After an exciting week of classical guitar performances, Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, announced the winner of the fifth quadrennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. The competition took place from Tuesday, May 28 through Saturday, June 1, 2019.
Andrea Roberto, 23, of Italy,took the Gold Medal with his rich interpretation of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Concerto No. 1 in D Major at Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre during the sold-out final round on Saturday, June 1. He received the $30,000 Jack Marshall Prize, in addition to his medal.
The Silver Medalist, Alec Holcomb, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee (USA) received $12,500; the Bronze Medalist, Sergey Perelekhov, 22, of Russia, was awarded $7,500.
The three finalists, each of whom performed a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra under the baton of conductor Michael Stanley, were selected from a pool of 15 standout competitors from seven different countries. After a deliberation following the final performance, the winner was announced.
The three, along with Bokyung Byun, 24, of South Korea (fourth place); Junhong Kuang, 19, of China (fifth place); and Riccardo Calogiuri, 29, of Italy (sixth place), competed in the semifinal round on Friday, May 31.
All of those competitors, plus nine more, performed on the first full day of the competition (Thursday, May 30); six semifinalists were then selected to proceed to the second day. The competitors performed required and free-choice pieces and were judged on musicianship, tone, technique, and stage presence.
The distinguished panel of five judges, representing different areas of the music world, were Mia Bongiovanni, Assistant General Manager of Media and Presentations for the Metropolitan Opera; Charlotte Lee, President and Founder of Primo Artists; Steve Schoen, former Vice-President of Sony Music Masterworks and Sony/BMG; David Thomas, recording producer; and Pablo Sáinz Villegas, classical guitar virtuoso and winner of the 2006 Parkening International Guitar Competition.
“It has been a true inspiration to see the extraordinary level of talent of all who have performed in the competition. We can say with confidence that the future of classical music is bright,” said Jury Chair Charlotte Lee, at the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 1. “We’d like to acknowledge each and every competitor for what you have sacrificed to participate in this competition. You have given your commitment, your discipline, your time, dedication, and your heart; this journey has made you a better musician and a better person.”
Andrea Roberto was born in Italy, and began studying guitar at age 4. At 9 years old, he was admitted to the U. Giordano Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of guitarist Sandro Torlontano and attained his bachelor’s degree with honors at the age of 14. Roberto continued his studies with Aniello Desiderio at the Koblenz International Guitar Academy in Germany, and he completed them at the Conservatorium of Music of Maastricht in the Netherlands under the mentorship of Carlo Marchione. He has received a variety of international awards, including a previous 4th prize in the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition.
And speaking of that competition for guitarists ages 17 and younger, in this year’s edition, held May 28 and 29, first place went to Eric Wang, 15 (USA); second place to Nikolas Rejto, 17, (Australia); third place to Garrett Podgorski, 17 (USA); fourth place to Hui Chan Yun, 16, (South Korea); and fifth place to Joseph Malvinni, 11, (USA).
(We’ll have an eyewitness report from the competition in our next issue of Classical Guitar.)