2019 Stroud Competition & Festival
For fifteen years, James Stroud has been generously supporting young guitarists in Ohio through his namesake guitar competition. It started as a University of Akron event (he completed his MM in Guitar Performance there in 1985), but migrated to Oberlin five years ago and became an All-Ohio event. The prizes, totaling $7,500, are larger than the prizes at most American guitar competitions, and the Ohio-only restriction gives students in the state a terrific and unique opportunity to find success. As host and producer, I coordinate the facility and publicity, hire the guest artists/judges, and of course, encourage my students to participate. I never judge.
This post is a photographic tour of our Stroud Competition weekend.
This year, we had as our guests the Rucco-James Duo. The Italian guitarist, Pasquale Rucco and American guitarist Douglas James specialize in 19th century music, and use period instruments (or copies) on stage. They played a program featuring music of Giuliani, L’Hoyer, Diabelli and others. (The complete program is at the end of the post).
Their gorgeous instruments were a decorative counterpoint to their elegant and spirited interpretations.
The Competition playoffs took place in one of our favorite rooms on campus, the David Stull Recital Hall.
In the late afternoon, I gave a solo recital in Kulas Recital Hall featuring my original works, Islamorada Suite, A Musical Congeries, and Suite Blue. (Complete program at end of post).
The finals, held in Kulas Recital Hall, took place that night. The finalists were (in alphabetical order) Julia Bodian (Oberlin), Mariam Hajialigol (Cleveland Institute), Alejandro Rodriquez (Cleveland Institute) and Craig Slagh (Oberlin). The prizes on offer were: 1st $3,000, 2nd $2000, 3rd $1000 and 4th $500 plus a special audience award of and additional $1,000. The audience were given a slip of paper and a pencil upon entering the hall and asked to pick their own favorites for tallying afterwards.
The finals were terrific, with a high level of musicianship all around. We heard a wide range of pieces, including works by Dowland and Bach, Regondi and Villa-Lobos, Turina and Morel, Ginastera and Britten and more. The final results were announced afterwards and were as follows:
1st prize: Alejandro Rodriguez ($3,000)
2nd prize: Julia Bodian ($2,000)
3rd Prize: Maryam Hajialigol ($1,000)
4th prize: Craig Slagh ($500)
Audience award: a tie between Julia Bodian and Craig Slagh, who each will get an additional $500
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FINALISTS!!!!
On Sunday, the duo taught a master class for the Oberlin students.
Caeli Massey started it off, with portions of Giuliani’s Variations, Op. 101.
Next, Collin Sterne played portions of Giuliani’s Rossiniane, Op. 119.
Finally, Craig Slagh played the Allegro from Bach’s BWV 998.
Thank you once again, James Stroud for your extraordinary commitment to helping young classical guitarists. And thanks again to our guests, the Rucco-James Duo. Congratulations to all the young guitarists who stepped forward to compete in this event and to participate in other ways, all meaningful and important. And of course, one more shout-out to our winners, Alejandro Rodriguez, Julia Bodian, Maryam Hajialigol and Craig Slagh!!!
We look forward to the next edition of this event!