Fourth Annual International Festival Featured 55 Competitors from 35 Cities. Milwaukee-area business leader sponsors increased prize money for future competitions
Brookfield, WI (August 25, 2016) Hailing from 12 cities around the country, the winners of the fourth annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival were announced on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts (Wilson Center). Semi-final and final competition rounds took place over the three-day event from Aug. 18-20, with 55 guitarists from 35 cities around the world invited to compete for their share of $22,000 in cash prizes.
First-place winners in each genre received $3,000, as well as the opportunity to open for festival headliner and jazz legend Al Di Meola on Saturday, Aug. 20. They also will have the chance to perform on the stages of Summerfest 2017. Second-place winners in each genre received $1,500, and third-place winners in each genre received $1,000. Guitarists were allowed to compete in up to two genres.
In the Classical competition, first place was awarded to Steven Lerman (Tucson, Ariz.), second place was awarded to Samuel Hines (Milwaukee, Wis.), and third place was awarded to Noe Garcia (Columbus, Ga.).
In the Fingerstyle competition, first place was awarded to Brian Burke (Roanoke, Va.), second place was awarded to Adam Bjoraker (Shorewood, Wis.), and third place was awarded to Benjamin Davis (Minneapolis, Minn).
In the Jazz competition, first place was awarded to Jordan Rattner (Brown Deer, Wis.), second place was awarded to Jacob Kelberman (Philadelphia, Pa.), and third place was awarded to James DaSilva (Nashville, Tenn.).
In the Rock/Blues competition, first place was awarded to Andre Reilly (Algonquin, Ill.), second place was awarded to Jonathan Smith (Winchester, Va.), and third place was awarded to Aaron Bissoondial (Wayne, N.J.).
“Since 2013, the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival has welcomed more than 200 competitors from 18 different countries, and it is our goal to make sure that they receive a life-changing experience,” said Guitar Festival Manager Don Sipe. “From the connections they make with their fellow competitors to the opportunity to share ideas and jam with fellow guitarists to the master classes offered by seminal performers, this weekend is a tremendous stepping stone in each of their careers.”
The complete list of all semi-finalists invited to the 2016 competition is available online at www.wilson-center.com/guitar-2016-semifinalists.
Now in its fourth year, the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival is the only guitar competition and festival in the world to feature four different genres—Rock/Blues, Jazz, Classical, and Fingerstyle—with simultaneous live competitions, master classes, guitar industry exhibits, and ticketed concert events. Opportunities to participate in the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival were not limited to competitors. In addition to the live competition rounds that were free and open to the public, this year’s festival included ticketed world class headliners Duo Montesinos Tamayo, Andy McKee, and Al Di Meola, and activities for music lovers of all ages.
Planning is already underway for the fifth anniversary in 2017, and as a result of a generous donation from Milwaukee-area business leader Mark Cameli, the Wilson Center was able to announce to competitors and audiences in attendance at the Di Meola concert on Saturday that there will be an increase in next year’s prize money. First place winners in all four genres will receive $5,000; second place will receive $2,000; and third place will receive $1,000.
The 2016 Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival is sponsored by Festival Sponsors Cascio Interstate Music, Krause Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Summerfest, Wilson Family Foundation, David Uihlein, John Shiely, Vince Shiely, Marcus Theatres (in-kind partner), Urban Milwaukee (in-kind partner), D’Addario Foundation (in-kind partner); Show Sponsors Enterforce and WISN 12; and Competition Prize Sponsors Lynn Chappy, DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C., American Transmission Company, Boelter Super Stores, and Strings by Mail (in-kind partner).
Pictured in attached photo, L-R: Steven Lerman (1st place winner, Classical), Jordan Rattner (1st place winner, Jazz), Brian Burke (1st place winner, Fingerstyle), and Andre Reilly (1st place winner, Rock/Blues). Individual images and bios for the 2016 Guitar Competition & Festival winners are available upon request.
About the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival
Now in its fourth year, the Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival is a three-day, four-genre international event that celebrates the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow. Featuring four different competitions—Classical, Fingerstyle, Jazz, and Rock/Blues—with 22,000 in cash prizes and world-class ticketed headliner concerts, the festival also free activities for music lovers of all ages. To learn more, visit www.wcguitarfest.com.
About the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts is one of the finest multi-disciplinary cultural arts centers in the United States, with a mission to be the catalyst for lifelong discovery and exploration of the Arts. As a year-round hub of activity, the Wilson Center presents performances by world-renowned artists and ensembles; offers arts education opportunities; curates the Ploch Art Gallery, which features both national and Wisconsin-based fine artists; and is committed to extending the arts beyond the walls of the Center through Lynn Chappy ArtsPark—a vibrant, outdoor sculpture landscape that will engage and inspire the broader Southeastern Wisconsin Community. In August, the annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival celebrates the world’s leading classical, rock/blues, jazz, and fingerstyle guitarists. The Center nurtures lifelong learning through innovative programs and classes for all interests, ages, and abilities in state-of-the-art studios and classrooms. Some of Southeast Wisconsin’s finest arts organizations offer professional instruction at the Wilson Center, including First Stage Theater Academy, Trinity Irish Dance Academy, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. From performances and recitals to meetings and special events, our beautiful spaces are available for rental to individuals, schools, organizations, and corporations throughout the community. To learn more, visit www.wilson-center.com.
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