Los Angeles has long been a hotbed of classical guitar activity, but mostly at the university and professional level. Of course, for many years the University of Southern California (USC)’s Thornton School of Music guitar program has been regarded as one of the best in the U.S., but the area is rich with strong programs led by fantastic and well-known teachers at other colleges and universities, as well. But we want to acknowledge (and salute!) a student-oriented L.A. guitar competition which just held its second annual event November 11–12 at Cal State L.A. It’s the only competition of its kind in L.A. proper.

The Gohar & Ovanes Andriassian Classical Guitar Competition is open to students enrolled in high schools, community colleges, universities and music schools. It was started by Cal State L.A. College of Arts and Letters professor Satik Andriassian (herself a fine classical guitarist), and the name of the competition honors her Armenian-descendant immigrant parents, who were great believers in the power of education to transform lives. After what Andriassan calls a “quiet” first year in 2016, this recent event marked a great leap in terms of attendance, participation, and—vital to its ongoing health—support from outside concerns, including the Cal State L.A. Friends of Music, CSU Entertainment Alliance, Yamaha Guitars, D’Addario Strings, La Bella Strings, and nearby Guitar Salon International.

The winners of the Senior competition were Eddie Martinez (1st), Sebastien Quintero (2nd,) and David Holguin and Daniel Monaghan (hon. mention). At the Junior level, Brandon Wong came first, Alyssa Salas second, and honorable mention went to Lance Conrad Marut. Another winner was Gabriel Almazan, who took the prize in the Guitar Ensemble Composition Competition.

Next fall’s competition will surely build on this year’s successes. Details about entering next year’s event will be announced during January 2018. For more info about the past event click here.

Sebastien Quintero took second place in the Senior division

And because we know you love video… here’s a 2016 video of Eddie Martinez in action: