JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition Announces Semi-Finalists

BUFFALO, NY -- Eight semi-finalists have been selected from a global pool of applicants to come to Buffalo on June 8 to compete in the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, co-sponsored by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and WNED | WBFO.

The semi-finalists will perform in the WNED-TV Studios with an accompanist over a period of two nights. The semi-finals are open to the public, and take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 and Thursday, June 9. The judges' panel will select three finalists to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta, on Saturday, June 11 at Kleinhans Music Hall. Those who do not advance will perform throughout the community on Guitar Day on Friday, June 10.

The semi-finalists are Anton Baranov (Russia); Silviu Octavian Ciulei (Romania and the United States); Thomas Csaba (France); Andras Csaki Hungary); Alec Holcomb (United States); Paul Psarras (Greece and the United States); Oscar Somersalo (Finland); and Thomas Viloteau (France).

Baranov teaches at the Saint-Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, from which he is a 2010 graduate. He has won more than 20 guitar competitions around the globe, including the 2013 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, and has recorded for the Naxos and Contrastes labels.

Ciulei recently completed a Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University. He won top prizes at Parkening International Guitar Competition, Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition, Indiana International Guitar Competition, Texas International Guitar Competition and Festival and Schadt String International Competition.

Csaba's first recording, "Another Troy for Her," was released in January 2016. He performs solo and chamber recitals throughout Europe, and as a visual artist, has developed programs that bring together music and the visual arts. He won first prize at the Nagoya and Tokyo International Guitar Competition.

Csaki serves as an Associate Professor at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, the school from which he graduated in 2007. He has given recitals throughout Europe, the United States, South America, Japan and China. He took top honors in the 51st Tokyo International Guitar Competition in 2008 and the Julian Arcas Guitar Competition in Spain in 2011.

Holcomb is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance at the Curtis Institute of Music. He has been featured on the nationally syndicated NPR show "From the Top," and has won first place in the East Carolina Guitar Competition (2014) and the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition (2015).

Psarras earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at San Francisco Conservatory. He has also completed professional studies there, with a focus on early music. In addition to classical guitar, Psarras also plays the oud, a traditional Greek instrument, and is a member of Fotia, a Bay Area-based Greek band.
Somersalo is a graduate of the Sibelius Academy, and is currently pursuing a master's degree from The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He has performed at Tucsia Guitar Festival in Italy and the Chamber Music Festival in Finland, and has been featured with the Panama National Symphony Orchestra and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Viloteau is finishing his doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music. He is the author of a book titled "In the Black Box - Technique(s) of the Classical Guitar," and has recorded for Naxos, Mel Bay and La Ma de Guido. He has placed in numerous international competitions, taking first prize in Segovia Competition, Mottola, Ville d'Antony and Sernancelhe.
"This year's talent pool is extremely exciting," said Michael Andriaccio and Joanne Castellani, the Competition's artistic directors. "The diversity of styles, interests, and backgrounds of our competitors will mean a dynamic round of semi-finals and a vibrant finale with the Buffalo Philharmonic. All of the semi-finalists have expressed their eagerness to come to Buffalo and be a part of this Competition. Buffalo has always embraced this event and made our visitors feel so welcome."

Tickets are $12 for either semi-final round at the WNED-TV studios; and range from $30 to $77 for the finals with the BPO at Kleinhans Music Hall.
Tickets to all events are available at or by calling (716) 885-5000

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