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Acclaimed Alumnus, Friends Headline Upcoming Tennessee Guitar Festival at MTSU


— An acclaimed alumnus, neighbors and friends will help MTSU celebrate the 13th annual Tennessee Guitar Festival and Competition May 29-31 on campus alongside America’s best young guitarists in performances and master classes.

Dr. Silviu Ciulei, MTSU’s first full International Music Scholar, will present the Tennessee Guitar Festival’s opening night concert with Austin, Texas-based emerging virtuoso Chad Ibison at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29, on the Hinton Music Hall stage inside the university’s Wright Music Building.

On Friday, May 30, at 8 p.m., British-born guitarist Stanley Yates, who directs the guitar program at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, will be joined in MTSU’s Hinton Hall by the internationally renowned Tantalus Quartet — guitarists Kristian Anderson, Adam Foster, Stephen Mattingly and Lynn McGrath.

The guitar competition, with $2,750 in prize money, regularly draws America's best young guitarists to compete for the $1,200 first prize. A special concert featuring the guitar competition finalists is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31, in Hinton Hall.

All events are open to the public. Admission to each individual concert is $10, and students 16 and under will be admitted free. A single registration fee of $30 will admit the guest to all concerts, lectures, workshops and master classes. 

Ciulei, a classical and flamenco guitarist who began studying music at age 6, recently performed with the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Symphony Orchestra as first-place winner in the Schadt String Competition.

The native of Romania earned his Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance in 2008 from MTSU and was the university’s first four-time Undergraduate Research and Creativity Scholar and Grant recipient. He recently received his doctoral degree from Florida State University. You can watch a video of Ciulei created by Florida State after his 2012 International Guitar Festival and Competition win at http://youtu.be/MFk1s__Aahc.

Ibison, a multi-award-winning guitarist who is currently a teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, will represent the USA at the 2014 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition next month in Buffalo, New York. 

You can watch Ibison perform Bach's "Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo" at the 2013 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition at http://youtu.be/-QmkHDQDIrY.

Yates, who is widely recognized as a performer, recording artist, teacher, arranger and scholar, has performed and won competitions internationally for years. He also conducts master classes and presents lectures at festivals, colleges, universities and conservatories around the world.

Renowned for his transcriptions of beloved Bach suites and rediscovered 18th-century concertos and chamber works, Yates also is known for his unique solo arrangements of Beatles tunes. A performance video of one of his favorites is at http://youtu.be/qFsVwUjH1FM.

The Tantalus Quartet maintains an active performing schedule and has appeared at important concert series and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and Canada, including Carnegie Hall, the Guitar Foundation of America Convention and many other international shows.

You can watch a video of the Tantalus Quartet's performance of "Variations on a Theme of Mozart" at the 2010 University of Louisville Guitar Festival at http://youtu.be/rcwyxb72KLg. (This was recorded before McGrath joined the group.)

“This competition brings in world-class guitarists,” said Dr. William Yelverton, festival director and a professor of music at MTSU. “This is a unique opportunity to hear some of the finest young guitarists in America compete for prestige and prize money.

"The Saturday night finals will be an awesome display of solo guitar playing. I particularly hope young guitarists from the community take this opportunity to hear this event, the largest of its kind in the state. It only happens once a year."

More information on the event is available at http://www.TennesseeGuitarFestival.com.