Convention Day 1

GFA 2017 International Convention & Competition is underway, which means something different to us all whether you are a vendor, competitor, enthusiast, volunteer, staff member, or attendee of this year’s Guitar Summit. But what we will all enjoy this weekend is inspiration and community. Inspiration to further artistry, education, and research. The first day was not jam packed with events, but it was filled an overwhelming sense of community. Friends new and old connecting with each other. This spirit is the motor behind GFA’s activities and created a welcoming atmosphere that was sight to behold.


The Guitar Summit encapsulates this GFA experience and allows the young attendees to create lasting memories. The chance to bond with other guitarists, perform for GFA, experience the convention, and connect with world class artists. We are happy to provide quality to the youth this year with the innaugural Guitar Summit.

Guitar Summit 2017 is treated to a special Q&A  with Andrew York



Summit attendees also got to hear a special chamber recital from Crazy Nails! (Gaëlle Solal and Boris Gaquere)

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Xavier Jara played the opening concert of GFA 2017 in the Little Theatre. Notably, he performed music by John Dowland, Dusan Bogdanovic, Jeremy Collins, and Frank Martin. These pieces not only highlighted Xavier’s sensitive phrasing, but also a few lesser known pieces. He drew the audience into his domain with his lines. The audience grew to pay attention to each every successive detail. The combination of atmospheric moods and beautiful melodies started this week off perfectly.


Convention Day 6

The last day of the convention was packed with excitement! Judicaël Perroy led the morning technique workshop as José Manuel González lectured on the Guitar in a Spanish Civil War. This was followed by a lecture by  Robert Ruck and the IYC Finals.

The afternoon concert began with Alex Dunn conducting the Guitar Orchestra in a performance of Villa-Lobos’ arrangement of Bach’s Prelude no.22 and Fugue no.8. Duo Cancionâncias  (Cyro Delvizio on guitar and soprano Manuelai Camargo) then took the stage and performed a program dedicated mainly to the diffusion of Brazilian concert music.

Before the 4pm Concert, the International Youth Competition results were announced. Junior Division

1st Place: Tiange Wang (China)

2nd Place: Aytahn Benavi (USA)

3rd Place: Jack Davisson (USA)

4th Place: Ryan Chen (USA)


Senior Division

1st Place: Kevin Loh (Singapore)

2nd Place: Xu Kun Liu (Canada)

3rd Place: Zhangxiang Shi (China)

4th Place: Michael Vascones (USA)

The day continued with a concert by the Montenegrin Duo (Goran Krivokapic and Danijel Cerović) featuring Bach, Gerard Drozd, de Falla, and Piazzolla.

The finals for the International Concert Artist Competition were absolutely incredible. Each had their own unique take on the set piece by Stephen Goss, a multi movement piece where it is up to the performer to choose the order. The finalists, in order of performance, were Andrea De Vitis (Italy), Pavel Kulhta (Belarus), Xavier Jara (USA), and Celil Refik Kaya (Turkey). The jurors were Ricardo Iznaola, Goran Krivokapic, Michael Partington, Raphaella Smits, Marc Teicholz, Jason Vieauz, and Fabio Zanon.

As the judges deliberated the evening Awards Ceremony began. This year the GFA was pleased to honor Robert Ruck with the Industry Leadership Award. This award honors entrepreneurs, artisans, and businesses who have made significant or visionary contributions to the advancement of the classical guitar and its community.

Before receiving his Artistic Achievement Award, Ricardo Iznaola was introduced by his former student Jonathan Leathwood. The Artistic Achievement Award is reserved for performers, composers, pedagogues, and scholars who have made monumental contributions of the development of the art and life of the classical guitar.

After the Hall of Fame Inductees had been honored, GFA President Martha Masters took the stage to announce the results of the International Concert Artist Competition.The Rose Augustine Grand Prize went to Xavier Jara (United States), in 2nd Place was Andrea De Vitis (Italy), in 3rd Place was Pavel Kukhta (Belarus), and in 4th Place Celil Refik Kaya (Turkey). The evening concluded with a reception hosted by the Denver Guitar Societies. After an incredible week of music and festivities we are looking forward to next year’s GFA 2017 in Fullerton California!


Convention Day 5

The fifth day of the convention started off with a lecture by Jonathan Leathwood on Improvisations, Structures and Schemata: Toward Virtuosity in Performance and Cognition. Other lectures included Kevin Garry’s Music for String Quartet from the Late Modern Era, Ari Van Vliet’s The Life of Napoléon Coste: the Revelation of a Great Romantic Composer and Guitarist, and Ron Borczon’s presentation on Performance Anxiety. The Luthier Showcase, in which two players play a variety of different unnamed guitars so the audience can compare the sounds of the instrument,  took place throughout the morning and early afternoon.IMG_1927

The Finalists for the International Youth Competition were announced in the afternoon, in the Senior division Kevin Loh, Michael Vascones, Xu Kun Liu, and Zhanxiang Shi, and in the Junior division Tiange Wang, Aytahn Benavi, Jack Davisson, and Ryan Chen.

The first concert of the day was shared by Izhar Elias and Miuchael Nicolella,Judicaël Perroy performed an inspiring and monumental program for the 4pm Concert, including extended works by Bach, Sor, Ponce, and Dubez. Finally, in the evening Benjamin Verdery performed a concert largely consisting of his own works with a variety of special guests, from other guitarists to beat boxers!

The results of the 2016 GFA International Concert Artist Competition have been announced.

Rose Augustine Grand Prize: Xavier Jara (United States)

2nd Place: Andrea De Vitis (Italy)

3rd Place: Pavel Kukhta (Belarus)

4th Place: Celil Refik Kaya (Turkey)

Congratulations to our competitors!

The 2016 GFA International Youth Competition Results have been announced.

Senior Division

1st Place: Kevin Loh (Singapore)

2nd Place: Xu Kun Liu (Canada)

3rd Place: Zhangxiang Shi (China)

4th Place: Michael Vascones (USA)


Junior Division

1st Place: Tiange Wang (China)

2nd Place: Aytahn Benavi (USA)

3rd Place: Jack Davisson (USA)

4th Place: Ryan Chen (USA)


Congratulations to all the competitors!


IYC Finalists

Congratulations to the IYC  finalists!

Senior: Kevin Loh, Michael Vascones, Xu Kun Liu, Zhanxiang Shi

Junior division in order of performance: Tiange Wang, Aytahn Benavi, Jack Davisson, Ryan Chen

Convention Day 4

The fourth day of the convention began with a technique workshop by Marco Sator and a lecture with Aaron Larget-Caplan entitled Commissioning New Composition Projects. The IYC meeting and Youth Social brought the young guitarists at the convention together.The GFA Research Round Table, covering topics from The Romero Family Archive, the Soundboard Index project, and updates on the Digital Guitar Archive and DGA Editions. The discussion was moderated by Thomas Heck. The ICAC Semi-Finals began at  11am and continued throughout the afternoon.


In the afternoon Benjamin Verdery held a  Masterclass. Aleksandr Tsiboulski played a program featuring Bach, Dozza, Ponce, Sculthorpe, and Albéniz. The evening concert for the fourth day of the convention was Duo Melis. Their program consisted of De Falla, Antoine de Lhoyer, Scarlatti, Granados, Piazzola, and additionally a new piece dedicated to the duo by Miguel A. Roig-Francoli. The piece, entitled Sonata for two guitars, was premiered at the concert with the composer present.

During the intermission of the concert GFA’s President Martha Masters announced the ICAC Finalists. They will perform on Friday! IMG_1925