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Exciting Conclusion to Parkening Competition Takes Place Before Sold-Out Audience at Pepperdine

After an intense and exciting few days, the Parkening International Guitar Competition concluded on Saturday, May 30, in front of a sold-out audience in Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre, Malibu. Meng Su, of Qingdao, China, was named the gold medal winner in the contest, which features the largest prize purse among guitar competitions. The silver medalist was Rovshan Mamedkuliev, of Russia; the bronze medal went to Tengyue Zhang, of China. 

The prestigious five-day event began on Tuesday, May 26, with 15 of the world's most gifted classical guitarists in the 19-29 age bracket. They came from 11 countries including Italy, Argentina, Romania, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the United States. The Parkening Young Guitarist Competition for ages 17 and under took place prior to the primary competition. Californian Ashwin Krishna, 17, beat out nine other highly talented competitors from around the globe. 

Su, 27,  is not a stranger to the Parkening Guitar Competition. In 2006, she competed in the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition and won. She has won other international guitar competitions since she began playing the instrument at the age of 5, including in Japan, Austria, Germany. She has toured and recorded several CD's to critical acclaim. 

The contest’s namesake and artistic director, renowned guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening, is distinguished professor of music at Pepperdine's Seaver College. The competition honors his lifetime commitment to fostering musical excellence in young artists as demonstrated by his mentor, Spanish musician Andres Segovia, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

The competition, which debuted in 2006, offers cash awards that total in excess of $65,000. After three days of intense public performances, the winner of the Parkening International Guitar Competition receives a gold medal, the Jack Marshall Prize of US$30,000, and the most prestigious title in classical guitar.

Contest judges are Lynn Harrell, cello virtuoso and conductor; Lee Holdridge, Emmy Award-winning film composer; Charlotte Lee, senior vice president, IMG Artists; Angel Romero, guitar maestro, soloist, and conductor; and David Thomas, recording producer.Three of the competitors will advance to the final round on May 30 to perform a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra before a live audience in Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre. The gold, silver, and bronze medalists will be announced at the conclusion of the final round.

Christopher Parkening is celebrated as one of the world's preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar. For over 40 years his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. Parkening has performed at the White House; with Placido Domingo on Live from Lincoln Center; in the Carnegie Hall 100th anniversary celebration; twice on the internationally televised Grammy Awards; and on many nationally broadcast television programs. He has collaborated with composers John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, Joaquin Rodrigo, F. Moreno Torroba, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and premiered new concert works. Parkening has been guest soloist with the finest orchestras nationwide. He is the recipient of two Grammy nominations for Best Classical Recording for Parkening and the Guitar and The Pleasures of Their Company, a collaboration with soprano Kathleen Battle. He was given the acclaimed American Academy of Achievement Award for excellence in the field of music. He also was presented with the 2000 Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Classical Guitarist and the 2003 University Musical Society's Distinguished Artist Award.

The 2015 Parkening Competition is made possible by a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. For tickets, call the Smothers Theatre Box Office at (310) 506-4522 or visit the Center for the Arts website. For more details about the competition, please visit the Parkening Competition website.