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Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

IU Jacobs School of Music hosts Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition

March 22, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will host the second annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition this Saturday and Sunday (March 26-27).

The competition finals will be held on Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Auer Hall. The youth competition will be held earlier the same day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Sweeney Hall. A first prize of $1,500 is offered in the Open Division, with a top prize of $300 in the Youth Division.

All events are free and open to the public.

"It is my pleasure to host the second annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition," said Ernesto Bitetti, chair of the Jacobs Guitar Department. "Because of a very successful first year, we have added a youth division. We have also engaged two of the best guitarists on the European and American circuits."

Featured performances will include guest Berta Rojas, on Saturday, March 26, at 8 p.m. in Auer Hall. The program includes works by Agustin Barrios, Vincent Lindsey-Clark, Edin Solis, Quique Sinesi, Byeong Woo Lee and Egberto Barrios.

Guest Aniello Desiderio will perform on Sunday, March 27, at 8 p.m. in Auer Hall. His program will feature classics by Isaac Albeniz, Federico Moreno Torroba, Joaquin Turina and Mauro Giuliani.

Events during this year's festival can be watched live online at

Judges include Petar Jankovic, lecturer in the Guitar Department; Atanas Tzvetkov, director of the Jacobs School's Pre-College Guitar Program; harp professor Elzbieta Szmyt; Early Music Institute harpsichord professor Elisabeth Wright; jazz pianist and professor Luke Gillespie; Latin American Music Center director Carmen Helena Téllez; guest recitalist Desiderio; and Bitetti.

The Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition is open to guitarists who are not represented by professional management. First prize winners are ineligible to compete the following year.

Sponsors for the festival include Aranjuez Strings, Bloomington Classical Guitar Society, Foundation Anton Garcia Abril, Foundation Espinosa, IU Office of International Affairs and Strings by Mail.

About Berta Rojas

Berta Rojas is a professor of guitar at George Washington University and the Washington Conservatory of Music in Washington, D.C., and is Paraguay's ambassador of tourism.

As an international performer, Rojas moves easily between classical and other musical genres. She has captivated music lovers on frequent tours in the Americas and has appeared at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Frederick P. Rose Hall at Lincoln Center. She has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the South Bank Centre in London and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, as soloist of the RTE Irish Radio and Television Orchestra. She opened the Summit of the First Ladies of the Americas in Paraguay, attended by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rojas holds a master's degree in music from Peabody Conservatory and was named a Kennedy Center Fellow of the Americas.

Rojas is committed to furthering the growth of classical guitar in the Americas, with particular focus on supporting young performers. In the summer of 2009, she created the first online classical guitar competition, Barrios WorldWideWeb Competition. She established the Ibero-American Guitar Festival in collaboration with the Association of Ibero-American Cultural Attaches held at the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and served as the festival's artistic director for four years. She also helped to establish the Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar for young people up to 18 years of age and served as its director for the first year and as artistic director the next three years.

About Aniello Desiderio

Born in Naples in 1971, Aniello Desiderio started playing guitar at a very young age, studying with B. B. D' Amario and Stefano Aruta. He also attended musical interpretation classes with Leo Brouwer, who chose Desiderio for special group lessons. In 1992, he graduated with honors from the Conservatory of Music in Alessandria.

Desiderio won his first international award at age 18 and has earned many awards since. His international career started in 1989 during the International Guitar Festival in Volos, Greece. He has also performed in Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Cuba, Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan and the United States as both soloist and with orchestras. He has many radio and television credits.

In 2003, Desiderio co-founded the World Guitar Ensemble, which toured Europe. In 2004, he founded Napoletanissim with his brothers, Gennaro and Gaetano Desiderio, and other great Italian musicians. In 2006, he joined Costas Cotsiolis to perform flamenco as the DUO Aniello Desiderio & Costas Cotsiolis.

For more information about the festival, visit