BUFFALO, NY – With less than six months before the Competition, the judges’ panel for the 2018 Competition has been announced.
Francisco Bernier is also a top classical guitarist, having performed in more than 35 countries and winning more than 20 prizes at guitar competitions. He has recorded seven discs, and is a member of the Zahir Ensemble in addition to his vibrant solo career. He currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville. He is the Artistic Director of the Seville Guitar Festival and General Director of Contrastes Records of London.
Irina Kulikova is one of today’s leading classical guitarists. As a child, she toured her native Russia and Europe, and earned enough critical acclaim to be included in Maurice Summerfield’s book “The Classical Guitar, its evolution, players and personalities since 1800” when she was only 14 years old. She has performed in North America, Europe and Asia, and has recorded four solo CDs. She received more than 30 awards for her artistry, including first prizes at the competitions of Michele Pittaluga in Italy, Guitarra Alhambra in Spain, Forum Gitarre Wien in Austria and Iserlohn in Germany.
Michael Newman established his solo classical guitar career in the 1970s, performing with the Atlanta, Honolulu and Seattle Symphonies, and working with artists such a Frederica von Stade and Eileen Ivers. Today, he is best-known as one half of the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo. The Duo has released 12 recordings, performed in 49 states and on five continents, and served as ensemble-in-residence at Mannes College of Music. Newman has directed Guitar Studies and Ensembles at The College of New Jersey since 2014.
Sean Samimi is experienced on both the performance and the business sides of classical guitar. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. He joined the renowned agency Opus 3 Artists in 2009, and after working as artistic administrator for the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, founded his own agency, Aranjuez Artists, Inc. He frequently serves on guitar competition juries and is also regularly invited to speak on topics related to arts administration at colleges and at festivals.
Eric Sessler is an acclaimed composer and educator. He serves on the faculties of both the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. He holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music (BM), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma), and The Juilliard School (MM & DMA). His creative methods utilize the guitar as a conduit for creativity, the result being adapted and manipulated to form music from solo to chamber, vocal and orchestral works. Some of his most notable works include Sonata No. 1 (written for Buffalo native Jason Vieaux), Sonata for Harp and Guitar, and “Hammerhead.”
Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio are the artistic directors of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, a role they have served since the Competition’s inception. Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio have enjoyed a celebrated career as one of the foremost guitars duos in the world. They judge competitions around the world. They have recorded ten acclaimed CDs, two named “Best of the Year” by Fanfare Magazine and American Record Guide. The nation’s capital has embraced them with two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships. They have been featured in concert at the White House, Smithsonian Institution, the JFK Center for the Performing Arts and are consultants to the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Recently, they were inducted into the Alice Tully Circle of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Applications to compete are due on April 1. Materials are available at https://bpo.org/joann-falletta-international-guitar-concerto-competition. The Competition itself will take place from June 6-9. Up to eight finalists will perform in the semi-final rounds at the WNED studios. Three finalists will be selected to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on June 9, and the judges will select the winner that evening. The competition is co-sponsored by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and WNED | WBFO.
“The caliber of the judges’ panel is a testament to the hard work of so many in presenting a truly top-level competition every two years,” said Castellani. “We are truly eager to meet our competitors this spring and provide them an experience they will be proud to list on their resumes.”
About WNED ǀ WBFO
The WNED | WBFO family of stations broadcasts PBS, NPR and Classical music programming throughout the Western New York and Southern Ontario regions. These high-quality programs and community outreach services inform, enlighten, entertain and educate our local and regional communities. Our member-supported stations include WNED-TV (PBS), WBFO-FM 88.7 (NPR), Classical 94.5 WNED, Jazzworks, WNED thinkbright Create® and WNED PBS Kids 24/7. WNED-TV is also a national producer of award-winning documentaries. Additional information about WNED ǀ WBFO can be found at wned.org.
About the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy® winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an internationally recognized symphony of the highest artistic caliber and an indispensable part of the Western New York community’s quality of life. For more information about the BPO, visit bpo.org.
About Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio
The Competition Artistic Directors have enjoyed a celebrated career as one of the foremost guitar duos in the world. Having received numerous awards and distinctions from the very beginning, they have won two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships, toured internationally and recorded extensively. For more information, visit www.castellaniandriaccio.com