Parkening International Guitar Competition Names 2015 Winners

A Winner was also Chosen for the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition

MALIBU, Calif.--()--After an exciting week of classical guitar performances, Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University announced the winner of the fourth triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. The competition, the world's preeminent guitar competition, took place from May 26 through May 30, 2015.

“What matters is – if you take these few days as an opportunity to launch further, deeper and more intensely in the incredibly demanding art of making music and making people feel, then you’ve come away a winner.”

Meng Su, 27, of China took the Gold Medal with her rich interpretation of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre during the sold-out final round on Saturday, May 30. She received the US$30,000 Jack Marshall Prize in addition to her medal.

Meng Su was also the winner of the 2006 inaugural Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and is the first female guitarist to both make it to the final round of the main competition and win the Gold Medal.

The Silver Medalist, Rovshan Mamedkuliev, 28, of Russia received US$12,500; the Bronze Medalist, Tengyue Zhang, 21, of China was awarded US$7,500.

The three finalists, each of whom performed a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra under the baton of conductor Roger Kalia, were selected from a pool of 15 standout competitors from 11 different countries. After a brief deliberation after the final performance, the winner was announced.

The three, along with Alec Holcomb, 19, of Clarksville, Tennessee, United States (fourth place); Andrea Roberto, 19, of Italy (fifth place); and Sanel Redzic, 26, of Bosnia and Herzegovina (sixth place), competed in the semifinal round on Friday, May 29.

Other competitors included Riccardo Calogiuri, 25, Italy; Fabian Cardozo, 28, Argentina; Silviu Ciulei, 29, Romania; Vladimir Gapontsev, 29, Russia; Emre Gökalp, 27, Turkey; Samuel Hines, 23, Long Beach, California, USA; Alberta Khoury, 19, Australia; Kyuhee Park, 29, South Korea; and Marko Topchii, 24, Ukraine.

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 Lynn Harrell, cello virtuoso and conductor; Lee Holdridge, Emmy Award-winning film composer; Charlotte Lee, senior vice president, IMG Artists; Angel Romero, guitar maestro, soloist, and conductor; and David Thomas, recording producer.

"We want to pass on to you, as members of the jury, that it doesn’t matter right now what prize you won in this great competition," said Jury Chair Lynn Harrell, at the awards ceremony on May 30. "What matters is – if you take these few days as an opportunity to launch further, deeper and more intensely in the incredibly demanding art of making music and making people feel, then you’ve come away a winner."

Meng Su was born in Qingdao, China, and began studying the guitar at the age of 5. Early on she won first prize in numerous international competitions, including the fifth Vienna Youth Guitar Competition, the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the 2006 Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and the second Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany. In 2006 Su came to the United States to study with the world-renowned guitarist Maestro Manuel Barrueco. She obtained her performer's certificate and graduate performance diplomas in both guitar and chamber music from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is currently completing her master's degree. She gave her Carnegie Hall debut with Yameng Wang, her duo partner in the Beijing Guitar Duo, in 2010, which launched the duo's international concert career. Her debut duo CD, Maracaípe, received a Latin Grammy nomination.

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 26 and 27. First place went to Ashwin Krishna, 17, Los Altos, California, USA; second place to Xu Kun (Alan) Liu, 13, Canada; third place to Nolan Harvel, 14, Hermitage, Tennessee, USA; fourth place to Grace Sheppard, 16, Tucson, Arizona, USA; and fifth place to Jonathan Pryde, 16, Reading, Michigan, USA.

Additional Young Guitarist competitors were Katelyn Biesiadecki, 15, Monterey Park, California, USA; Erick Chipana, 17, Bolivia; Sedona Farber, 14, Santa Ana, California, USA; Kendrick Shen, 15, South Pasadena, California, USA; and Kyle Wong, 15, San Jose, California, USA.

Judging the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition were orchestrator/music arranger Patrick Russ, guitarist and President of the Guitar Foundation of America Martha Masters, and Grammy-nominated guitarist Marc Regnier.


Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts, Pepperdine University
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