News and Events
Parkening International Guitar Competition Names 2009 Winners
(L to R) Watt, Buono, Parkening, and Nieminen.
After three days of high-pressure performances, Emanuele Buono, 21, of Italy was crowned winner of the prestigious Parkening International Guitar Competition, finishing with a stirring performance with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre on Saturday, May 30. He received the $30,000 Stotsenberg Prize, a gold medal, and international acclaim.
"It feels like a dream. I can't believe it," Buono said after accepting the gold medal. On the pressure he felt during the final round he commented, "I was less tense after the performance because I felt I played very well."
The event, which took place took place from May 28 through May 30, was the second triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. This year's field was comprised of 15 standout competitors representing 10 countries, representing some of the world's preeminent guitarists vying for the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition.
The silver medalist, Ian Watt, 18, of Scotland, received $12,500 in addition to his medal; the bronze medalist, Juuso Nieminen, 29, of Finland, was awarded $7,500.
All of the competitors performed on the first full day of the competition (May 28); five semi-finalists were then selected to proceed to the second day. The competitors performed required and free-choice repertoire and were judged on musicianship, tone, technique, and stage presence.
Buono, Watt, and Nieminen, along with Rafael Aguirre Minarro, 24, of Spain and Silviu Ciulei, 23, of Romania, competed in the semi-final round on May 29. The three finalists were selected and each performed a concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor Alondra de la Parra. The winner was announced after a short deliberation by the judging panel.
"The caliber was very high in this, the 2009 Parkening International Guitar Competition," said Christopher Parkening, the namesake of the competition. "Gold medalist Emanuele
Buono's superlative technique and inspired interpretation captured the audience and the judges at each level of the competition."
Buono was born in Turin, Italy, in 1987. In 2005 he graduated with full marks from the "Giuseppe Verdi" Conservatory in Milan, where he is currently pursuing a music diploma. He also received a three-year diploma from the "Francisco Tarrega" Academy and has attended the International Master Classes of "Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena" every year since 2007. He was awarded first prize at the XXXIII International Guitar Competition in Gargnano, Italy. He was the first Italian winner of the Ruggero Chiesa International Competition in Camogli, Italy, also winning the award for best interpretation of a romantic piece as well as the audience choice award.
Other competitors included Yuri Aleshnikov, 24, of Russia; Michael Bautista, 30, of the United States; Carlo Corrieri, 20, of Italy; Colin Davin, 21, of the United States; Alexei Khorev, 30, of France; Laura Klemke, 28, of Germany; Marco Sartor, 30, of the United States; Andrew Stroud, 28, of the United States; Edward Trybek, 27, of the United States; and Aleksandr Tsiboulski, 29, of Australia.
The distinguished panel of five judges, representing different areas of the classical music world, were Nancy Allen, principal harpist with the New York Philharmonic; Manuel Barrueco, world-famous guitar virtuoso; Stephanie L. Challener, publisher of Musical America Worldwide; Thomas Frost, Grammy Award-winning record producer; and Costa Pilavachi, former president of EMI Classics.
The total purse for the event totaled $57,000. The fourth and fifth prizewinners each received $1,000. Awards of $500 were given to each of the remaining 10 competitors.
For more information on the Parkening International Guitar Competition at Pepperdine University, visit the Parkening Web site.
Parkening on Performance Today
Performance Today will broadcast Emanuele Buono's winning performance from the Parkening International Guitar Competition on Friday, June 5. The program will include the third movement from his performance of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Concerto No. 1 in D Major with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and an interview with Christopher Parkening. The following Friday, June 12, Performance Today will air portions of the silver and bronze medalists' final-round performances.
American Public Media's Performance Today is broadcast on 245 public radio stations across the country. Each station individually decides what time to air the program. To find out where and when Performance Today is broadcast in your area, please visit performancetoday.org. The June 2 show will also be available on Performance Today's Web site for seven days.
To hear the June 2 show online from 12 midnight to 1 a.m., visit