Fifteen Competitors Selected for 2009 Parkening International Guitar Competition

The world's preeminent classical guitar competition, the Parkening International Guitar Competition, has selected 15 standout competitors representing nine countries who will vie for the largest prize purse among guitar competitions at Pepperdine University's second triennial competition from Thursday, May 28, through Saturday, May 30, 2009, on the University's campus in Malibu, California. Renowned guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening, the competition's namesake and artistic director, 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, the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia.
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May 28-30, 2009, Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA

 The 15 competitors range in age from 18 to 30 years old and are among the international community's most talented guitarists. They are: Yuri Aleshnikov, 24, Russia; Michael Bautista, 30, USA; Emanuele Buono, 22, Italy; Silviu Ciulei, 23, USA; Carlo Corrieri, 20, Italy; Colin Davin, 21, USA; Alexei Khorev, 30, France; Laura Klemke, 27, Germany; Rafael Aguirre Minarro, 24, Spain; Juuso Nieminen, 29, Finland; Marco Sartor, 30, USA; Andrew Stroud, 28, USA; Edward Trybek, 26, USA; Aleksandr Tsiboulski, 29, Australia; and Ian Watt, 18, Scotland.

Judging the competition will be 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.

Three of the competitors will advance to the final round on May 30 to perform a concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber 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: Matar-Itai Batyonathan, 17, USA; Bruce Buescher, 17, USA; Tim Callobre, 15, USA; Alec Holcomb, 13, USA; Jiyeon Kim, 16, Korea; Noah Kim, 13, USA; Chaconne Klaverenga, 16, USA; Andrea Roberto, 13, Italy; Daniel Tekunoff, 16, USA; and John-Marcel Williams, 14, USA.

About the Parkening Competition:

The Parkening International Guitar Competition debuted in 2006. It offers cash awards in excess of US$65,000, with the gold medalist winning the Stotsenberg Prize of US$30,000.

Pablo Sainz Villegas, the gold medalist of the 2006 Parkening Competition, has emerged as one of the world's leading classical guitarists. Appearances include his New York Philharmonic debut with four performances at Avery Fisher Hall; his first appearance with the Houston Symphony Orchestra; performances as soloist with orchestra at the Musikverein in Vienna and the National Radio and Television Orchestra of Spain; a tour with the Israel Philharmonic; and recitals in Russia, Spain, and across the U.S.

The 2009 Parkening Competition is made possible by generous grants from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson and Manny and Juanita Del Arroz.

For information about tickets, call the Smothers Theatre Box Office at (310) 506-4522 or Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232. Information online:

More information about the competition is available at

About Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University:

Parkening is celebrated as one of the world's preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar. For more than a quarter century, his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. The Washington Post cited "his stature as the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument."

Parkening is recognized as the heir to the legacy of the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia, who proclaimed that "Christopher Parkening is a great artist--he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world."

His rare combination of dramatic virtuosity and eloquent musicianship has captivated audiences around the world from New York to Tokyo. He has played at the White House, appeared with Placido Domingo on Live from Lincoln Center, participated in the Carnegie Hall 100th anniversary celebration, and performed twice on the internationally televised Grammy Awards.

He has appeared on many nationally broadcast television programs, including The Tonight Show, CBS Sunday Morning, The Today Show, and 20/20. Parkening also was featured soloist with composer/conductor John Williams on the Sony Classical soundtrack of Stepmom, a Columbia Pictures film. Voted "Best Classical Guitarist" in a nationwide readers' poll of Guitar Player Magazine for many years running, he was placed in its "Gallery of Greats" along with Segovia, John Williams, and Julian Bream.

Parkening has been a frequent guest soloist with the finest orchestras in the United States, including the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minnesota orchestras, the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and National symphony orchestras, the Detroit, Houston, and St. Louis symphonies, the St. Paul and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl.

His extensive recital schedule takes him throughout the country, with regular appearances in New York; Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Houston; and Los Angeles. Following one of his performances, the Los Angeles Times noted, "Parkening is considered America's reigning classical guitarist, carrying the torch of his mentor, the late Andres Segovia."

Parkening is the recipient of two Grammy nominations in the category of Best Classical Recording for Parkening and the Guitar and The Pleasures of Their Company, the latter a collaboration with soprano Kathleen Battle.

In honor of Parkening's 25th year as a recording artist with Angel/EMI, a two-CD collection of favorites, The Great Recordings, was issued in celebration of his prolific artistry. In the fall of 1998, a multi-media CD, entitled Christopher Parkening Celebrates Segovia, was released as a tribute to the great guitarist.

His autobiography, Grace Like a River, was released by Tyndale House Publishers in 2006.