Andrew Blanch has won the main prize in the 2016 Melbourne International Guitar Competition.

Sydney-based guitarist Andrew Blanch has won the top prize in the Open section of the 2016 Melbourne International Guitar Competition. The competition, which is part of the Melbourne International Guitar Festival, took place in Melbourne University’s Melba Hall, where Blanch competed against four other finalists.

“It is a very nice feeling,” Blanch told Limelight following the win. “I know many of the other competitors personally, and so many of them play so well. I feel very flattered and grateful to have been selected for the first prize amidst such impressive company.”

Sydney-based guitarist Andrew Blanch

Italian guitarist Gian Marco Ciampo came in second and Australian Stephanie Jones took out third place, performing in front of a panel comprised of Adriano Del Sal, Daniel Mckay, Benjamin Dix, Chrystian Dozza and Michael MacManus.

Blanch performed Bach’s Fugue BWV 1000 in A Minor, Brabisimo! by 20th-century Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and finished off his programme with Scherzo Vals by Spanish composer Miguel Llobet. “It’s a very a difficult little piece and doesn’t always come off,” Blanch said, “but if it goes right, it’s a cheeky and fun thing full of wild scales that come from nowhere, sudden changes of mood, unexpected modulations and false endings. I chose it for some light relief from what was up until this point quite a heavy and serious programme.”

In addition to $1000 prize money, the prize for first place includes an 8-concert national tour in 2017. “For me, to win something like this is a confirming experience and and gives me more confidence to pursue concert opportunities and perform more regularly here and overseas,” said Blanch.

For Blanch, the win comes off the back of two third prizes earlier in the year, the Maurizio Biasini International Guitar Competition in San Francisco and the Adelaide International Guitar Competition. “To have finished the year with a first prize like this has made it feel like a very successful year for me.”

– Article taken from: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/news/sydney-based-guitarist-takes-home-melbourne-prize

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