Congratulations to 23-year-old South Korean guitarist Bokyung Byun on her First Place finish in the prestigious JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition, held June 6–9 in Buffalo, New York. She is the first woman to win the competition, and she also was voted the Musician’s Choice award from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs with the finalists. Byun performed Concerto pour Guitare et Petit Orchestra by Heitor Villa-Lobos and “Salseado” from Sonata for Guitar by Roberto Sierra.
Byun has been playing guitar since she was 6, won numerous competitions as a teen, and has pursued her higher education at Juilliard and the University of Southern California, where she is working toward a doctoral degree. As the victor in the Faletta competition, Byun received $10,000, will play a solo concert in Milan, Italy, and retrurn to play again with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Tengyue Zhang of China (last year’s GFA winner) won second place and was voted Audience Favorite, while third place went to China’s Congyi Zhang, who alo won the inaugural William and Carol Greiner Award—encouraging the performance of lesser-known works—for his performance of Ernesto Cordero’s Concierto Antillano.