Forum Gitarre Wien 2017

A report from the 27th International Guitar Festival

In the world of classical guitarists international festivals and competitions have become an important part of our lives. Preparing for a competition or master class requires a lot of motivation and hard work, which develop enormously our potential and talent. That is why I decided to tell you more about one of the best guitar festivals and for sure the largest in Vienna, to which I had the honor to be invited as a lecturer and performer.

The jury with Bozhana. Photo: Forum Gitarre Wien

The 27th edition of Forum Gitarre Wien was held between 21th and 27th of August 2017. Being one of the most renowned international guitar festivals, its program presented a broad spectrum of events, highly interesting for the guitarists from all over the world.

The program was very interesting, but also intense. Each day the festival offered various events such as seminars, lectures, master classes, guitars’ and scores’ exhibitions, afternoon and evening concerts. Guests of the festival this year were Admir Doci (Albania), Marcin Dylla (Poland), Alfred Eickholt (Germany), Nikolas Göhl (Germany), Hans-Werner Huppertz (Germany), Leon KOUDELAK (Switzerland), Lorenzo Micheli (Italy), Antoine Moriniere (France), Takuya Okamoto (Japan), Bruno Pancek (France), Jorgos Panetsos (Greece/Austria), Bozhana Pavlova (Bulgaria), Mislav Pecnik (Croatia), Alvaro Pierri (Uruguay/Austria) and Siegfried Steinkogler (Austria). The audience was able to enjoy ten impressive concerts in the historical Ehrbar Hall, which is located in the very heart of Vienna.

Ehrbar Hall
The beautiful Ehrbar Hall. Photo: Forum Gitarre Wien

Another wonderful feature of the festival is that participants, artists, competitors and guitar builders had the chance to communicate with each other and share their knowledge, talent and craftsmanship with the audience during one entire week in Vienna. I met so many old friends from the whole word and was able to get to know many others and make new friendships, as well.

For me personally one of the most important and responsible moments was jurying in the youth and senior categories of the international competition. Within three days full of suspense and professionalism the competitors showed an extremely high level of musical understanding, emotional deepness and devotion to the instrument.

Prize Winners

The winner of the 1st prize in the senior category is You Wu, who is currently studying at the MDW. He was awarded with a guitar, built by the Korean luthier Young Seo and a tour, consisted of 12 concerts in different countries for the next season. Another student at MDW was finalist and winner of the special prize, sponsored by Visesnut/ Sato Guitars, Takuya Okamoto. Both are students in the class of Alvaro Pierri. We are proud of their achievements!

You Wu and Young Seo
Winner You Wu and Young Seo. Photo: Forum Gitarre Wien

The winner in the youth category is Jagoda Swidzinska from Poland. She and You Wu won invitations for a concert at the famous “Wiener Konzerthaus” in 2018. Congratulations to all!

During the whole festival week my colleagues and I were giving master classes as guest lecturers. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to take part at the festival’s orchestra and at one concert in Ehrbar Hall, as well. Experiencing the wonderful atmosphere of creating music together, after a week of rehearsals the orchestra performed at the final evening of the festival just before the finalists of the 22nd International Guitar Competition of Forum Gitarre Wien.

Takuya Okamoto wins the Sato Guitars Special Prize
Takuya Okamoto (center) wins the Sato Guitars Special Prize. Photo: Forum Gitarre Wien

Thanks to the hard-working team, who was taking care for the perfect organization of the festival and its artistic director Jorgos Panetsos, Forum Gitarre Wien has succeeded in becoming one of the most important and respected cultural events in Vienna and managed to build a tradition of supporting and motivating young guitarists to achieve their goals and believe in their dreams. Highly recommended to all guitarists and guitar lovers!

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