VANCOUVER CLASSICAL GUITAR FESTIVAL
In the span of a decades-long career, Peruvian born guitarist and composer Jorge Caballero has accrued wide recognition as one of the most important guitarists in history, being the recipient of several international awards, and performing in recitals, chamber music and as a soloist around the world.
Critics from international newspapers and guitar publications have praised Mr. Caballero’s depth of musicality, as well as his technical mastery when tackling the unique difficulties of his concert repertoire. Aside from the standard guitar literature he performs –which spans centuries of music from the Renaissance until the present, Mr. Caballero is notorious for adapting and performing masterworks originally written for piano or orchestra, among which we find Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite and Alban Berg’s Piano
Sonata Op. 1 to name a few. One critic in Italy referred to Mr. Caballero as “standing on top of the repertoire’s Mount Everest,” while the New York Times called him “a masterly guitarist” with “chameleonic timbres.”
Since his first solo recital at age thirteen, Mr. Caballero has given numerous concerts throughout the world, including performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress, and as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York’s Chamber Ensemble and Turkey’s Presidential Symphony. He has also collaborated with the Mendelssohn and the Miró String Quartets, with Soprano Theresa Santiago and flautists Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson and Carol Wincenc.
Born into a musical family, Mr. Caballero began his guitar studies at the age of ten at the Preparatory Division of the National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru with Eleodoro Mori, and years later, with Oscar Zamora. At age 12, he tied for First Prize at the Conservatory Guitar Competition, which included participants at the college-level division more than twice his age. The following year, he earned Second Prize at the Peruvian National Guitar Competition sponsored by Jeunesse Musicale, competing in the adult category. His first international award occurred in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the First Latin American Guitar Competition. He was 15. Additional awards include top prizes at the Luis Sigall International Competition, as well as the Tokyo and Alhambra guitar competitions.
In 1996, at the age of 19, he earned First Prize at the Walter W. Naumburg International Competition in New York City, a unique award for musicians often compared to the Pulitzer Prize. To this day, he is the youngest musician and only guitarist to have ever received this award.
As of 2021, Mr. Caballero has been appointed to the Guitar Faculty at the University of Toronto in Canada. He is also part-time faculty at Kean State University in the United States, and Honorary Professor at the National University of Music in Lima, Peru.
Julia Lockhart is Principal Bassoon of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and is from Calgary, Alberta. Julia is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in bassoon and a Diploma in harpsichord. Her Masters was completed through studies at Yale and UBC. Her teachers have included Bernard Garfield, Nadina Mackie Jackson, Michael Hope, Frank Morelli, and Jesse Read.
As a teacher, Julia has served on the bassoon faculty at UBC, given master classes at other Canadian universities, and has been a guest artist at the Pacific Region Summer Music Academy. She is especially dedicated to helping students of any instrument understand and manage performance anxiety. Alongside cellist Olivia Blander, Julia is the co-creator and teacher of a six-part course on this subject at the VSO School of Music. She has given guest presentations on performance anxiety for the VSO Institute, VSO Connects, the University of Toronto, and the annual Music Cares Conference in 2022.
Michael Kolk has established himself as one of Canada's most accomplished classical guitarists. He has performed at festivals and concert halls throughout North America and Europe both as a soloist and as part of chamber ensembles.
Michael has collaborated with numerous musicians in both classical and popular genres. He made his debut with orchestra as a soloist with the Toronto Philharmonia and has also performed with the Canadian Opera Company, Opera in Concert, Tapestry Opera, and CineConcerts, among others.
He has released nine albums to date. These include four solo recordings, the most recent being a collection of 20th century guitar sonatas, released in April of 2020. His five duo recordings include three albums as part of the HK Guitar Duo with Drew Henderson, as well as collaborations with guitarist Jeffrey McFadden, and violinist Laurence Kayaleh. His albums have been released on labels such as Naxos, Alma Records, and Deosonic Music, and have received glowing reviews and frequent radio play in Canada and the US.
Michael has been a top prize winner at numerous guitar competitions. He holds an ARCT performance diploma from the Royal Conservatory, as well as Master's degree in guitar performance from the University of Toronto.
He currently resides in Vancouver, BC, where he teaches from his home studio.
Anna Pietrzak is a versatile guitarist, recording artist, pedagogue, adjudicator and founder of the Vancouver Guitar Orchestra. Anna is a laureate of over a dozen guitar competitions in Europe. She has performed solo recitals and as a soloist with chamber music ensembles and orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and North America. In 2017 she made her Canadian debut with the Toronto Concert Orchestra under the baton of Kerry Stratton.
