News and Events
Pablo Sainz-Villegas Wins Parkening International Guitar Competition
June 6, 2006 - Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University announced the winner of the first Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pablo Sainz-Villegas from Spain on Friday, June 2, 2006. He performed the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra onstage at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre, in Malibu, Calif. He received a brilliant golden medallion, The Stotsenberg Prize, from longtime Pepperdine benefactor Dorothy Stotsenberg of Malibu. In addition to the Stotsenberg Prize of $25,000, the first-place Sainz-Villegas wins a professionally-managed performance tour of recitals and concerts with orchestra in 2007.
The Parkening, the world’s preeminent guitar competition with the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition, began Tuesday, May 30, with the Young Guitarist Competition, and culminated on Friday, June 2, on the University’s campus in Malibu.
Silver Medalist Petrit Ceku received $10,000 in addition to his medal; Bronze Medalist Roberto Morón Pérez was awarded $5,000.
Three chosen soloists, Sainz-Villegas, along with Ceku and Morón Pérez, each performed a concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on Friday, June 2. The winner was announced after a short deliberation by the judging panel.
The final round competitors, narrowed to just three select guitarists from a pool of 15 talented competitors, were: Petrit Ceku, 20, Zagreb, Croatia; Roberto Morón Pérez, 26, Madrid, Spain; and Pablo Sainz-Villegas, 28, Logroño, Spain.
These three along with Michael Bautista, 27, Cupertino, Calif., and Robert Belinić, 24, Popovača, Croatia, competed in the semi-final round on June 1.
All 15 competitors performed on May 31, the first full day of the competition; five semi-finalists were then selected to proceed to the second day. Required repertoire for the Parkening is quite demanding and finalists are judged on musicianship, tone, technique, and stage presence.
The panel of judges for the live performance portion of the competition were guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk, seven-time GRAMMY® award-winning recording producer Thomas Frost, cello virtuoso Lynn Harrell, Sony BMG Masterworks President Gilbert Hetherwick, and Director of Artists and Special Projects for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Miryam Yardumian. This panel of distinguished representatives from various fields of classical performance and artistic management determined which competitors advanced at each level.
The finalists vied for cash awards that totaled in excess of US $50,000. The fourth and fifth prizewinners received $1,000 each. Awards of $500 are given to each of the remaining 10 finalists.
The 2006 Parkening Competition is made possible by a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. Malibu resident Dorothy Stotsenberg, who founded the previous competition with her late husband, Edward, funded the Parkening Competition’s first prize. Russell Cleveland, CEO/Director of RENN Capital Group, of Dallas, Texas supported the Silver Medalist prize, and finally Dr. Kraig Wangnes of Augusta, Georgia provided funds for the Bronze medalist prize. The Parkening Competition welcomed additional support from Teresa and Dennis Duggan and Christina Duggan of Los Angeles, Melanie and Richard Flamminio of Malibu, Bud and Sally Hartman and Theresa and Christopher Parkening.
The Parkening Young Guitarist Competition has announced its first-place winner, Meng Su of Qingdao, China. She impressed the judges with her musicianship, fine technique and presence playing pieces by Bach, Schumann, and Assad.
"This is my first visit to America and the best thing is that I have met so many great players here and we have become friends," said Meng. "I have been to many competitions and this is the best that I have ever attended."
The one-day event identified outstanding young guitarists born on or after January 1, 1988, and encouraged them to continue their performance careers and studies.
Mr. and Mrs. Lane Weitzman of Thousand Oaks and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall of Los Angeles sponsored the 2006 Young Guitarist Competition.
Pablo Sainz-Villegas was born in Spain in 1977. He has been a soloist with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony, Orchestra I Pomerigi Musicali and Orquesta de Radio Television Espanola. The recipient of 25 international awards including the "Andres Segovia" Award, he has participated in international festivals in Brazil, Granada, and Strassburg.
Sainz-Villegas has performed for ABC, BBC, Radio 2 Clasica RNE, TVE, Radio France and Euroradio. He recorded Luciano Berio's Sequenza XI and released a recording of Spanish music for the Naxos label. The CD features the world premiere recording of Five Anecdotes by Andres Segovia and Sonata-Fantasia by Federico Moreno-Torroba and it was selected as "CD of the Week" by Music Heute magazine. Sainz-Villegas' live recording of the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Orquesta de Radio Television Espanola, conducted by Adrian Leaper, was released by the RVTE label for their "Clasicos Espanoles" collection.
George Crumb, Cristobal Halffter and Helmut Lachenmann are some of the prominent composers with whom Sainz-Villegas has worked. He has performed in 21 countries on various stages, from New York's Carnegie Hall to Milan's Sala Verdi. Sainz-Villegas has given master classes at many universities, including the Royal College of Music in London and the Australian National University. Sainz-Villegas is currently a student of David Starobin at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Meng Su was born in Qingdao, in the Shangdong Province of China, in 1988. She began studying classical guitar in 1997 under the direction of Mr. Chenzi/Chanchi of the Central Conservatory of Music of China. Su began attending the high school affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2000.
In 2002, she won first prize in the 5th Vienna International Guitar Competition. Three years later, she garnered first prize in the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition.
Su has given solo performances in Austria, Germany, Britain, South Korea, and Japan. Since the time she began her guitar studies, she has received instruction from various guitar masters, including Eliot Fisk, Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, and Carol Domeniconi. Su currently resides in Beijing, China.