San Francisco Conservatory of Music to Host Biasini Guitar Competition and Festival in January

By: Nov. 24, 2015
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The San Francisco Conservatory of Music will host the Third International Maurizio Biasini Guitar Competition and Festival, an event celebrating the tradition and proclaiming the future of classical guitar, from January 14 to 17, 2016. Previously held in Bologna, Italy, and Basel, Switzerland, the biennial competition marks its first visit to the United States with a new concert festival featuring extraordinary talent, classic repertoire, and world premieres. Artists include 2013 Biasini winner Emanuele Buono, members of the competition jury, and the Conservatory's own acclaimed guitar faculty, alumni, and students. At the heart of the proceedings, fifteen exceptional young guitarists from around the world compete for a $12,000 prize and invitations to perform throughout Europe. SFCM presents the event in partnership with the Concorso Chitarristico Internazionale Maurizio Biasini Association (cciMB) and the OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts, with support from the Harris Guitar Foundation. Concerts and competition finals are $30 and festival passes are $100. Semi-final rounds are free. Tickets may be purchased at All events are held at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.

Named in memory of Maurizio Biasini, a passionate guitarist and noted physicist who held research appointments in Bologna and San Francisco, the Maurizio Biasini International Guitar Competition was organized by cciMB President Nadia Guth Biasini to promote the careers of talented young guitarists. Players selected by an international jury compete in semi-final rounds on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16. Three will advance to the final round held on Sunday, January 17 at 2 p.m. They will be judged on their interpretations of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, performed with an orchestra of Conservatory alumni led by faculty member Nicole Paiement, and a specially commissioned solo work by renowned guitarist and faculty member Sérgio Assad.

The music festival associated with the competition opens on Thursday, January 14 at 8 p.m. with brand new works for guitar by two noted composers. Guitar Concerto O Saci-Perer?, a world premiere by Clarice Assad, features soloist and SFCM faculty member Marc Teicholz and the Conservatory New Music Ensemble conducted by Nicole Paiement. Festival Artistic Director and SFCM Guitar Department Chair David Tanenbaum conducts the Conservatory Guitar Ensemble in the world premiere of Nazcan by acclaimed Chilean composer Javier Farías. And Cristóbal Selame '17, winner of SFCM's 2015 guitar concerto competition, is the featured soloist in Mauro Giuliani's Guitar Concerto No. 1 in A Major, a landmark work from 1808 that helped establish the guitar as an instrument worthy of the concert stage.

On Saturday, January 15 at 8 p.m., Emanuele Buono celebrates his victory at the 2013 Biasini competition by performing a solo recital in SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. A first prize winner of several other prestigious competitions including the Parkening, Fernando Sor, Augustin Barrios, and Michele Pittaluga competitions, Buono has been invited to perform in the world's major concert halls including Vienna's Konzerthaus, St. Petersburg's Hermitage Theatre, and New York's Carnegie Hall. A third concert will showcase the Biasini competition's panel of distinguished jurors, all pre-eminent performing artists and master teachers, on Saturday, January 16 at 8 p.m. Gérard Abiton, Marco Vinicio Carnicelli, Stephan Schmidt, Walter Zanetti, and SFCM's David Tanenbaum present music by Swiss and Italian composers. The jury also includes Alberto Martelli.

Guitar aficionados are invited to attend a free demonstration of the Harris Guitar Collection, an assemblage of rare and historic guitars housed at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and made available to students for study, performance, and recording. L. John Harris, founder of the Harris Guitar Foundation, will lead a discussion tracing almost 200 years of the guitar's evolution and examining several instruments made by the great classical guitar makers of the 19th and 20th centuries. The event takes place Saturday, January 16 at 4 p.m.

Festival Artistic Director Tanenbaum says the event will showcase tradition as well as innovation in classical guitar. "Festivalgoers can hear a wide variety of repertoire that ranges from the first major guitar concerto (Giuliani) to the most famous guitar concerto (Rodrigo) to a brand new guitar concerto (Assad). Three other world premieres will be heard along the way, and at the center of it all 15 young guitarists will compete for a major prize that will help launch someone's career."

A complete schedule of concerts and events at the Third International Maurizio Biasini Guitar Competition can be found at Semi-final rounds of the competition and the Harris Guitar Collection demonstration are free and open to the public. Tickets to all festival concerts and the final round of competition and awards ceremony are $30. Festival passes are available for $100. Tickets may be purchased at All events are held at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.


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