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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