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January 20, 2016 "Competitions"
You can hear this edition online at anytime, from anywhere in the world, right here, right now!:

This week's edition of Classical Guitar Alive! delves into the exciting and controversial world of music performance competitions, and features succinct interviews with several leading guitar competition winners: Denis Azabagic, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, and Jason Vieaux, and international music competition judges: Dr. Kathryn Evans, and Professor Enric Madriguera.

Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic is perhaps the world's most experienced guitar competition winner, having won almost every major international guitar competition. In this interview recorded in early 2002, Azabagic stresses that while competitions were very good to him, competitions can be also be devastating to worthy musicians who never seem to win. He performs a perennial competition repertoire favorite, "La Catedral" by Agustin Barrios (1885-1944).

What do judges in music competitions look for in winners? Two judges who serve on the juries of international guitar competitions in Europe and the United States answer this question: Dr. Kathryn Evans, Associate Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Humanities, and Professor Enric Madriguera of the University of Texas at Dallas of the School of Fine Arts and Humanities.

The program continues with baroque chamber music performed by three frequent competition winners: Cellist Liwei Qin, and Hungarian twin brothers Peter & Zoltan Katona. They perform their arrangement of Handel's Trio Sonata, op. 2, no. 5.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet member and solo guitarist/three-time international competition winner William Kanengiser describes competitions as a necessary evil, but at best are sloppy predictors of performers' future success. He performs his arrangement of a Bartok piano Sonatina "Three Transylvanian Dances".

Is a competition win a prerequisite to a successful performing career? The world's foremost classical guitarist, John Williams, has not won a single guitar competition! He performs Castelnuovo-Tedesco's (1895-1968) Guitar Concerto No. 1 in D with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Groves.

Like his fellow LA Guitar Quartet member, Scott Tennant is also a three-time competition winner who also has mixed feelings about competitions. Tennant describes his positive competition experiences in developing performance skills and goal-setting, but also warns of the dangers of becoming a "professional competition player." Tennant performs Rodrigo's "Que Buen Caminito".

The Guitar Foundation of America presents the leading guitar competition in the United States. In addition to a cash prize, the GFA awards a 50+ date concert tour. In 1992, 19-year-old Jason Vieaux became the youngest winner of the GFA competition. He relates the story about how claimed victory despite breaking a string onstage during the finals of the competition. The program concludes with his performance of Jorge Morel's arrangement of Fernando Bustamante's "Misionera".

Program ID# 16-038
Title: Music Competitions/Interviews: Azabagic, Evans/Madriguera, Kanengiser, Tennant, Vieaux
Total length: 58:57

In Cue: MUSIC IN "Hello and welcome to.."
Out Cue: MUSIC IN "...another edition of Classical Guitar Alive!"
Program Length: 58:57


Bizet: Carmen Suite: Prelude
Los Romeros (Philips 412-609)


Interview: Azabagic:
"I think everybody has a different feeling on them. The way I look back at it, I'm very grateful they exist... ....It's a trade-off; for me, it was great."

Barrios: La Catedral
Denis Azabagic, guitar
(Naxos 554-555)

Interview: Evans/Madriguera:
"There's more to making music than just the music. And in fact, if you wanted to do a competition where people were behind some kind of screen, I think you'd miss a very large, important part of the process, which is how the performer connects with the audience...'re also looking for that person that makes the compelling performance. Not only the technical performance, but the performance that has that artistic quality- with the technique."

Handel: Trio Sonata, op.2, no. 5
Liwei Qin, cello
Peter & Zoltan Katona, guitars
(Channel Classics 14298)

Interview: Kanengiser:
"Competitions, in some ways are a necessary evil. My teacher, Pepe Romero, he's very much against the whole concept of competitions... ...Would I pay money to see this person? For me, that's the bottom line. If I would go out of my way, get in my car, take away a night away from my family, pay money because I really want to see what this person does with the instrument, then they should win."

Bartok: Sonatina
William Kanengiser, guitar
(GSP 1006)

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Guitar Concerto No. 1
John Williams, guitar
English Chamber Orch.
Sir Charles Groves, cond.
(CBS 44791)

Interview: Tennant:
"They can be great and they can be bad, and I'll tell you: It was good for me because it gave me something to do, a goal to set...'s really easy to become addicted, a professional competition player, and then you're too old."

Rodrigo: Que Buen Caminito
Scott Tennant, guitar
(GHA 126-044)

Interview: Vieaux:
"I was the third of the four finalists to play... ...that's good sportsmanship on the part of Andrew Zohn, your fellow competitor. Absolutely! Yes, I'm indebted to him."

Bustamante: Misionera
Jason Vieaux, guitar
(Naxos 553-449)


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