Contenders represent 5 countries, bring new works to Buffalo
After an intense week and a half of review, eight semifinalists have been selected to come to Buffalo and compete in the eighth biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, taking place June 6-9. The semifinalists are:
•Jack Cimo, a seasoned chamber musician and soloist who has run both the Sierra Nevada Guitar Competition and San Francisco Bay Guitar Competition, representing the U.S.
•Bokyung Byun, a multi-competition winner and doctoral candidate at University of Southern California who has been performing publicly since age 11, representing South Korea.
•Igor Klokov, a graduate student at Mainz Hochschule fur Musik/Koblenz and winner of many guitar competitions in Europe, representing Russia.
•Junhong Kuang, a 17 year old who has recorded for Naxos and won top prizes in the ARD Music Competition, representing China.
•Bradly Pupa, a faculty member at California Conservatory of Music and a graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory, representing the U.S.
•Chinnawat Themkumwun, a 37-time prizewinner in Asia and Europe, representing Thailand.
•Congyi Zhang, a graduate student at Mannes School of Music and frequent performer throughout Canada and the U.S., representing China.
•Tengyue "TY" Zhang, the first-prize winner of the 2017 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artists Competition, representing China.
The applicant field was comprised of the top talent around the globe, with strong representation from Europe, Asia and North America. This year, the William and Carol Greiner Award was introduced to provide an incentive for competitors to perform some lesser-heard repertoire. An award of $3,000 is available to anyone advancing to the finals with a concerto from a list provided, with the award to be shared equally if more than one competitor advances with a selected work. As a result of this award, three works will be heard in the semifinals for the first time: Concerto for Guitar by Malcolm Arnold, Concierto Antillano by Ernesto Cordero and Concierto Elegiaco by Leo Brouwer. The Arnold and the Cordero works have never been performed in Buffalo.
On June 6 and 7, the semifinalists will perform with an accompanist at the WNED studios. A limited number of tickets are available for the live audience. The semifinals will be aired on 94.5 Classical FM and on Facebook Live. After the second night of semifinals, the judges will deliberate and select three competitors to advance to the final round. They will perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Falletta, herself an accomplished classical guitarist, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at Kleinhans Music Hall. The judges will select a winner, and the audience and BPO musicians will also choose their favorites.
"This is an unprecedented and most exciting mix of extraordinarily high level applicants," artistic director Michael Andriaccio and Joanne Castellani said in a joint statement. "With the Greiner Award encouraging applicants to try lesser-known works, a deep and varied field of applicants, and a judges' panel that includes many of classical guitar's most esteemed figures, this competition promises to be one for the books."
"I cherish the opportunity to showcase the beautiful sounds of the classical guitar and its up-and-coming talent," said Falletta, BPO music director. "Through this competition, the BPO has probably performed more guitar concertos than any other orchestra. It's a phenomenal experience for our musicians as well as our competitors and audience. I'm looking forward to another great event."
To purchase tickets to the semifinals or finals, visit bpo.org
Founded in 2004 and organized by WNED ǀ WBFO and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, 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, JoAnn Falletta. For more about the competition, visit https://bpo.org/joann-falletta-international-guitar-concerto-competition/.