Jacobs to have guitar festival

By Brooke McAffee


Bin Hu plays in the final round of the fourth annual Guitar Festival and Competition Oct. 26, 2014, at Auer Hall.

Bin Hu plays in the final round of the fourth annual Guitar Festival and Competition Oct. 26, 2014, at Auer Hall.

The sixth Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition will expose the Bloomington community to an international musical experience, Executive Director Petar Jankovic said.

“It reaches our guitar community and the music community as a whole,” Jankovic said.

The Jacobs School of Music will have the annual festival Oct. 24 and 25.

More than 45 competitors from around the world will compete.

The event also includes two guest recitals. Cuban guitarist René Izquierdo will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday in Auer Hall, and Peruvian guitarist Jorge Caballero will close the festival at 8 p.m. Sunday in Auer Hall.

The musicians will perform classical guitar in preliminary, semi-final and final rounds of the competition. They are divided into three categories.

The open division has musicians ages 19-35, the senior youth division has musicians ages 14-18 and the junior youth division has musicians ages 14 and younger.

A panel of five judges, who are faculty members in the music school, will judge the competition.

IU students are not allowed to compete in the festival because it would not be a fair competition with the panel of IU faculty judging the musicians, 
Jankovic said.

“Our students are here to experience a lot of different groups and players,” Jankovic said.

Izquierdo, an award-winning guitarist, teaches classical guitar at the Wisconsin State University in Milwaukee. He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Cuba. He studied at the Yale University of Music, Guillermo Tomás, Amadeo Roldán Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana, Cuba, according to the Jacobs School of Music website.

Caballero, who was born in Lima, Peru, is both the only guitarist and the youngest musician to win the Walter N. Naumburg Award, a prestigious award in classical music.

His performances have also received positive reviews in publications such as the New York Times.

Caballero has performed in several orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony 

Ernesto Bitetti, chair and founder of the guitar department, is the artistic director of the festival. Bitetti invited Izquierdo to 
perform at the event.

It will be his first time 
visiting IU, Izquierdo said.

“I think it will be a memorable weekend,” he said.

He will perform an eclectic program of music that combines classical repertoire and Cuban works, Izquierdo said,

Some of his own students are participating in the festival, Izquierdo said, and he is looking forward to seeing the result of their hard work. He said he is also excited to listen to guitarists from different parts of the world.

“I’m looking forward to seeing new players,” Izquierdo said. “It’s a good way to see where you are and where other people are.”

The festival and competition allows young players to develop as musicians, Izquierdo said.

Jankovic said the event will teach the participants many skills including competition, career development and public performance.

“I’m looking forward to a high quality guitar 
experience,” Jankovich said.

© Indiana Daily Student 2015

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6th International Guitar Festival and Competition this weekend

Jorge Caballero

Jorge Caballero

The Jacobs School Guitar Department is hosting its 6th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition this weekend, Oct. 24 and 25, with more than 45 competitors from around the world competing in three categories: Open, Senior Youth, and Junior Youth. All events are free and open to the public.

The festival and competition begins with the Preliminary Round at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in Ford-Crawford Hall and ends with a recital by Peruvian guitarist Jorge Caballero at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, in Auer Hall.

In addition, Caballero will give a master class at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Sweeney Hall, and Cuban guitarist Rene Izquierdo will perform in recital at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 in Auer Hall.

Rene Izquierdo

Rene Izquierdo

Jacobs faculty member Petar Jankovic is executive director of the festival and competition, and Guitar Department chair Ernesto Bitetti is artistic director. Click here for more information.

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Performance Today featuring Petar Jankovic Ensemble’s Piazzolla’s Primavera Portena from Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

352b4cd0071a3eAmerican Public Media’s Performance Today will be featuring the Petar Jankovic Ensemble’s September 2014 performance of Piazzolla’s Primavera Portena from Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on our Monday, April 13 show.

