2017 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale winners


Congratulations to the following Jacobs School of Music students, who won awards in the 2017 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Scholarship Competition!

Soyoung Kim

Soyoung Kim


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Soyoung Kim  (A.D. student of Arnaldo Cohen)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Boyoung Kim  (M.M. student of Arnaldo Cohen)


Michael Day

Michael Day


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Michael Day – tenor (P.D. student of Andreas Poulimenos)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Hayley Lipke – soprano (M.M. student of Jane Dutton)


Nikola Begovic

Nikola Begovic


FIRST PRIZE: $2,500  Nikola Begovic – guitar (M.M. student of Ernesto Bitetti)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,500  Beste Toparlak – harp (A.D. student of Elizabeth Hainen and Elzbieta Szmyt)



FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Bingyu Hu (B.M. student of Norman Krieger)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Adam Coleman (B.M. student of Evelyne Brancart)


FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Katherine Jones – soprano (B.M. student of Alice Hopper)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Amy Wooster – soprano (B.M. student of Carlos Montané)


FIRST PRIZE: $1,250  Crystal Kim – cello (B.M. student of Peter Stumpf)
SECOND PRIZE: $1,000  Arman Nasrinpay – violin (B.M. student of Simin Ganatra)

The Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Scholarship Competition was started in 1958 by Helen Crandall, a renowned voice teacher in Indianapolis. Since that date, more than $353, 800 has been awarded to more than 799 graduate and undergraduate music students in the state of Indiana. Each year, approximately $19, 000 in prizes is allocated. Many winners have gone on to international careers.

Recipients include such noted musicians as Sylvia McNair, Otis Murphy, and Peter Jankovic.

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Canadian Guitarists Take Top Spots in Indiana Competition


The 7th Indiana International Guitar Festival and competition was held on October 22nd and 23rd on the campus of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, and once again it proved to be a resounding success, with the competitions particularly impressive this year. The three divisions featured a total of 37 competitors—the Open Division had 24 contestants from numerous countries, such as Mexico, Chile, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, and China, as well as guitarists from ten different U.S. states. The Youth and Senior Youth divisions featured 13 talented young players.The first prize of the Open Division was shared by two Canadian guitarists, Steve Cowan and Stephen Lochbaum; both received a cash prize and a record deal with Spain’s prominent record label EMEC Discos label. Both guitarists are already quite well-established: Cowan recently released a fine CD, Pour Guitare, devoted entirely to compositions by contemporary Canadian composers. And the versatile Lochbaum is a multiple competition winner who is pursuing his doctorate at the University of North Texas. The third prize in Indiana went to Austin Wahl and the fourth prize to Henry Johnston.

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Judges and Open division winners (from left to right): Atanas Tzvetkov, Elzbieta Szmyt, Luke Gillespie, Elizabeth Wright, Henry Johnston, Austin Wahl, Steve Cowan, Stephen Lochbaum, Ernesto Bitetti, and Agustin Maruri.

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Open Division Winners: Stephen Lochbaum (top) and Steve Cowan 

The Youth Division featured guitarists between the ages of 14 and 18, and the first prize went to Aytahn Benavi, second to Nolan Harvel, third to Catherine Elmer, and fourth to Liam Hedrick. The winner of the Junior Youth Division was Gwenyth Aggeler, while the second prize was offered to Ian Tubbs, the third and fourth prizes went respectively to Nick Bonn and Alexander Elko.

Parallel to the competitions, the two-day event also presented two popular guest artists, Isaac Bustos from Nicaragua (currently head of the Texas A&M Guitar department), and Rovshan Mamedkuliev from Azerbaijan/Russia. Both virtuosos held master classes and outstanding recitals.  Guitar aficionados filled most of the 400 seats of Auer Hall, where Bustos and Mamedkuliev each received standing ovations. On Saturday, Bustos performed an eclectic repertoire that impressively showcased his musicality and technical precision. And the atmosphere of Mamedkuliev’s outstanding concert was captured by the local media, including Peter Jacobi from the Bloomington Herald Times, who stated that the “audience roared in approval, roared like a hungry soccer crowd.”

