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Manuel Barrueco on the Baltimore International Guitar Competition


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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

Baltimore International Guitar Competition was postponed from 2020-2021 due to the global pandemic but will resume in September 2022. You will serve as artistic director. Who else is behind this event, and what are your expectations?

The Baltimore Classical Guitar Society is behind the organisation of the event. Regarding the competition, it is different from all the existing ones. All rounds, except for the 3rd day of the 3-day final round, will be judged blindly. Since the judges will not be able to see the performers, they will not be influenced by any factors except for the music.

Since the final round will take place over three nights, the competitors will have to perform different repertoire in three different concert halls. Each night will be dedicated to specific musical periods. For example, Friday will be Bach and Sor, Saturday will be Romanticism through the 20th century, and Sunday will feature music of Villa-Lobos and the 20th century up to the present day.

We see that there is $60,000 to be distributed in prizes. Still, probably the most helpful contribution the winner will receive is professional assistance, with a portion of the prize money earmarked for career development and even an appearance in the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society’s concert season. What exactly does the career award consist of, and how will it further the winner’s career?

The first prize of $35,000 is divided into $20,000 in cash and $15,000 as an Augustine Career Award. The career award will be disbursed on the winner’s behalf for professional development: some may need help with publicity, others may need help with management, and others may prefer to invest the money in a video shoot or production. It depends on what makes the most sense for the winner and their career. In addition, they will have the opportunity to return to Baltimore to perform the following season. We are also working with a local host in New York for a concert there and perhaps another performance or appearances in China.

What will be the mandatory repertoire for the competition?

The mandatory repertoire comprises the most essential and well-known guitar works, including the most relevant composers from the Baroque period to the present day. From Bach’s suites for lute and Sor’s Variations on The Magic Flute to Villa-Lobos’ studies and preludes and the most suggestive works by Tárrega. In addition to the required works, the contestants play music of their own choice. Information about the repertoire can be found on the competition website.


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