Performance Today is America’s most popular classical music radio program; the show is broadcast on 294 public radio stations across the country and reaches approximately 1.4 million listeners each week. For more specific information regarding broadcast times near you, please see our station list. The show audio is also available on our website, Performance Today, beginning at 9 a.m. ET the day of broadcast and for a period of thirty (30) days following the initial show broadcast. Please be aware that in rare cases programmatic changes do occur, generally in response to major news events or changes in our production calendar.

The PJE performs in the first hour of the show. Click here to listen to the broadcast now, or tune in to your local public radio station. Show will air at 1 p.m. on Bloomington’s WFIU 103.7 FM.


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Petar Jankovic Ensemble CD praised by Guitar International

Petar EnsembleThe Petar Jankovic Ensemble (PJE) is no stranger to the pages of Guitar International, and has recently released a follow up to their highly acclaimed debut, From Spain to Tango. (Com)Passionate, the sophomore effort by PJE is a masterful recording which features a new dynamic, atmosphere, and more mature context for the group.

(Com)Passionate showcases the PJE within a true chamber music setting, a role that has rarely ever been achieved on the classical guitar. The repertoire on this recording goes far beyond what has been for so long associated with the classical guitar, and the listener is treated to music by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), and a world premiere by Eliot Bark (b. 1980).

A special mention has to be given to Eliot Bark for his brilliant arrangements of all the music on this CD, and he also composed the title track (Com)Passionate Music, which is a two movement work. The opening movement “Passionate” is an energetic, rhythmic, and exciting piece that will no doubt grab the listener’s attention. This movement features some very aggressive playing, percussive string snapping, banging on the guitar, and is all tied together with some very intuitive, expressive, and precise ensemble playing.

The second movement, ‘Passionate,’ is a heartfelt piece of lyrical beauty, and one that you can tell each member of the PJE feels really special about. There is a ‘blue’ harmony motive within the movement giving the listener something familiar to grab hold of while the piece crescendos and weaves around a warm and serene atmosphere to. The PJE gives one of their most beautiful and heartfelt performances of this World Premiere.

Some of the more challenging music on the recording are the six Preludes and Fugues op. 87 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). The “Fugue No.1 in C major” showcases the incredible talent within the ensemble and especially in the cello part. Kyra Saltman (cello) plays with a deep and resonating tone perfectly setting the mood for her partners to follow and build upon, there is a real dialogue amongst the parts within these works.

A stand out on the recording is “Jimbo’s Lullaby” by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) from his Children’s Corner Suite. A piece which is often associated with solo piano playing, the PJE really augment this work and bring it to life. Again, a special mention has to be given to Eliot Bark for such an arrangement of this great work. It is playful, and Debussy’s use of the pentatonic scale gives it a moment of the sounds that come from the East. Maria Storm (Violn), Azusa Tashiro (Violin), and Amanda Grimm (Viola) all play with exceptional tone and subtlety on this track which really adds depth, and perfectly captures the spirit of Debussy’s music.

There is no doubt that the PJE has matured quite a bit since their first recording, and (Com)Passionate) offers some of the most realistic chamber music featuring the guitar. There are those familiar sounds of the guitar which we all love, but there is much more of the European tradition of the String Quartet on this recording, and the repertoire featured is exactly what the PJE needed to tackle in order to take their place at the top of the classical music world.

By Brad Conroy


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5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition results

On November 1 and 2, 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.

Guest artist Ricardo Gallén (right) gives some pointers to Samuel Hines (left) during a master class.

Guest artist Ricardo Gallén (right) gives some pointers to Samuel Hines (left) during a master class.

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. 

Co-winner Celil Refik Kaya

Co-winner Celil Refik Kaya

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.

Co-winner Jesus Serrano

Co-winner Jesus Serrano

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 Guitar Ensemble directed by Daniel Duarte

The Guitar Ensemble directed by Daniel Duarte

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.

Left to right: Jury members Luke Gillespie, Elisabeth Wright, and Elzbieta Szmyt, prize winners Mark Edwards, Jeremy Collins, Celil Refik Kaya, and Jesus Serrano, artistic director and jury member Ernesto Bitetti, and jury member Atanas Tzvetkov.

