Prizes and Passion: A Report from the 8th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition

Fabio Zanon at Auer Hall. Photo: Julian Morris

The 8th Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition was held in Bloomington, Indiana, on October 27–28, 2017, and was again a great success. The three divisions of the competition featured a total of 49 competitors—33 contestants from countries outside the U.S. including Canada, China, Vietnam, Slovakia, Belgium, France, Serbia, Poland, Mexico, Chile, Cuba, Brazil, and Colombia; as well as guitarists from 15 different American states (plus Puerto Rico). The youth and senior youth division featured 15 talented young players.

The first prize of the Open Division went to Steven Lerman, while the second, third and fourth prizes went respectively to Henry Johnston, Austin Wahl and Agustin Rosado. All prize winners received cash awards.

Open division winners, judges and event organizers (from left to right): Daniel Duarte, Petar
Jankovic, Steven Lerman (1st prize), Henry Johnston (2nd prize), Austin Wahl (3rd prize),
Agustin Rosado (4th prize), Luke Gillespie, Ernesto Bitetti, Elzbieta Szmyt, Elizabeth Wright,
and Atanas Tzvetkov. Photo: Julian Morris
Open Division winner Steven Lerman of California. Photo: Michelle Moss

The Youth Division featured guitarists between the ages of 14 and 18. The first prize went to Nolan Harvel, second to Brandon Walker, third to Liam Hendrick, and fourth to Nikola Dimitrijevic. In the Junior Youth Division, the winner was Jack Davisson, with the second prize going to Penelope Shvarts, third to Ian Tubbs, and fourth to Elle Davisson.


Youth Division winners and judges (left to right): Milena Petkovic, Marcos Lucas,
Brandon Walker, Nikola Dimitrijevic, Nolan Harvel, Carlo Fierens. Photo: Julian Morris
Junior Youth Division winners and judges (left to right): Marcos Lucas, Jack Davisson (1st prize), Elle Davisson (4th prize), Milena Petkovic, Ian Tubbs (3rd prize),Penelope Shvarts (2nd prize), Carlo Fierens.

The 400 seats of Auer Hall at Indiana University were filled by guitar aficionados of all ages for a pair of outstanding concerts featuring Cuban player Iliana Matos and Brazilian Fabio Zanon; both earned well-deserved standing ovations. On Saturday, Matos presented an imaginative selection of pieces from such composers as Carlo Domeniconi, Eduardo Martin, Sérgio Assad, and Agustín Barrios (to name a few), all of them interpreted with tremendous musicality and passion. And Zanon’s Sunday concert was marked by his virtuosity and poetic sense of style, in a program that ranged from Bach to Manuel Ponce to Marco Pereira. It was a wonderful way to close the two-day festival!

Iliana Matos performing at Auer Hall. Both she and Fabio Zanon also gave master classes during the festival. Photo: Julian Morris

This not from the festival, but here’s a lovely video of Iliana Matos playing Mirándote, by Eduardo Martin: