BOULDER, Colorado: When guitar instructor Nicolò Spera came to the University of Colorado College of Music in 2011, he had visions of an international classical guitar competition in Boulder.
“It was one of my biggest dreams,” Spera says, “but I knew it would take a long time.”
As it turns out, he was wrong. Just a year and a half later the Italian native’s vision will become reality with the First CU International Guitar Festival & Competition, to be held Feb. 14-16 at the college.
Featuring three days of public competition between 41 guitarists from around the world, master classes for CU students and performances by internationally known artists such as SoloDuo and Adam Levin, it will be the first event of its kind in Boulder.
And world-class flamenco guitarist Paco Peña’s “Flamenco Vivo” tour, complete with guitar, song and dance, will take the stage at Macky Auditorium on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. The concert, part of CU Presents’ Artist Series helped to inspire Spera, along with a grant from the Roser Visiting Artist Program to bring SoloDuo to teach and perform at the College of Music.
“I thought, ‘This is terrific. We have Paco Peña, a grant to bring in SoloDuo. With more work and support, we could have the first guitar festival,’” he says.
Spera put the word out through music teachers around the country and advertised in Soundboard, the top American guitar magazine. He was gratified when so many young guitarists—from as far away as China, Latin America and Eastern Europe—agreed to participate, along with many Americans.
College of Music supporter Juli Steinhauer helped arrange accommodations in private Boulder residences for 30 competitors from other states and nations.
The first rounds of the competition will take place on Thursday and Friday, with performances by four finalists on Saturday in the Grusin Music Hall. The finalists will each receive juried prizes. There also will be an audience prize.
Spera hopes the festival will help spotlight the guitar program at CU and bring the art of classical guitar to Boulder audiences.
“There is a misperception that the guitar is only a folk instrument,” he says. “But the strength of the classical guitar is that you can play classical art music and speak to a lot of people.”
WHAT: The First CU International Guitar Festival & Competition WHEN: Feb. 14-16. Complete schedule.
WHERE: College of Music, University of Colorado Boulder campus
PHOTO: Click here for photos of Adam Levin and SoloDuo
ETC.: Paco Peña’s “Flamenco Vivo,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus. Tickets are $14 and up; go to cupresents.org or call 303-492-8008
PHOTO: Click here for a photo of Paco Peña.
Eds: Tara Lemieux/Kate Bartolotta
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