Below: Rovshan Mamedkuliev

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For the original post and s a bonus video: Mamedkuliev performing Tárrega’s ‘Gran Jota’ in Portland, Oregon, in 2014, please visit: http://bit.ly/2f4XXWQ

©Classical Guitar Magazine



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Mamedkuliev brings out magic in classical guitar

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer


Heading into Sunday evening, I pondered. No, I argued with myself. It had been a very busy past few weeks, with lots of events to cover.

There was a concert scheduled for that evening. Should I go or should I not? That was the argument.

I really yearned to stay home to relax and came close to that easier decision: to stay and not go. But something got in the way of following through. Something was telling me to go. And go I went: to Auer Hall for a recital by a guest guitarist, Rovshan Mamedkuliev.

As usual, I arrived early, took my seat, and read through the program notes. Heading my way was Ernesto Bitetti , chair of the Jacobs School of Music’s guitar department and very much involved with putting together the Seventh Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, a two-day affair of all things guitar-wise that was to close with Mamedkuliev’s concert.

“I’m so glad you came,” said Ernesto. “Rovshan is something special. He’s the best. You’re going to hear a wonderful recital, perhaps like nothing you’ve ever heard.” The sales pitch was turning into a rave.

“I’m glad I came, too,” I said, partially probably to be polite and partially because I was already there and, as reward, likely to hear some pleasurable guitar music.

And then, the Azerbaijan-born guitarist stepped upon the stage, bowed, took his seat at stage center, and began to play Miguel Llobet’s Variations on a Theme by Sor. The Sor theme was familiar; the variations were not. But, oh my goodness! Ernesto Bitetti’s rave was totally deserved. This Mamedkuliev fellow was remarkable; he is remarkable.

Not at all in a showy manner, he made acrobatic fingers play fancy games with his lovingly-held guitar and perform wonders, producing sounds one does not believe can possibly come from the instrument. But that he continued to do: reveal the ways a virtuoso can bring out the magic in a classical guitar. He had vistas of rural Granada to visit in Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Junto al Generalife,” a musical description of a countryside surrounding an elegant home for the kings of Granada, in relaxing territory away from their most-of-the-time normal palace life.

Born in Azerbaijan and growing up in Russia, Mamedkuliev honored those years in his life by selecting works from composers of those lands. He selected six of “Twelve Miniatures for Piano” written by Fikret Amirov that he transcribed for guitar. The tonal colors differed sharply from the Latin influence of much else that he had chosen for the program. But, as everything selected, these pieces allowed the recitalist to add important performance lessons that only an experienced and gifted guitarist can provide. He did that also with “The Old Lime Tree,” composed by the Russian Sergei Rudnev as reminiscence of his childhood, a ballad that adoringly describes a favored object from the past.

A more contemporary composition, the Sonata Number 2 for Guitar by Nikita Koshkin, dating to 2011, gave Mamedkuliev more thorny themes and developments to deal with, which he did astonishingly.

To close the concert, Mamedkuliev turned to a brilliant showpiece, “Gran jota de concierto” by Francisco Tarrega. The outflow of melodies and embellishments was stunning, indeed something to remember.

The audience roared in approval, roared like a hungry soccer crowd. And I am happy I came.

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7th Annual International Guitar Festival and Competition


Isaac Bustos

The Jacobs School Guitar Department is hosting its 7th Annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition on Oct. 22 and 23, with more than 45 guitarists from around the world competing in three categories: Open, Senior Youth, and Junior Youth. 

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the festival opens at 10 a.m. in Ford-Crawford Hall with the preliminary round of the competition. Rovshan Mamedkuliev will offer a master class at 5:30 p.m. in Sweeney Hall, and Isaac Bustos will offer a recital at 8 p.m. in Auer Hall.


Rovshan Mamedkuliev

Sunday, Oct. 23, the festival continues at 10 a.m. with the semifinal round in Ford-Crawford Hall, the youth competition in Sweeney Hall, and a master class by Isaac Bustos at 3:30 p.m. in Sweeney. The final round of the competition starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by a recital by Mamedkuliev at 8 p.m., and the closing ceremony and prize announcements at 9 p.m., all in Auer Hall.

All events are FREE and open to the public!


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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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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