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UGA student places 2nd in International Guitar Competition

Alan Flurry

Hugh Hodgson School of Music DMA student Gonzalo Arias Contreras won the silver medal at the Florida Guitar Festival and Competition held annually in Tallahassee, Florida in October. Contreras is a student of Daniel Bolshoy, who also performing a solo recital and taught a masterclass at the festival.

The Florida Guitar Festival and Competition is a performance competition where musicians from all over the world come to compete in three rounds. Eight semi-finalists were selected, from which three final place medals awarded. Each finalist played a fifteen-minute program. UGA previously had a fourth-place winner, Krystin O'Mara, a finalist in 2016. She is currently pursuing a DMA in guitar at the Hodgson School.

“Gonzalo distinguished himself with very virtuosic performances of pieces by Rodrigo, Ponce, Malats and Piazzolla,” said Bolshoy. “Gonzalo played with a beautiful sound, great projection and a truly fiery stage presence. He received wild applause at the conclusion of this performance."

Contreras came to UGA from Chile, and professor Bolshoy moved to Athens from Canada. The Florida Guitar Festival and Competition, much like UGA, is true gathering place of musicians from distant countries, working together to make music on the national and international stages. While teaching his masterclass, Bolshoy met other guitar students from a variety of places and backgrounds. “It was a pleasure to work with these advanced students in my masterclass, after which several students submitted their application for graduate study at UGA. Hopefully we'll see some of these promising players here in the near future,” Bolshoy said.

Gonzalo will be performing in numerous recitals at the HHSOM during his degree, his upcoming guitar recitals are scheduled for November 7th and November 15th. Visit the calendar at to learn more about all upcoming performances.

Reporting by Camille Hayes, communication coordinator in the Hodgson School.

Image: Photo of Arias Contreras (left) and Bolshoy.

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