Left to right: Jury members Luke Gillespie, Elisabeth Wright, and Elzbieta Szmyt, prize winners Mark Edwards, Jeremy Collins, Celil Refik Kaya, and Jesus Serrano, artistic director and jury member Ernesto Bitetti, and jury member Atanas Tzvetkov.

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.

Executive director Petar Jankovic teaches Sedona Farber during a master class.

Executive director Petar Jankovic teaches Sedona Farber during a master class.

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.

By Adam Brown

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Nemanja Ostojic CD Album reviewed in Italy

Nemanja OstojicAlumni guitarists Nemanja Ostojic’s world debut CD Album “First Born” receives a rave review in the Italian foremost classical guitar magazine Seicorde.
Seicorde dubbed the numerous international award winner Ostojic as the “champion of the guitar”, and praised both his “intense musical personality” and “impeccable technique”.

Nemanja Ostojić has graduated from Music High School Kosta Manojlovic in the
class of Professor Bosko Radojkovic and soon received his Bachelor Degree in
Music from the University of Belgrade studying with Professor Srdjan Tosic.
Nemanja has completed both the Masters Degree and the Artist Diploma Program at
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, under the guidance of
Maestro Ernesto Bitetti, where he is currently completing the Doctor in Musical
Arts program.


Translation of the review:

A Prodigious Debut!

From American university music schools, here is the debut CD by a prodigious guitar champion, who offers an exceptionally skillful recital in which he displays extraordinary abilities that are hard to match. The executions are precise and technically impeccable in the tremulous melody of the famous Sueno en la Foresta, by Augustin Barrios, as they are in the more complex polyrhythms of Dusan Bogdanovich’s Jazz Sonatina and in the fast chromatics of Leo Brouwer’s Hika.

The distinct personality of this Serbian guitarist stands out in the pieces he proposes, establishing a personal touch which, on the one hand, best highlights the outstanding qualities of a bold performer, but on the other hand, deprives the pieces of a more thorough exploration that could transmit a more powerful musical vision, the absence of which is mostly evident in pieces such as Sonata by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

A remarkable production, then, that raises hopes for a bright continuation in concert as well as in recording.

Translated into English by Maria Roncalli

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Music Review: Guitar Ensemble

By Peter Jacobi


As a performance highlight of this past weekend’s 2014 Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, the Indiana University Jacobs School’s Guitar Department unveiled a new ensemble, and a mighty good one it is.

Simply called the Guitar Ensemble, the dozen members introduced themselves in an Auer Hall concert Saturday evening, performing music of great difficulty with an assurance that should be reserved for far more mature collectives.

The reason, in great part, must be the group’s young director, Daniel Duarte, who not only trained and conducted the musicians but prepared arrangements for them to show off their technical abilities and musicality.

So, when the ensemble first took the stage, it focused on Vivaldi, the Presto from the Concerto in G Minor, Opus 8, No. 2, but it was Vivaldi as arranged by Daniel Duarte. And when they played Astor Piazzolla’s “Verano Porteno,” once again the arrangement was by Duarte. So, too, a Tango Suite built from Julio Cesar Oliva’s “Nostalgia del Rio de la plata,” a Panchos Suite of vocals accompanied by guitars, and an exciting work of contemporary nature, Paulo Bellinari’s “A furiosa.”

Duarte is obviously a gifted arranger, with a sensitive feel for how to mesh the classical guitar with music not always written for the instrument or in need of special handling. But he has at his disposal a talented set of musicians who already can do wonders together with their guitars. In music of Vivaldi and Fernando Sor, they found, respectively, the Baroque and Classic styles. In the Piazzolla and the Tango Suite, they reflected that distinctive dance. The Panchos Suite was a delight: three guitarists joined by a couple of baritones and a tenor (Francisco Ortega, Rafael Campos and Bruno Sandes) who squeezed every ounce of flavor and panache from three pop songs that begged for over-the-top interpretations and received them.

