BUFFALO, NY – Nine top guitarists representing eight nations have been chosen to participate in the fourth biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, set for June 1-4 at Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall. The public is invited to meet these gifted artists and enjoy their performances, both in competition and at free “Guitar Days” community events (see fallettacompetition.org).
- Benjamin Beirs, USA (Baltimore, Maryland)
- Artyom Dervoed, Russia
- JeanFrançois Desrosby, Canada (Montreal)
- Mark Edwards, USA (Baltimore, Maryland)
- Ekachai Jearakul, Thailand
- Samuel T. Klemke, Germany
- Edel Muñoz, Cuba
- Nemanja Ostojić, Serbia
- Thomas Viloteau, France
Founded in 2004 and organized by WNED and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), the competition is one of the foremost musical events in the world and the first concerto competition for classical guitarists. It is named in honor of the BPO’s music director.
Competition performances occur over three nights, all at 7:30 pm. Semifinalists perform solo on either June 1 or 2 (tickets cost $12 per night). The semifinals will be broadcast live on WNED Classical 94.5/HD1 radio and online at wned.org.
On June 4, the top three contestants perform with the BPO, conducted by JoAnn Falletta (tickets cost $37-$70 -- student and senior discounts are available; advance discounts are available through April 30).
“I am proud to be part of an event that helps to identify and encourage talented young classical guitarists and help them on their musical journeys,” said Falletta, who is a renowned classical guitarist herself.
Acclaimed by The New York Times as “...one of the finest conductors of her generation,” JoAnn Falletta is the Music Director of the BPO and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and artistic advisor to the Honolulu Symphony.
“Once again, WNED and the BPO are making plans to welcome distinguished musicians from around the globe,” said Donald K. Boswell, WNED President and CEO. “Area audiences will experience remarkable performances by highly talented and dedicated guitarists.”
As a group, 2010’s Top 9 semifinalists have already distinguished themselves on the international classical music scene. They’ve won top prizes in competitions around the world and are alumni and/or students at some of the most renowned schools of music. (See attached biographies.)
The contestants vie for a prize package that includes cash; broadcast exposure; a concert guitar; and a concert tour, including a return engagement with the BPO and appearances with the Virginia Symphony, at the Round Top Music Festival in Texas and other venues.
Audience and orchestra members will select the winners of the Audience Favorite Award and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians Choice Award, respectively, during the June 4 finals.
Buffalo-based Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio, a well known international chamber ensemble duo, are the Competition’s artistic directors. Along with David Dusman, a classically trained musician and founder/president of Dusman Audio, Inc., the duo selected the top nine semifinalists, from a field representing eighteen nations.
In addition to Castellani and Andriaccio, the live competitions will be judged by Michael Colina, New York-based Grammy® winning jazz composer; Micaela Pittaluga, founder of the Alessandria International Guitar Competition and president of the Pittaluga Competition; Ernesto Bitetti, a classical guitarist who has performed with orchestras worldwide; Ernesto Cordero, a composer and guitarist whose Caribbean-influenced music is performed and recorded worldwide; and Laura Oltman, a guitarist acclaimed for her recital and chamber music performances. (See attached judges’ bios.)
BPO Executive Director Daniel Hart said that having eminent music professionals and educators as judges “greatly enhances the world class status of this competition.”
For more information about the 2010 Falletta Competition, contact Wendy Diina, Managing Director, at 716-845-7000, ext. 346, or visit www.fallettacompetition.org. Tickets are available by visiting the Web site or calling the BPO Box Office at (716) 885-5000.
The 2010 Falletta Competition is presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. It is also sponsored, in part, by: Noco, Bob Morris, T.G. DeZastro MD, Fichte Endl and Elmer Eyecare, Niagara Lutheran Health System, Alesco Advisors, Ward Family Foundation, Buffalo Spree Magazine, Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau, Child and Family Services, Kaz Brothers, Buffalo Optical, Park Creek Senior Living Community, Robertson and Bach Fine Jewelry, OTB, Batavia Downs Casino, Dunn Tire, Ecology and Environment, Inc. and ECVA Eyecare.
Additional support is provided by GSP San Francisco, Adam’s Mark hotel, Prospero Restaurant, Wegmans, the Anchor Bar, Savarez, Editions Orphée, Fleur du Son Classics, Alhambra Guitars, Pearl Street Grill and Brewery and the newly launched patron program, the Friends of Falletta.
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970 The Information Station, the member-supported WNED Buffalo/Toronto provides high quality programming and services that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate our communities.
Celebrating its 75th year, the Grammy® winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an internationally recognized symphony of the highest artistic caliber and an indispensable part of the Western New York community’s quality of life.
-2010 Judges and Competitors bios follow-
2010 JUDGES’ BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio
Regarded as one of the world’s elite chamber ensembles, the internationally renowned Duo has performed on five continents and at the White House. They also served as artistic envoys of the U.S. State Department. Their CDs, Danzas and More and Two Guitar Concerti with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, were recently named Best of the Year by American Record Guide and Fanfare Magazine. They are founders and owners of Fleur de Son Classics, Ltd., an acclaimed record label specializing in chamber music. Joanne Castellani is on the Music Faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Castellani Andriaccio Studios, and both performers are Artists-in-Residence at the Chautauqua Institution.
