Three Southlanders are among 15 competitors chosen to compete in the Parkening International Guitar Competition, which is held every three years at Pepperdine University, it was announced Monday.
The competition, scheduled for May 30-June 1, honors the lifetime commitment of classical guitar virtuoso and Pepperdine music professor Christopher Parkening, to fostering musical excellence in young artists, according to the university.
Bokyung Byun, 24, of Los Angeles, Cody Noriega, 26, of Riverside and Alex Park, 26, of Culver City, are among seven Americans in the competition. The rest of the field is made up of guitarists from Italy, Spain, China, Russia and Ukraine. The age range of the competitors is 19 to 29.
Three of the competitors will advance to the final round on June 1 to perform a concerto with the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra before a live audience in Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre. The gold, silver, and bronze medalists will be announced at the conclusion of the final round.
The competition will be judged by Mia Bongiovanni, assistant general manager of media and presentations for the Metropolitan Opera; Charlotte Lee, president and founder of Primo Artists; Steve Schoen, former vice president of Sony Music Masterworks and Sony/BMG; recording producer David Thomas; and Pablo Sainz Villegas, winner of the 2006 Parkening International Guitar Competition.
In addition to the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Pepperdine will present the Parkening Young Guitarist Competition on May 28-29. The 10 competitors, ages 17 and younger, include Southern Californians Maggie Grether, 15, of Pasadena; Evelyn Nguyen, 16, of Monrovia; Garrett Podgorski, 17, of Burbank; and Joseph Malvinni, 11, of Santa Barbara, along with four Northern California youths and one each from Australia and South Korea.
The Parkening Competition, which debuted in 2006, offers the largest prize purse of any classical guitar competition in the world, with competitors vying for cash awards that total in excess of $65,000, according to Pepperdine. The winner of the competition receives a gold medal, the Jack Marshall Prize of $30,000, “and the most prestigious title in classical guitar,” according to the university.
The 2019 competition is funded by a grant from philanthropists Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, as well as film producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy.
For information about tickets, call the Smothers Theatre box office at (310) 506-4522.