The ensemble finished the evening with Leo Brouwer’s “Acerca del cielo el aire y la sonrisa,” a complex and exotic exercise by a contemporary Cuban master of the instrument and genre, and an encore, just as difficult and challenging, “Berimbeau” by two Brazilians, composer Vinicius de Moraes and guitarist Baden Powell. The readings were stunning.

One looks forward to the Guitar Ensemble’s future.

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Jacobs hosts 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition Nov. 1 and 2

GallenThe Jacobs School Guitar Department is hosting its 5th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition this weekend. Over 40 competitors from around the world will compete in three categories, including Open, Senior Youth, and Junior Youth.

In addition, the festival will feature renowned European guitarist Ricardo Gallen in a Saturday, Nov. 1, master class at 5pm in Sweeney Hall and in a Sunday, Nov. 2, concert at 8pm in Auer Hall.

The festival will also feature the premiere concert of the IU Guitar Ensemble, directed by Daniel Duarte on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 8pm in Auer Hall.

All events are free and open to the public.

Executive director of the festival and competition is Petar Jankovic and artistic director is Ernesto Bitetti. For more info, visit blogs.music.indiana.edu/guitarfestival.

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Nemanja Ostojic accepts faculty position at the University of Indianapolis

Doctoral student Nemanja Ostojic has accepted the Adjunct Lecturer position at the University of Indianapolis Department of Music.

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Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop a big success

Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop
May 30 – June 1, 2014—Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Atanas Tzvetkov, Director
Sponsored by Bloomington Classical Guitar Society

JGA1smallerThis unique guitar forum stands out as the first Bloomington guitar festival dedicated completely to guitar students, players and enthusiasts of all ages and levels. Presented by the IU Jacobs Guitar Academy in collaboration with Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, it emerged as an extended weekend of remarkable guitar activities combined into a versatile and entertaining program, which included recitals, master classes, ensemble rehearsals, ensemble workshops and guitar vendor exhibit.

JGA3.smallerOne of the highlights of the Festival was the featured guest artist – the Italian guitarist, composer and pedagogue, Vito Nicola Paradiso. A world-renowned performer, composer and pedagogue, professor Paradiso has established himself as one of the most successful and unique educators in Europe in the recent years.

Paradiso is the author of the guitar method “La Chitarra Volante”, which has been the primary method for Jacobs’s young guitarists in the past decade, and has had very strong and positive impact to Jacobs School overall.  During the festival, for the first time ever, Jacobs Guitar Academy students had the fantastic opportunity to interact directly with him. He led the Festival Guitar Ensemble rehearsals and guided master classes with varied level students, who benefited from his experience as pedagogue, performing artist and conductor.

Besides being the author of the acclaimed guitar method “La Chitarra Volante” Paradiso has published numerous original works for solo guitar and guitar ensemble. He has been awarded the special prize Chitarra d’Oro (“Golden Guitar”) for his didactical contributions at the 17th Concorso Internazionale di Chitarra of Alessandria, in 2012, and “Maestro d’Italia” prize in Barletta in 2008 and 2012 for his pedagogical work.

Holding a Gold Medal from “Pergolesi” international guitar Competition in Naples and Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at The International “San Bartolomeo a Mare” Competition in Imperia, Paradiso has established himself as one of the very active, truly outstanding guitar performers of today.

The first day of the festival, Friday May 30, Maestro Paradiso presented a unique solo recital – “The magic of Italian guitar” at Auer Hall – performing some of his special classical guitar arrangements of old classic Italian songs. The program he played deeply captured everyone in the audience, which led to him receiving the standing ovation following by two encores. His arrangements of Italian music were exceptional and his playing superb.

“Rare are the occasions when a guitarist and pedagogue of such high level is locally present and fully available to our students and the guitar lovers of Bloomington community. His visit complies the mission of Jacobs Guitar Academy, which is not only to educate, but to provide all guitar enthusiasts with a world-class experience, and direct inspiration from the world most established musicians and performers!”
Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov, Festival and Academy Director

On Saturday May 31 in Auer hall Maestro Paradiso personally conducted the Festival Guitar Ensemble – IU Jacobs Guitar Academy ensemble united with Bloomington Classical Guitar Society ensemble.

