The 7th Indiana international Guitar Festival and competition was held on the 22nd and 23rd of October, 2016. The three divisions of the competition featured 37 competitors in total, 24 contestants from several countries such as Mexico,Chile,Canada,United Kingdom,Italy,China, as well as guitarists from ten different U.S States entered the Open Division. The youth and senior youth division featured 13 talented young players.


The first prize of the Open Division was shared by two Canadian guitarists, Steven Cowan and Stephen Lochbaum, both winners received a cash prize and a record deal with Spain’s prominent record label EMEC, the recordings of both artists will soon be distributed world wide. The third prize 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: Steven Cowan and Stephen Lochbaum

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

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Youth Division winners and Judges (From left to right): Petar Jankovic, Gwenyth Aggeler, Ian Tubbs, Nolan Harvel, Aytahn Benavi, Laura Lydy, Catherine Elmer and Daniel Duarte.

In parallel to the competitions the event also presented two guest artists, Isaac Bustos from Nicaragua and Rovshan Mamedkuliev from Azerbayan/Russia. Both virtuosos held master classes and outstanding recitals. All events were presented on the campus of Indiana University/ Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Master Class by Isaac Bustos

The 400 seats of Auer Hall were taken by guitar aficionados where Bustos and Mamedkuliev received standing ovations.On Saturday, Bustos performed a eclectic repertoire that translated his musicality and technical precision.

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Isaac Bustos performing at Auer Hall

The atmosphere of Mamedkuliev’s concert was captured by the local media, including Peter Jacobi from the Herald Times who stated that the “audience roared in approval, roared like a hungry soccer crowd”.

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Rovshan Mamedkuliev performing at Auer Hall


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