Young guitar talent shines in Almuñécar

Stephen Hill, Marko Topchii and Almuñécar mayor Trinidad Herrera.
Stephen Hill, Marko Topchii and Almuñécar mayor Trinidad Herrera. / SUR
  • The top prize in Andrés Segovia competition goes to Ukrainian musician Marko Topchii

The 35th La Herradura international Andrés Segovia classical guitar competition finished with Marko Topchii (Kiev, 1991) from Ukraine wining first prize.

Second prize went to Vera Danilina from Russia while Mircea Gogoncea from Romania took third. Gogoncea was last year's first prize winner.

Topchii has also participated in the competition before and came second in 2019.

The young musician comes from a musical family and started playing the guitar when he was just four years old. He finished his Masters at the National University of Arts in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 2011.

"It has been very exciting to be with other guitarists and the audience's reaction was incredible. This is the first big prize for me in my career as a guitarist," Topchii said after receiving his award. This included a 10,000-euro cash prize, a classical guitar made by British luthier and La Herradura resident Stephen Hill and a recital at this year's city of Úbeda international music festival.

Stephen Hill (London, 1967) has lived in La Herradura since 2004 where he his built up a reputation as a world-class classical and flamenco Spanish tradition guitar-maker and is a talented flamenco guitarist.

Hill has also been teaching the art of guitar-making since 1994 and runs workshops.

On presenting the guitar to Marko Topchii, Hill said, "It is an honour for me and I am proud to be able to contribute this guitar towards the first prize."

Mayor of Almuñécar Trinidad Herrera, who presented the prizes, said, "It is an honour that Stephen Hill, a resident of La Herradura with his workshop in the town, is participating".

In 2019 the luthier provided the second-prize guitar. This year the instrument won by the runner-up was mad by Granada-based guitar-makers, Guitarras Alhambra, under the direction of luthier Javier Mengual.

Organisers of the competition say the objective is the promotion and study of Spanish guitar music and to honour the memory of the renowned Spanish classical guitarist Andrés Segovia (1893-1981) who owned a holiday home in La Herradura and spent a lot of time in the town, earning the title of 'adopted son'.