Parkening International Guitar Competition Announces Its 15 Competitors!

Meng Su was the gold medal winner at the 2015 Parkening International Guitar Competition

The highly prestigious Parkening International Guitar Competition, set to take place May 30–June 1 on the campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, has just released its list of the 15 guitarists who will compete for a gold medal and $30,000 first prize this year. The distinguished list of players, ranging from 19 to 29 years old, no doubt includes some names you are familiar with:

Bokyung Byun, 24, California, USA; Riccardo Calogiuri, 29, Italy; Javier García Verdugo, 25, Spain; Samuel Hines, 27, Minnesota, USA; Alec Holcomb, 23, Indiana, USA; Junhong Kuang, 19, Maryland, USA; Beiyan Liu, 20, China; Christopher Mrofchak, 27, Florida, USA; Cody Noriega, 26, California, USA; Alex Park, 26, California, USA; Miguel Checa Paz, 20, Spain; Sergey Perelekhov, 21, Russia; Andrea Roberto, 23, Italy; Marko Topchii, 28, Ukraine; and Tengyue Zhang, 25, China.

Judging the competition will be 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, professional guitarist and winner of the 2006 Parkening International Guitar Competition.

Three of the competitors will advance to the final round on Saturday, June 1 to perform a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra before a live audience in Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre. The gold, silver, and bronze medalists will be announced at the conclusion of the final round.


In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine will present the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28 and 29. The ten competitors, ages 17 and younger, are Hilbert ChenMaggie GretherJoseph MalvinniMira Morales,Evelyn Nguyen, Garrett Podgorski, Nikolas Rejto, Eric Wang, Darren Wu, and Hui Chan Yun. All are from California except Rejto (Australia) and Yun (South Korea).

 About the Parkening Competition: The PIGC honors the lifetime commitment of guitar virtuoso and Distinguished Professor of Music Christopher Parkening to fostering musical excellence in young artists. The competition, which debuted in 2006 and usually takes place every three years (this marks the first time it has been four years), offers the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition in the world, with competitors vying for cash awards that total in excess of $65,000. The 2019 Parkening Competition is made possible by a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, as well as Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy.

Past winners: 2006: Pablo Villegas (Spain); 2009 Emanuele Buono (Italy); 2012: Petrit Çeku (Kosovo), 2015: Meng Su (China).

For information about purchasing tickets or other matters click here.

Here are videos of three of the talented competitors: