This year between the 19th and 23rd of November, we attended 29th Annual Andrés Segovia International Classical Guitar Competition, the fourth one that I have personally been to.
The final on Saturday was between Marcos Victora-Wagner from Brazil and Angélica Rodriguez (Paraguay). The final piece was a beautiful concerto - Concerto en la menor Op.72 - Salvador Bacarisse, played with both contestants accompanied by the Granada University Orchestra, who were excellent.
Angelica played well in the final but the worthy first prize winner was Marcos Victora-Wagner from Brazil. His performances were consistent throughout the three rounds and his programme included Sonata, Op.61 - Joaquin Turina, El Jardin de Lindaraja - Eduardo Morales-Caso, Tiento - Mauricio Ohana, Etude 10 - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Fantasia "La Traviata" - Julian Arca, El Yelmo de Mambrino - Fernando Fiszbein, Sonata Op.47 - Alberto Ginastera. Angelica did not go away empty handed as she won the prize for the best interpretation of the work "El Yelmo de Mambrino" by Fernando Fiszbein.
I look forward to next years 30th Anniversary competition and trust that there will be significantly more players available to contest the top spot. After all, first prize is an excellent €9000 and a hand built classical guitar by one of Granada leading makers!
The Most Prestigious Classical Guitar Event of the Year?
I have to say that I was really disappointed that only three guitarists turned up to compete this year! Perhaps this was because there were two other international classical guitar competitions on during the same period (Moscow and Linares - Andrés Segovia's birthplace)? However, I rather think that the challenge for this prestigious event is to make it more user friendly for the players and listening public alike.
The set pieces are always difficult, technical and atonal and therefore unlikely to be repeated once learned by a player for this competition. In addition, it was difficult to sit through the same atonal piece(s) 3 times during an evening. The committee really needs to look at itself and the wider classical guitar competition market and ask what this competition needs to keep it's prestigious status over the next five to ten years and then commit to a fresh new and exciting re-launch.