New York-based composer Michael Colina is equally at home in the classical and jazz worlds. As a multiple Grammy® winning jazz composer and producer, he has worked with notable musicians (including David Sanborn, George Benson and James Taylor). His recent projects draw from his jazz, classical and Cuban-American heritage. Examples include The Isles of Shoals, a solo for flute and orchestra; The Idoru Piano Trio for piano, violin and cello; The People, an orchestral work for Richard Kuch commissioned by the Boston Ballet; and a modern dance score, A Time of Crickets, commissioned by Pauline Koner and supported by The National Endowment for the Arts.
Daughter of Michele Pittaluga, the Founder of the Alessandria International Guitar Competition, Micaela Pittaluga is the president of the Pittaluga Competition and has been the head of the Organizing Committee since 1995. She studied performing arts, music and architecture (Laureate of the University of Florence) and, from 2003 to 2008, was president of the Board of Directors of Alessandria’s Vivaldi Conservatory of Music. Currently, she officially represents the Alessandria Competition at the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
This classical guitarist has performed with orchestras worldwide, including numerous chamber and/or symphony orchestras in Europe, Israel and Buenos Aires. Bitetti received Spanish National Awards records from 1979 to 1985. He was a member of the Composers Society of Argentina and Spain from 1976 to 1988. He has performed world premieres of works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Joaquin Rodrigo, Tomas Marco and Anton Garcia Abril. Bitetti has recorded on the EMI International and Deutsche Grammophon labels.
Composer/guitarist Ernesto Cordero (born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico) has composed a large, rich catalogue distinguished by its Caribbean flavor. He has written eight concertos (four for guitar, two for violin, one for flute-piccolo and one for the Puerto Rican cuatro); chamber works in which the guitar appears in diverse ensembles; and numerous guitar solos, some of which have become standards. He has received important awards for composition and his music is performed and recorded worldwide by notable artists.
Guitarist Laura Oltman has received acclaim for her recital and chamber music performances throughout the world. The New York Times described her debut performance at Carnegie Recital Hall as “remarkably successful—sensitive, well proportioned, and large on lyrical feeling.” She is co-founding director of Raritan River Music and the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes.
-Bios of 2010 Competitors follow-
2010 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition -- Semifinalists--Bios
Benjamin Beirs, USA (Baltimore, Maryland)
This versatile musician from Baltimore trained as a classical guitarist at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He often performs internationally as the American half of the classical guitar Duo Transatlantique as well as in community outreach settings. (Beirs is returning to Buffalo after winning 3rd prize in the 2008 Falletta Competition.)
Artyom Dervoed, Russia
Dubbed “Tsar of the guitar” by a French guitar publication, this Russian guitarist performed throughout Italy, including with the Roma Philharmonic. In 2007, he was recognized as the best up-and-coming guitarist at the International Guitar Convention in Alessandria.
JeanFrançois Desrosby, Canada (Montreal)
This Montreal guitarist is known for his colorful, energetic style and has performed throughout North America and Europe. He works with diverse composers and is completing a book on guitar technique as part of his doctoral program at Montreal University.
Mark Edwards, USA (Baltimore, Maryland)
This Peabody-trained classical musician has been performing concerts for more than a decade, since he was just 14. The multiple top prize winner has performed internationally and is featured on six recordings, many highlighting new music.
Ekachai Jearakul, Thailand
This classical guitarist has performed solo concerts in his homeland of Thailand and around the world. He won 1st prize at this year’s international guitar competition in Culiacan, Mexico, in addition to more than a dozen awards in global competitions.
Samuel T. Klemke, Germany
This versatile guitarist from Germany won 25 prizes in music competitions around the world, including special honors for the interpretation of 20th century music. He has premiered several new pieces by young composers, and often performs as a duo with his sister, Laura Klemke. (In 2004, Samuel Klemke was a semifinalist in the inaugural Falletta competition.)
Edel Muñoz, Cuba
A native of Cuba, this international concert artist studied in Argentina, Chile and Spain. He has performed in his homeland and throughout Central and South America as well as in Europe, and has won numerous prizes in international competition.
When the legendary John Williams had to withdraw from a performance with the Athens (Greece) Chamber Orchestra, Nemanja Ostojić was honored to be his substitute, performing under the baton of Maestro Leo Brouwer. During that event -- the 5th Guitar Art Festival in Ostojić’s hometown of Belgrade, Serbia -- he performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.
Ostojić has performed highly acclaimed recitals in Europe, Asia and North America. He has appeared as soloist with the Allentown Symphony, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic, and the Saint George Strings, performing with conductors Petar Ivanovic, Dianne Wittry and Bujor Hoinic.
Ostojić was graduated from Music High School Kosta Manojlovic in the class of Bosko Radojkovic. He received his bachelor’s degree in music from the Belgrade Academy of Music, studying with Srdjan Tosic. He is now completing a Doctor of Musical Arts at Indiana University, Bloomington, under the guidance of Ernesto Bitetti.
Ostojić has earned gold medals in 15 major international guitar competitions, including: Niccolo Paganini (Parma, Italy); Volos Guitar Festival (Greece); Guitar Competition Anna Amalia (Weimer, Germany); Seventh Annual Texas Guitar Competition (Dallas); 2008 Schadt String Competition (Allentown, Penn.); and the Southwest International Guitar Competition (San Antonio, Texas).
Thomas Viloteau, France
As the winner of the 2006 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, this 24-year-old French guitarist performed a North American concert tour. The multiple prize winner has also performed in Europe and Taiwan, and studied in Paris, Barcelona and San Francisco.