Finalist Leonard Becker from Germany during the 2021 final. / sur

The international competition that bears the name of a great Spanish guitar player

The Andrés Segovia event attracts some of the world’s most talented young musicians

Jennie Rhodes
JENNIE RHODES

The Andrés Segovia international guitar competition, now in its 36th year, is taking place in La Herradura (Granada province) from Tuesday 22 to Saturday 26 November, in the town’s civic centre.

Every year the prestigious music event brings together the world’s most promising young guitarists, attracting participants from across the globe. This year 17 hopefuls from 12 different countries, including Greece, China, Ukraine and Mexico, have registered.

The competition bears the name of the great Spanish guitar player, who, having fallen in love with La Herradura on a visit to the town, bought a second home where he spent his summers.

On 6 June 1983, Segovia was officially named as an ‘adopted son’ of La Herradura and the town’s promenade, Paseo Marítimo Andrés Segovia was named after him.

It was also then that the idea of the international guitar competition was agreed with the aim of promoting the study of the Spanish guitar and after the musician’s death in 1987, it would go on to honour the memory of this great maestro.

The first competition

At the time Segovia stipulated that the quality of the competition should remain high, with a jury chaired by a music professional. Segovia proposed Antonio Martín Moreno, who was at that time (1984) director of the Granada International Music and Dance Festival, to be the first chair.

Thus began the first Andrés Segovia international classical guitar competition in January 1985, coinciding with the European Year of Music.

A requirement for registration is that entrants must be under 35 years of age and each piece that they perform must be done so from memory.

The competition consists of two qualifying rounds and a final, all of which are open to the public. On the first morning of the competition a draw is held at the civic centre to determine the order in which the contestants will perform in all rounds of the competition.

This year the finalists will perform the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo, accompanied by the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra.

The first prize consists of a cheque for 10,000 euros and a special edition Andrés Segovia Maestro guitar, handmade by the La Herradura-based British luthier Stephen Hill. The winner will also go on to give a recital and receive a master class at the Cervantes Institute in Munich in conjunction with the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts.

There are a number of other prizes, including the ‘Friends of La Herradura’ prize which goes to the youngest guitarist who passes the first round.

The Andrés Segovia international classical guitar competition has become a must for lovers of classical music and Spanish guitar.