Silviu Ciulei, 26, was born in Constanta, Romania, where he began studying music at age 6. By age 13 he won his first prize in guitar performance at the Romanian National Music Olympics and performed his first concerto with the nationally acclaimed Black Sea Philharmonic Orchestra. Ciulei came to the US in 2004 and holds a bachelor of music degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where he studied guitar performance with William Yelverton. Recently Ciulei graduated from Florida State University's College of Music with his master's degree in guitar performance. Since 2004 Ciulei has garnered many awards, including first place in the Beethoven Club Competition, second place in the Texas International Guitar Competition, second place in the Mississippi Concerto Competition, second place at the Appalachian Guitar Festival and Competition, and fifth place at the 2009 Parkening International Guitar Competition. While earning his master's degree, he was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship and the Graduate Dean's Fellowship, one of the largest awards given to a graduate student at Florida State. He is currently working on his doctorate in guitar performance at Florida State, where he is a graduate teaching assistant to Bruce Holzman.