by Blair Jackson
Carnegie Hall in New York City is still arguably the most famous concert venue in the U.S., so it is always an honor and a thrill for any artist who gets to play there. Two of the classical guitar world’s bright lights—one well-established, the other an extremely promising (relative) newcomer—will grace Carnegie’s intimate Weill Recital Hall stage on April 30 for a show in the D’Addario Foundation’s Performance Series.
Although adept at interpreting composers of many different eras and styles, Croatian guitarist Zoran Dukic is perhaps best known as a specialist in Spanish and South American music. Indeed, he is the lone guitarist to have won Andrés Segovia competitions in both Granada and Palma de Mallorca, and he earned victories in competitions based around the music of such Spanish-music giants as Fernando Sor, Manuel Ponce, Francisco Tárrega and Manuel de Falla. But his repertoire is eclectic and inclusive, certainly not limited to past masters.
Marko Topchii, from Ukraine, is part of the Carnegie bill thanks to his victory at the prestigious 2013 Falletta International Competition. Just 24 years old, Topchii has won more than 50 awards in international competitions spread around the globe since 2007. That’s what can happen when you start studying guitar at the age of four! Winning the Falletta competition also earned him a spot at the Incontri Musicali in Milan, Italy, and a recording contract with Fleur De Son Classics (distributed in the U.S. by Naxos). So he’s definitely a guitarist to look for!
The D’Addario Foundation—philanthropic offshoot of the noted string-making company—got its start in 1981, two years after the start of the company’s Debuts and Premieres Series, which was a showcase for young international guitarists. That concert series ended in 1993, but the foundation’s commitment to funding not-for-profit music education programs, particularly in underserved areas, did not; in fact it increased year-by-year. By 2011, as the foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary, they re-launched their Performance Series at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, still with an eye towards presenting top younger talent. Many of the musicians who perform at the Carnegie concerts have also made time to visit various New York City school music programs, hopefully inspiring the next generation of guitarists who hope to one day play at Carnegie, too.