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Appalachian GuitarFest and Competition held April 3-5

perez_t.jpgBOONE—The 14th Annual Appalachian GuitarFest and Competition will be held April 3-5 at Appalachian State University.

This year’s competition features two youth divisions as well as a solo competition for guitarists under age 30.

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Tickets for the guest artist concerts and the final round of the Division I competition are available in advance at the Farthing Auditorium Box Office and will be available at the door on the date of the performance. Admission is $20 for nonstudents and $10 for students from Appalachian.

The guitar duo of Pasquale Rucco and Douglas James and soloist Matthew Palmer will perform April 3 at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall.

The Rucco-James Duo specializes in the guitar literature of the early 19th century performed on authentic instruments of the period.  The guitarists first met and became friends at guitar festivals in northern Italy during the early 1990s. They have been performing together for more than 12 years, charming audiences with their interpretations of music from the first true “golden age” of the guitar.

James is director of the guitar fest and a member of the Hayes School of Music faculty. An internationally recognized authority on 19th-century performance style, James uses authentic period guitars when playing music of the classical and romantic periods. In 1992, he was the top prize winner in the Arturo Toscanini Solo Guitar Competition (Italy). He has twice been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship and has received touring grants from Arts International and several state arts commissions.

Rucco is the winner of several European guitar competitions, including the 1989 Arturo Toscannini Solo Guitar Competition for the performance of 19th-century music. Since then, he has performed regularly in Europe and the United States, both as a soloist and chamber musician specializing in the 19thc. literature played on period instruments.  Pasquale Rucco is also the founding director of A.C.I.F., a consortium of music academies operating in the greater Naples, Italy, region.

Palmer earned his master’s degree in guitar performance at Appalachian studying guitar under James. He was also a finalist in the prestigious 15th Internationales Pfingstseminar in Koblenz, Germany in 2007.  His competition prizes from 2007 included two handcrafted concert guitars by master luthiers Brian Dunn and Eric Sahlin.  Palmer is pursuing a doctor of musical arts at the University of Arizona.

The April 3 program includes works by Fernando Sor, Giocchino Rossini, Joaquin Rodrigo, Manuel Ponce, Sergio Assad and Stepan Rak.
Michael Partington and Carlos Perez will perform April 4 at 8 p.m. in Rosen Concert Hall.

Partington is considered one of the most engaging of the new generation of concert players. Praised by Classical Guitar Magazine for his “lyricism, intensity and clear technical command,” this award-winning British guitarist has performed internationally as a soloist and with ensemble to unanimous critical praise. He began playing guitar at age 6 while growing up in Wales, gave his first public performance at age 7 and won his first competition at age 9.

The Classical Guitar Magazine of England says of Perez, “He gets to the point of everything he plays … A master guitarist with true star quality.” He has received top prizes in major international competitions in Europe and America, winning first prize in: X “Alirio Díaz”, Venezuela 1996; XX “René Bartoli”, France 1997; VI “Printemps de La Guitare”, Belgium 1998; III  “Forum Gitarre”, Austria 2000; XIV “Fundacion Guerrero” Spain 2000 and the Joaquín Rodrigo Competition in Madrid, Spain, in 2006.

The program features works by Joaquín Turina, Astor Piazzolla, Michael Karmon, Julio Sagreras and Tomás Damas.

The Appalachian GuitarFest Guitar Orchestra will perform April 5 at 11 a.m. in Rosen Concert Hall. Admission is free. The program will include works by Haydn, Mangoré, York, Bullock and Hirsch. More than 60 guitarists are expected to perform in the orchestra.
The final round of the Division I Competition will begin at April 5 at 1 p.m. An awards reception will follow.