(from a press release)After an exciting week of classical guitar performances, Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University announced the winner of the fifth quadrennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. The competition, the world's preeminent guitar competition, took place from Tuesday, May 28 through Saturday, June 1, 2019.
Andrea Roberto, 23, 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 US$30,000 Jack Marshall Prize in addition to his medal.
The Silver Medalist, Alec Holcomb, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee, USA received US$12,500; the Bronze Medalist, Sergey Perelekhov, 22, of Russia was awarded US$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.
Other competitors included Javier García Verdugo, 25, Spain; Samuel Hines, 27, Mora, Minnesota, USA; Beiyan Liu, 20, China; Christopher Mrofchak, 27, Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Cody Noriega, 27, Riverside, California, USA; Alex Park, 26, Culver City, California, USA; Miguel Checa Paz, 21, Spain; Marko Topchii, 28, Ukraine; and Tengyue Zhang, 25, China.
All of the competitors 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.
The 15 competitors vied for cash awards that totaled US$60,000. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place winners each received US$1,000. Awards of US$500 were given to each of the remaining nine competitors.
"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. In 2009 Roberto won the David Russell Prize for young talented musicians at the Conservatory of Vigo in Spain, 4th prize in the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition at Pepperdine, and the Joven Promesa Prize at the VIII José Tomás—Villa de Petrer International Guitar Competition. In 2010 he won the Valter Cococcia Prize, which goes to the youngest Italian conservatory student graduating with honors. In 2012, he participated in the Parkening International Guitar Competition. Since then, he has won multiple other awards, including 1st prize at the second International Competition of the Adriatic in Pescara, 1st prize at the fourth Stefano Strata International Competition of Pisa, 1st prize at the International Competition of Twents in the Netherlands, and 1st prize at the José Tomás Villa de Petrer International Guitar Festival in Spain. Roberto also placed 5th in the 2015 Parkening International Guitar Competition.
In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine presented the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition for guitarists ages 17 and younger on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28 and 29. First place went to Eric Wang, 15, San Jose, California, USA; second place to Nikolas Rejto, 17, Australia; third place to Garrett Podgorski, 17, Burbank, California, USA; fourth place to Hui Chan Yun, 16, South Korea; and fifth place to Joseph Malvinni, 11, Santa Barbara, California, USA.
Additional Young Guitarist competitors were Hilbert Chen, 10, Cupertino, California, USA; Maggie Grether, 16, Pasadena, California, USA; Mira Morales, 15, Los Altos, California, USA; Evelyn Nguyen, 16, Monrovia, California, USA; and Darren Wu, 16, San Jose, California, USA.
Cash awards for the Young Guitarist Competition included US$3,000 for the first-place winner and US$750 for each of the other four finalists. Awards of US$500 were given to each of the remaining five competitors.
Judging the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition were music professor Sara Banta, Director of Digital Sales at Naxos USA Mark Forlow, and 2015 Parkening International Guitar Competition Gold Medal Winner Meng Su.