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Pepperdine to Host Prominent International Guitar Competition

Fifteen of the world’s most talented young guitarists will gather at Pepperdine University to compete in the prestigious Parkening International Guitar Competition, May 26 to 30, on the Malibu campus.

Representing 11 countries, the male and female competitors will vie for the largest prize purse among guitar competitions. 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 competitors range in age from 19 to 29 years old and come from Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Italy, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States.

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 $30,000, and the most prestigious title in classical guitar.

"We are thrilled to bring such a diverse range of young guitarists from all over the world here to Southern California for what is sure to be an extraordinary week of music," says Rebecca Carson, executive director for the Parkening International Guitar Competition and managing director for the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts. "They are united by their passion for classical guitar and by their love of music. We are looking forward to welcoming all of them to Pepperdine."

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.

In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine will present the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 26 and 27. The 10 competitors, ages 17 and younger, are also exceptionally talented and represent several countries.

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.