Besides performing number of Paradiso’s compositions the concert was completed with an excusive presentation of his recently published triptych “Travel in America” – a suite for guitar ensemble and solo guitar. This remarkable composition has been especially dedicated by Paradiso to Jacobs Guitar Academy and was performed by the Festival Guitar Ensemble with soloist Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov.

“This Ensemble showcase is the first presentation of its kind in the history of Jacobs School of Music. Up until now we have not had a complete guitar ensemble recital at our school. Most importantly, the concert emerged through a strong collaboration of skills and experience by students, faculty and guest conductor, who is also the composer of the music performed. Such presentation gives the unique opportunity to Jacobs students for a professional experience at young age, and truly shows the ultimate art we can create when all together we combine efforts, communicating through the universal language of music.”
Dr. Atanas Tzvtekov, Festival and Academy Director

JGA2.smallerIn addition to these unique concerts the festival saw two separate End of the Year Guitar Academy recitals on Friday May 30 in Ford Crawford Hall and Sunday June 1 in Auer hall. Over forty students performed solo pieces covering the full range of guitar repertoire, from beginner to master concert compositions.  The festival was completed with an official award ceremony, when Maestro Paradiso and Dr. Tzvetkov presented the Academy students with their Jacobs Guitar Academy Certificate of Achievement followed with a Gala reception that same evening.

The Inaugural Jacobs Guitar Academy Ensemble Workshop and Festival was a tremendous success.  On behalf of our entire guitar community, I would like to thank Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov and Professor Vito Nicola Paradiso personally for making this event possible.  There are many challenges in putting together a festival like this, particularly for the first time. It requires vision, energy, unbridled enthusiasm and a lot of hard work. Atanas and Nicola have an abundance of these qualities and have given us the gift of a truly memorable guitar weekend – a gift shared by professional guitarists, amateur guitarists, students, families and friends. Thank you Atanas and Nicola!!”
Mark Bisesi, Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, President

“The First Jacobs Guitar Academy Festival and Ensemble Workshop emerged from the fruitful community collaboration between IU Jacobs Guitar Academy and the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society. I want to express my deep gratitude to the Society for its incredible financial support. This Festival was a truly successful and memorable guitar forum, which not only further honored the world renowned prestigious level of our school, but also established a strong bond between the Jacobs School and Bloomington community to a much higher extent than ever before.”
Dr. Atanas Tzvetkov, Festival and Academy Director

Some of the notable testimonials about the festival are found in the letter to Gwyn Richards, Dean of Jacobs School of Music, by Donna Stevens from June 2, 2014.

“This festival provided students of all ages, children, adults, seniors, professionals and amateurs, the opportunity to truly feel a PART of the Jacobs School.  I heard the excitement of some of the younger guitarists who talked about this special opportunity.  Adults with whom I spoke talked of feeling connected to the School in a way they hadn’t before.  While I was not a part of the ensemble, I sat in awe watching this diverse group perform with such joy and expertise, and the fact that the ages ranged from teenagers to seniors did not escape me.  It was a tremendous experience, and the entire hall was buzzing with enthusiasm after the event.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that I feel this is precisely what this community has needed. When you open the doors of the Academy to the community, it becomes accessible in a personal and tangible way.  The Jacobs School then is not just there to perform FOR us, to us, but with us, and that invitation helps connect us in a way that didn’t’ previously exist.  The Jacobs School becomes OUR school…

As social networking has succinctly taught us, connection is precisely what our 21st century society longs for, but finding authentic forms of connection can be so difficult to achieve.  But this endeavor, Gwyn, does just that.

I am still thinking about this today, and I just wanted to say that you, Atanas, and the School are to be commended for providing this opportunity to all of us.  The festival was truly a remarkable and notable feat….  I hope it is a signal of a new direction for the Jacobs School, one that continues to foster goodwill and connection to all the music lovers and students in the community.”

Donna M. Stevens
Director, Human Resource Development
Indiana University School of Education

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