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Parkening International Guitar Competition Names 2015 Winners

A Winner was also Chosen for the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition

June 2, 2015 Malibu, CA – After an exciting week of classical guitar performances, Christopher Parkening and Pepperdine University announced the winner of the fourth triennial Parkening International Guitar Competition. The competition, the world's preeminent guitar competition, took place from May 26 through May 30, 2015.

Meng Su, 27, of China took the Gold Medal with her rich interpretation of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez at Pepperdine's Smothers Theatre during the sold-out final round on Saturday, May 30. She received the US$30,000 Jack Marshall Prize in addition to her medal.

Meng Su was also the winner of the 2006 inaugural Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and is the first female guitarist to both make it to the final round of the main competition and win the Gold Medal.

The Silver Medalist, Rovshan Mamedkuliev, 28, of Russia received US$12,500; the Bronze Medalist, Tengyue Zhang, 21, of China was awarded US$7,500.

The three finalists, each of whom performed a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra under the baton of conductor Roger Kalia, were selected from a pool of 15 standout competitors from 11 different countries. After a brief deliberation after the final performance, the winner was announced.

The three, along with Alec Holcomb, 19, of Clarksville, Tennessee, United States (fourth place); Andrea Roberto, 19, of Italy (fifth place); and Sanel Redzic, 26, of Bosnia and Herzegovina (sixth place), competed in the semifinal round on Friday, May 29.

Other competitors included Riccardo Calogiuri, 25, Italy; Fabian Cardozo, 28, Argentina; Silviu Ciulei, 29, Romania; Vladimir Gapontsev, 29, Russia; Emre Gökalp, 27, Turkey; Samuel Hines, 23, Long Beach, California, USA; Alberta Khoury, 19, Australia; Kyuhee Park, 29, South Korea; and Marko Topchii, 24, Ukraine.

All of the competitors performed on the first full day of the competition (May 28); six semifinalists were then selected to proceed to the second day. The competitors performed required and free-choice pieces and were judged on musicianship, tone, technique, and stage presence.

The distinguished panel of five judges, representing different areas of the music world, were 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.

The 15 competitors vied for cash awards that totaled US$57,500. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place winners each received US$1,000. Awards of US$500 were given to each of the remaining nine competitors.

"We want to pass on to you, as members of the jury, that it doesn't matter right now what prize you won in this great competition," said Jury Chair Lynn Harrell, at the awards ceremony on May 30. "What matters is – if you take these few days as an opportunity to launch further, deeper and more intensely in the incredibly demanding art of making music and making people feel, then you've come away a winner."

Meng Su was born in Qingdao, China, and began studying the guitar at the age of 5. Early on she won first prize in numerous international competitions, including the fifth Vienna Youth Guitar Competition, the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the 2006 Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and the second Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany. In 2006 Su came to the United States to study with the world-renowned guitarist Maestro Manuel Barrueco. She obtained her performer's certificate and graduate performance diplomas in both guitar and chamber music from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is currently completing her master's degree.

Su has collaborated with various orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and the Knights Chamber Orchestra. She gave her Carnegie Hall debut with Yameng Wang, her duo partner in the Beijing Guitar Duo, in 2010, which launched the duo's international concert career. Su has also toured extensively with her mentor Manuel Barrueco, performing in trio in Europe and United States. Her debut duo CD, Maracaípe, received a Latin Grammy nomination for the titled piece. Their second CD, Bach to Tan Dun, has been widely noted for the world-premiere recording of "Tan Dun's Eight Memories in Watercolor," specially arranged for the duo. A recording in trio, China West, with Maestro Barrueco was released in May 2014 to critical acclaim.

In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine presented the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition for guitarists ages 17 and younger on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 26 and 27. First place went to Ashwin Krishna, 17, Los Altos, California, USA; second place to Xu Kun (Alan) Liu, 13, Canada; third place to Nolan Harvel, 14, Hermitage, Tennessee, USA; fourth place to Grace Sheppard, 16, Tucson, Arizona, USA; and fifth place to Jonathan Pryde, 16, Reading, Michigan, USA.

