 Anna Amalia Competition for Young Guitarists (Germany). The next year he won the Emilio Pujol Guitar Competition (Italy) and the Andres Segovia Competition (Velbert, Germany). In 2007 he placed first in the Michele Pittaluga Guitar Competition (Italy). Last year he received first prize in the Schadt String Competition (Allentown, PA) and the Maurizio Biasini Guitar Competition (Italy).

He has also appeared throughout Europe and North America in solo recitals or accompanied by major symphonic orchestras.

In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine presented the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition for guitarists ages 17 and younger on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29 and 30. First place went to Alec Holcomb, 17, USA; second place to Noah Kim, 16, USA; third place to Jennifer Kim, 13, USA; fourth place to Sean Keegan, 15, USA; and fifth place to Ashwin Krishna, 14, USA.

Additional Young Guitarist competitors were Sergio Gallardo, 17, Bolivia; Samuel Garry, 14, USA; Wu Love, 17, USA; David Steinhardt, 15, USA; and Audra Vigil, 15, USA.

Cash awards for the Young Guitarist Competition included $3,000 for the first-place winner and $750 for each of the other four finalists. Awards of $500 were given to each of the remaining five competitors.

Judging the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition were symphonic orchestrator/music arranger Patrick Russ, Spanish guitarist and concert artist Pablo Sainz Villegas, and record producer/concert promoter David Thomas.

At the final round on June 2, Sainz Villegas, who won the Gold Medal at the inaugural Parkening Competition in 2006, performed the world premiere of John Williams' Rounds, which was recently written for and dedicated to Christopher Parkening and will be a required piece at the 2015 Parkening Competition.

The 2012 Parkening Competition is made possible by generous grants from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson and Juanita and Manny Del Arroz.

The Parkening International Guitar Competition is pleased to congratulate and announce the winners of the 2012 competition:

The Jack Marshall Prize and Gold Medal were awarded to Petrit Ceku.

The Silver Medal was awarded to Rafael Aguirre.

The Bronze Medal was awarded to Florian Larousse.

Fourth Place was awarded to Solomon Silber.

Fifth Place was awarded to Alberta Khoury.

The Parkening Young Guitarist Competition is pleased to congratulate and announce the winners of the 2012 competition:

First Place was awarded to Alec Holcomb.

Second Place was awarded to Noah Kim.

Third Place was awarded to Jennifer Kim.

Fourth Place was awarded to Sean Keegan.

Fifth Place was awarded to Ashwin Krishna.

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Winners of Young Guitarists for Concerts

Posted By Connie Sheu, Saturday, June 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The winners of the 13th Selection of Young Guitarists for Concerts, which took place in Parma on 27 and 28 April 2012 within the 14th International Guitar Festival "Niccolò Paganini” are:

Gian Marco Ciampa (Italy)

Jearakul Ekachai (Thailand)

The jury, composed of some of the most important international guitarists and musicians, such as Francisco Bernier (Spain), Tomasz Kandulski and Sandra Haniszewska (Poland), Martín Madrigal (Mexico), Sándor Papp (Hungary), Christian Saggese and Giulio Tampalini (Italy) selected these guitarists as the winners of this year’s competition.

Those of you interested in having one of these two guitarists within your concert seasons or festivals (paying their travel and accommodation expenses only) can contact Solares Fondazione delle Arti – Music Department at: or +39 (0)521 992044.

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Parkening Young Guitarist Competition Results

Posted By Connie Sheu, Thursday, May 31, 2012

The biannual Parkening Competition began with the Young Guitarists Competition on May 29 and May 30, 2012 for guitarists 17 and under.  All events were held at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. The results were:

1st Prize: Alec Holcomb (USA)

2nd Prize: Noah Kim (USA)

3rd Prize: Jennifer Kim (USA)

4th Prize: Sean Keegan (USA)

5th Prize: Ashwin Krishna (USA)

Congratulations to all! The Parkening Competition will continue with the adult division through June 2, 2012. Stay tuned for results.

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Classical Guitar Weekend at Cleveland Institute of Music

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, May 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012
The twelfth annual Classical Guitar Weekend will take place at the Cleveland Institute of Music (Jason Vieaux, CIM Guitar Department Head) Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3, 2012.

Please join internationally acclaimed classical guitarists Pavel Steidl (Czech Republic), Gaelle Solal (France), Lorenzo Micheli (Italy), Matteo Mela (Italy), Jason Vieaux (U.S.A.), soprano Jung Eun Oh (U.S.A.), master guitar maker Bernhard Kresse (Germany), guest lecturer Jonathan Fitzgerald (U.S.A.) and record producer Alan Bise (U.S.A.) in a concentrated series of recitals, debut performances, master classes, lectures and exhibits celebrating the classical guitar and art music, solo and ensemble, old and new. All recitals will take place in Mixon Hall, CIM's magnificent new concert hall.

For a complete schedule of events, details pertaining to Classical Guitar Weekend 2012, and to purchase tickets, please visit Guitars International’s website at or call Guitars International at 216.752.7502.

Classical Guitar Weekend is presented in the heart of University Circle - Cleveland, Ohio's world renowned cultural and educational center - by Guitars International in cooperation with the Cleveland Institute of Music with generous additional support from the Galli String Company, the Cleveland community and beyond.

Armin Kelly, Artistic Director

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Don Andres and Paquita Book Release at GFA Convention

Posted By Connie Sheu, Sunday, May 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012
Amadeus Press, a division of Hal Leonard Publications, will be holding the official release at GFA Charleston of their new book Don Andrés and Paquita, The Life of Segovia in Montevideo by Alfredo Escande and translated by Charles and Marisa Postlewate. The release will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of Andrés Segovia (June 2, 1987) in conjunction with the two Segovia lectures by Stephen Goss and Christopher Parkening on Saturday, June 30th at the GFA Charleston Convention. This 400-page, well illustrated book chronicles the 78-year career of Andrés Segovia, concentrating on his decade in Montevideo when he was married to the Spanish concert pianist Paquita Madriguera and when he developed much of his repertoire, including the Ponce Concierto del sur and the historic Castelnuovo-Tedesco Guitar Concerto in D Major, the first important guitar concerto of the twentieth century. Charles and Marisa Postlewate will represent Amadeus Press at the GFA Charleston on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Convention to promote the release of this book and will appear all three days at the tables of the two Hal Leonard representatives: Strings By Mail and Kirkpatrick Guitar Studios.

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