Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) announced it will cancel its 2020 International Concert Artist Competition.

Before, GFA moved to a format with the preliminary round taking place in online format, as the last event on its online convention. The semifinal and final would be live in November, in Los Angeles.

GFA decided to prefer cancel this year’s edition of its most prestigious guitar competition considering the cancelation “as preferable to crowning a winner who would always have an asterisk next to their name”. Read its full announcement at https://www.guitarfoundation.org/news/519809/ICAC-Update.htm

The 2020 Ensemble Guitar Competition was cancelled previously, and the Youth Guitar Competition was held during the Convention in a 100% online format, awarding the following musicians:

Junior Division
1st: Buliao Que (China)
2nd: Qianzheng Wang (China)
3rd: Tudor Torge (Romania)
4th: Mikhail Likhachev (Russia)

Senior Division
1st: Eric Wang (US)
2nd: Aytahn Benavi (US) 
3rd: Xu Kun (Alan) Liu (Canada)
4th: Ruien Li (China) 

As this is a personal blog, not a news blog, I would like to add my opinion on this: I understand that an established organization has to deal with tradition. It includes both the benefit and the burden of tradition. But I believe GFA has lost a great opportunity.

Specially on times which inclusion is so important, GFA failed to see the money wall that prevents several gifted performers to participate in guitar competitions. No wonder why more talent on the classical guitar world have been arising from the cheap-and-easy door of YouTube and Spotify and it’s no surprise that year after year guitar competition winners have smaller, shorter, and briefier careers.

In addition, the USA government has made it more difficult for people from several nations enter its borders – even for tourism only. Besides the money wall to climb (the high costs of participating on a music competition), there is also the immigrations wall that creates more obstacles for enrolling a music event hosted in the US.

I dare to say that music competitions that understood that their role to put a limelight on unknown and unrevealed talent is still important, and that online competitions do offer a chance to regain significance in a musical world driven by social media instead of “quality stamps” by leading authorities, will be the next leading and traditional competitions on the following years. Traditions are alive, and keep modifying themselves. Believe it or not, Santa Claus haven’t dress red all life long.

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