by Stephanie Powell

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At the triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition in Malibu, California, Meng Su (of the Beijing Guitar Duo, and a winner of the first Parkening Young Guitarist Competition in 2006) won the Gold Medal, the Silver went to Rovshan Mamedkuliev, and the Bronze was awarded to Tengyue Zhang. In the Young Guitarist Competition, Ashwin Krishna came out on top, followed by Xu Kun Liu, and Nolan Harvel.

“Meng Su and Ashwin Krishna are both excellent guitarists, and well-deserved their first-place wins,” Parkening said of the gold medalists, both whom performed with a live orchestra in the final round. “Meng Su has a beautiful sound. She is technically solid and has a wonderful stage presence. Ashwin, although only 17 years old, has an excellent sound, is very competent technically, and quite musically mature for his age. I know that both guitarists are headed for wonderful careers in classical-guitar performance.”

Parkening also noted that the 2015 competition, which added a sixth semi-finalist slot to this year’s format (from its previous of five), had the “strongest pool of applicants” the competition has seen since its inception. The competition stands apart from other classical-guitar competitions, Parkening says, in part, because of its judging panel—it only has one classical guitarist on the panel. “The rest are drawn from all areas of the music industry—concert instrumentalists, record producers, concert managers, conductors, and recording company presidents,” he says. The competition also boasts the largest cash prize of any guitar competition in the world—more than $65,000 in prize money.

For more information on the Parkening International Guitar Competition, click here. To watch a video of Young Guitarist Competition gold medalist Aswin Krishna performing at the 2011 GFA competition, click here.