Anna graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Piraeus, Greece, and received her PhD from the Academy of Music
in Wroclaw. She has released three albums, all of which received positive reviews from the press.
Anna teaches students of all ages, from beginner to university and postgraduate levels. Because of her vast experience and inspiration her students are laureates of national and international guitar competitions.
Simon Farintosh is an award-winning guitarist, composer, and educator based in Toronto, ON. He is known for his unconventional programming choices, connecting with audiences by integrating the classical guitar with contemporary forms such as ambient electronica, popular music, and jazz.
Simon began his guitar studies in 2004 at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Stephen Lochbaum, Bradford Werner, and esteemed Romero protege Dr. Alexander Dunn. Simon continued to study with Dr. Dunn at the University of Victoria, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in 2018. Simon's musical pursuits later took him to Milwaukee, WI, where he completed a Master's Degree at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2020. Here, he was a student and teaching assistant to Rene Izquierdo, a renowned Cuban virtuoso and revered pedagogue.
Currently, Simon is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto, where he is a student of Dr. Jeffrey McFadden. His doctoral thesis is centred around devising an effective sight-reading curriculum for undergraduate guitar students. Simon's performances have garnered him top awards in various national and international competitions. He was the 1st Prize winner of the 2018 Northwest Guitar Festival in Spokane, WA, and was recently awarded First Prize in the 2022 Ottawa Guitar Society Composition Competition for his original piece 'Distant Light.'
Alec Pearson enjoys a career based in Vancouver where he currently serves as sessional instructor of guitar at the University of British Columbia. Alec has performed both solo and in ensemble across Canada, Spain, Colombia, Greece and the U.S. He currently serves as president of the “Vancouver Classic Guitar Society” where he works to organize many concerts, lectures masterclasses and social events.
Alec holds the degree “Máster en Interpretación de Guitarra Clasica” from the Universitat d’Alacant in Alicante, Spain, where he studied with an array of the best guitarists in the world, including; David Russell, Pepe Romero, Manuel Barrueco, Roberto Aussel, Paul Galbraith and Fabio Zanon to list a few.
Prior to studying abroad, Alec earned a Masters degree from the University of British Columbia where he studied with internationally renowned Canadian guitarist and his longtime mentor Daniel Bolshoy. In 2012 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Montreal. He was born and raised in Calgary where he first received exposure to the guitar under the tutelage of Jose Fermin. During his youth, he was an active member and performer in the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary and began his own teaching career at the age of 17.
Lucida is a highly enthusiastic and accomplished musician, educator, and pianist. She holds a Bachelor of Music as well as a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. With over 15 years of experience teaching piano and music theory to students of all ages and levels, Lucida has positively impacted numerous students' lives.
She has successfully prepared her students for the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) practical and theory examinations as well as local festivals, where they have achieved First Class Honours and obtained top prizes.
Additionally, Lucida has extensive experience as a music teacher in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, showcasing her adaptability and
to fostering passion and love for music across diverse settings. Her experience teaching at IB schools have also influenced her to see the value of being inquirers and communicators, which she always encourage her students to be.
LUIS ANGEL MEDINA
Directing the festival is Luis Angel Medina, an avid performer and teacher across North America. He is the recipient of the Silver Medal from the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition and holds a Masters degree from the University of Georgia in Athens. Luis’s career has taken him to perform in various cities in Europe, China and all over North America.
Luis Medina began his formal studies enrolling in the Music Diploma at the University of Guadalajara at the age of fifteen. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Guitar performance from University of British Columbia and a Music Diploma from Capilano University. He received his Masters of Music degree from the University of Georgia in Athens under the mentorship and guidance guitarist Dr. Daniel Bolshoy where he
functioned as Guitar Teacher Assistant. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Director's Excellence Award which recognizes students for excellence in musicianship, scholarship, leadership, and service.
Luis is now back in the Lower Mainland where he continues to promote the guitar through teaching, performing and organizing public events that lead to the spread of music in the larger community with the aid of the Vancouver Classic Guitar Society. He has made appearances as soloist, performing Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s first guitar concerto with A Little Night Music Orchestra and other occasions. He currently serves as music director of the Elgar Strings. Luis aims to inspire others by sharing his love for music, and to bring the classical guitar to the larger community.
Luis is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program at the University of Toronto, where he is conducting research on the life and music of the prolific contemporary Mexican composer, Julio Cesar Oliva, under the guidance of acclaimed Canadian guitarist Dr. Jeffrey McFadden. He continues to promote the guitar through public events and performances as well as through his active involvement with the Toronto Guitar Society, where he serves as Director of Operations.
Luis was recently appointed as Guitar Instructor at Capilano University