Additional Young Guitarist competitors were Katelyn Biesiadecki, 15, Monterey Park, California, USA; Erick Chipana, 17, Bolivia; Sedona Farber, 14, Santa Ana, California, USA; Kendrick Shen, 15, South Pasadena, California, USA; and Kyle Wong, 15, San Jose, California, USA.

Cash awards for the Young Guitarist Competition included US$3,000 for the first-place winner and US$750 for each of the other four finalists. Awards of US$500 were given to each of the remaining five competitors.

Judging the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition were orchestrator/music arranger Patrick Russ, guitarist and President of the Guitar Foundation of America Martha Masters, and Grammy-nominated guitarist Marc Regnier.

The Parkening International Guitar Competition is pleased to congratulate and announce the winners of the 2015 competition:

The Jack Marshall Prize and Gold Medal were awarded to Meng Su, 27, China.

The Silver Medal was awarded to Rovshan Mamedkuliev, 28, Russia.

The Bronze Medal was awarded to Tengyue Zhang, 21, China.

Fourth Place was awarded to Alec Holcomb, 19, Clarksville, Tennessee, USA.

Fifth Place was awarded to Andrea Roberto, 19, Italy.

Sixth Place was awarded to Sanel Redzic, 26, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Parkening Young Guitarist Competition is pleased to congratulate and announce the winners of the 2015 competition:

First Place was awarded to Ashwin Krishna, 17, Los Altos, California, USA.

Second Place was awarded to Xu Kun (Alan) Liu, 13, Canada.

Third Place was awarded to Nolan Harvel, 14, Hermitage, Tennessee, USA.

Fourth Place was awarded to Grace Sheppard, 16, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Fifth Place was awarded to Jonathan Pryde, 16, Reading, Michigan, USA.

About the Parkening Competition: The competition, which debuted in 2006, offers the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition in the world, with competitors vying for cash awards that total in excess of US$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.

The 2015 Parkening Competition was made possible by a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson.

Christopher Parkening
is 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, and he is recognized as heir to the legacy of the great Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia. The Washington Post proclaimed him as "the leading guitar virtuoso of our day, combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument."

Parkening's performances, recordings and collaborations have included many of the world's greatest artists, orchestras, and composers of our time, and his recordings have received two Grammy® nominations in the category of Best Classical Recording. In July, 2012 Parkening was inducted into the Guitar Foundation of America's "Hall of Fame" and given their "Artistic Achievement Award," presented to "performers who have made monumental contributions to the development of the art and life of the classical guitar."

Currently, Parkening is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chair of the Guitar Department at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where the world's preeminent guitar competition, The Parkening International (named in his honor) takes place every three years.

He is also a world class fly-fishing and casting champion who has won the International Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament (the Wimbledon of fly-fishing) held in Islamorada, Florida.

But at the heart of Parkening's dedication to performance, recording, and teaching is a deep commitment to the Christian faith. He comments, "Through the years I have tried to play my guitar for the purpose defined by J.S. Bach, who said, Soli Deo Gloria—to God alone the glory."

Christopher Parkening, his wife, Theresa, and their son, Luke, reside in Malibu. For more information, visit

Pepperdine University is an independent, medium-sized university located on the a 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. Pepperdine is ranked in the top tier of major universities in America and is known for achieving the highest standards of academic excellence in its undergraduate program, and in its School of Law, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, School of Public Policy, and Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Pepperdine University is religiously affiliated with the Churches of Christ It is the purpose of Pepperdine University to pursue the very highest academic standards within a context that celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith.

The Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University provides high-quality activities for over 50,000 people from 664 zip codes annually through performances, rehearsals, museum exhibitions, and master classes. Located on Pepperdine's breathtaking Malibu campus overlooking the Pacific, the center serves as a hub for the arts, uniquely linking professional guest artists with Pepperdine students as well as patrons from surrounding Southern California communities. Facilities include the 450-seat Smothers Theatre, the 118-seat Raitt Recital Hall, the "black box" Helen E. Lindhurst Theatre, and the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. ### 

Pepperdine University reserves the right to change any or all criteria or details pertaining to the Competition.