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The Altamira Guitar Festival in Shanghai or: greetings from Iserlohn

Every year more and more Chinese guitarists are travelling to Germany to participate the guitar festival in Iserlohn, one of the biggest guitar festivals of the world.

Because of some Chinese guitar students in Germany, the Chinese guitar company Altamira got involved into that festival. Since some years Altamira is supporting the guitar competition in Iserlohn with donated guitars as prices for the winners.

And this year this company organized a guitar festival in Shanghai! No wonder, that they invited a lot of teachers from Iserlohn.

Beside Thomas Kirchhoff and his wife (and duo partner) Dale Kavanagh, Gerald Garcia was there, too and made a big guitar ensemble with around 50 students. They performed the second movement of the piece “silver clouds chasing the moon” , Gerald has written for Jun Hong Kuang, an outstanding Chinese guitarist, and which was a performance in Iserlohn before. And there were other great western artists in Shanghai, too: Aniello Desiderio, Eliot Fisk, Eva Beneke, Emma Rush and Adrian Walter to name some.

And there were around 500 participants for the competition, but only very few students, who wanted to take masterclasses. I think the average were 2-3 students for each teacher during the whole festival. In Iserlohn it would be probably the opposite.

I went to the concert of the Amadeus Duo (Thomas Kirchhoff and Dale Kavanagh). They made an excited and spirited concert during a huge thunderstorm. The sound of the rain and the thunder outside increased the tension and the good atmosphere inside the concert hall.

Eva Beneke and Emma Rush were introduced as “the two Beauties”. They made a concert with wonderful, fantastic played music, but unfortunately there was a misunderstanding with the sound engineer: the sound engineer didn`t know the word for reverb in Chinese and translated it with loudness. So the microphone was turned off and only a few people who were sitting in the first three rows could hear the excellent performances. Sometimes it is really pitty if there are no professional translators!

The last evening was given to the price winners of the competition: a lot of very young and very good playing guitarists with astonishing performances. One may be seven year old girl opened the concert with the Vals Nr.3 of Augustin Barrios Magnore. Even she played not the real rhythm, it was incredible good and I really would like to sit beside in her guitar class and watch the lesson. How can such a young child learn to play such a difficult piece? Amazing!

More normal seemed to me the first and biggest price winner. His performance of the “Mozart Variations” of Fernando Sor was a little bit boring compared with the other very interesting performances, but perfect. (and he didn`t play the slow introduction, which is a part of that piece and important).

All in all it was a great festival and very new and very good to have such an event in Shanghai! Thanks to the Altamira company, whose leader again showed that industry and commerce sometimes can help to develop culture in a very successful and effective way.

The first Altamira Guitar Festival and Competition in Shanghai

Yesterday the first Altamira International Guitar Festival started in Shanghai.
The festival mostly take place in Min Hang in the Jiang Zhou Culture Center near the subwaystation Jin Ping Road ( line 5).

There are a lot of famous international guitarists invited, who give concerts and masterclasses. Yesterday evening Aniello Desiderio started, today there is the concert of Eliot Fisk, tomorrow the Amadeus Duo and the day after tomorrow the Eva Beneke and Emma Rush Duo. Gerald Garcia is here, too , and will make an concert with the festival ensemble (mostly children). There is also a big competition. The competitors had to drew their numbers this morning and as you see on the foto here, there was a huge crowd before the entrance. The father of my student guess, that there are around 500 participants!!

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The students came from all over China and although it is an international competition you only can find very few western participants. I think, my student is the only one. One of the reason is, that there was no English material and no English website. And the people on the registration could not speak English! Even if you want to read the timetable of the festival you have to read it in Chinese.

Anyway: here is the timetable! And I will write more about this event in a few days.

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Guitar Shanghai at the Conservatory of Music

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Last weekend there was a Guitar Festival at the Conservatory of Music in Shanghai with Leonardo Bravo, Oliver Fartach-Naini, Lee Song-ou, Shingo Fujii, Shunsuke Matsuo, Achim-Peter Gropius and some others. There were not only a lot of concerts, but also a competition and some masterclasses, too.

