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Stroud Competition and Festival in Oberlin

The James Stroud All-Ohio Classical Guitar Competition and Festival took place at Oberlin Conservatory for the first time, Friday and Saturday March 14-15. 

Guest artists included the Tantalus Guitar Quartet and prior Stroud Competition winner John Marcel Williams. In addition, I played with my duo partner, flutist Jane Berkner--the AronBerkner Duo. 

The competition was open to guitarists across the state of Ohio, and drew from programs from every corner, including the University of Dayton, Cincinnati Conservatory, Bowling Green State University, Youngstown State University, Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Akron, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. 

James Stroud received his MM in guitar in my studio at the University of Akron in 1985. After graduation, though, he gravitated towards a career in finance, working first at McDonald and Co., and then (and now) at UBS Financial Services. After many years focusing on his career, Jim has now returned to the guitar, both as a player and as a benefactor, and founded this scholarship competition in 2007. Up until this year, it has taken place at the University of Akron; this is the first time it has been hosted at Oberlin Conservatory. 
James Stroud
In addition to $5,000 in prizes awarded to the competition winners, Jim has offered to fund an additional $5,000 in merit awards for Oberlin students, each year for at least the next five years. We at Oberlin are extremely grateful to him for his interest in young guitarists and for his generosity. 

Here is a recap of our event:

The opening night concert. 
The Aron Berkner Duo

Tantalus Guitar QuartetWe played works by Michel Blavet, Gareth Farr, Benoit Albert and Ricardo Iznaola. The quartet played works by Bach, Anderson, Hill and Houghton. 
The quarter- and semi-finals took place in the gorgeous, brand-new Stull Recital Hall. An antique instrument display separates the performance space from hallway. Here, the judges deliberate. 

The Judges: Adam Foster, Kris Anderson, Stephen Mattingly, Lynn McGrath and James Stroud

On the way to Fairchild Chapel, Tantalus Quartet strolls the Oberlin campus.

Stephen Mattingly, Kris Anderson, Adam Foster and Lynn McGrath

Our afternoon showcase concert by Stroud Laureate, John Marcel Williams was breathtaking. John played works by Albeniz, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Bach and Regondi in the old-world warmth of Fairchild Chapel. 

John Marcel Williams
Dinner at Weia Teia. 
L-R: Jill Stroud, Stephen Mattingly, Kris Anderson, Lynn McGrath, Adam Foster,
Stephen Aron, John Marcel Williams, Katherine Williams, James Stroud
The finals took place in the fabulous Kulas Recital Hall. 
Leonard Renallo

Jonathan Smith

Chris Mrofchak

Tobias James
The winners were:
1) Jonathan Smith (University of Akron)
2) Chris Mrofchak (Youngstown State University)
3) Leonard Renallo (Oberlin Conservatory)
4) Tobias James (Cleveland Institute of Music)

Chris Mrofchak (2nd), Lenny Renallo (3rd), James Stroud, Tobias James (4th) and Jonathan Smith (1st)

The Winners and the Judges

Thanks to everyone who participated! We look forward to doing this again next year. Many congratulations to our four winners and again, MANY THANKS to our friend and benefactor, James Stroud!

Rhythm/Meter/Tempo/Groove: Playing in Time

Daniel Silverman's Junior Recital