And I feel honored that the organisator Prof. Ye Deng Min used the name of my association and blog for this festival. So Guitar Shanghai becomes more and more wellknown in Shanghai and China!

After the festival I ve met with Achim Gropius the German guitar maker. He repaired my Gnatek guitar some years ago and I like his guitars. We made some sightseeing together and I showed him the old part of Shanghai with the Yuan Garden. We finished our tour at the Grand Hyatt highrise in Pudong, in the Cafe at the 54th floor.

Recently there are so many guitar festivals and competitions in China and Asia! The next three festivals I know are in Changsha (Hunan Provinz China) from 19th till 22th of July and the Tarrega Malaysia International Guitar Competition from 7th till 10th of August. And then there will be the big Altamira Guitar Festival and competition in Shanghai from 22th till 26th of August. The concert of Eliot Fisk on 23th of August is already selled out….yep…

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Hongkong International Guitarfestival with Competition

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Next weekend (from the 20th till the 22th of September) the Hongkong Guitar Festival 2013 will take place. There are six concerts with international artists from Brazil,Spain,Slovakia, Italy, Thailand,Shanghai and Hong Kong. And there are five workshops and masterclasses and a competition in two categories.

for more information, please go to: http://www.hkguitarfestival2013.com/#!lessons/c1t44

Barrios World Wide Online Competition

This morning I received an email from Sofia Irala, who is the coordinator of the Barrios World Wide Online competition. This year the second edition of the competition will be hold to celebrate the guitar music of A.Barrios Magnore.

The participants have their videos for the first round to upload to youtube till July 31.

The pieces of the first round are the Estudio Concerto Nr.1 and Confession.

The semifinalists will be announced till August 15. Starting on this date they can begin to upload the third video with the Mazurka Appassionata. The jury will select three finalists, who can travel to Paraguay for the Final in December 3. On the final each participant has to play a 25 minutes concert with pieces of Barrios. This pieces must include Jha Che Valle.

Everybody between 18 and 30 years old can participate the competition. For more information please look at the website: Barrios World Wide

Guitar Competition in Shanghai this Summer!

This year the the Shanghai Hua Dong Qu together with the Shanghai Guitarlovers, the Shanghai Conservatory and the Shanghai Guitar Professionals organized an international guitar competition, from July 19th till July 22th.

The competition has a lot off different categories as:

Children competition, youth competition, adult competition and professional adult competition. The adult competition is for no professionals and without any age limit, so everybody can participate.

Each category also has a solo competition and a duo competition. So you can choose whether you want to participate as a solo player or together with your duo partner.

For more information and for the formalities you can see: www.keytar.net or you can go to the shop of Jiang Da Min (Jingling Road 318) or to: 200438 Shanghai, GuoHe Road Nr.1033, Tel: 021-65324131 to ask for the rules and the requested pieces. You can apply for participation till the 10th of June 2011.

The prices for the winners of the competitions are guitars in different quality.

Beside the competition there are some interesting guitar concerts with international players during that time.

Guitarcompetition Iserlohn

This year I participated on the international guitar competition in Iserlohn. It was a very good experience and I have to ask myself why I never did something like that during my students time at the conservatory of music. My generation in Germany has a difficult relation to competitions in general what is pity and not necessary at all.

The younger generation is much more relaxed and has a better point of view in that case.

There were a few really good players and the jury paid attention not only to the perfection and no mistake aspect, but also tried to find some special personality.

My both favorites are Thomas Csaba from France, who won the forth price and Sabrina Vlaskalic from Serbia, who won the second price plus the Sarvaez special price for the best interpretation of a piece of J.S.Bach. But there were other very good players too, who didn`t go into the final like Patrick Vena from Finland and a lot of other people I can not remember the names. And of course the first price winner Irina Kulikova from Russia was fantastic!

Besides playing the guitar we had a lot of nice communication and exchanges. Next year there is no competition in Iserlohn, but a big guitar symposium with a lot of concerts and master classes. The next guitar competition in Iserlohn will be held in 2010.