Petrit Çeku was born in 1985 in Prizren, Kosovo, where he received instruction from Luan Sapunxhiu. In 2002, he moved to Zagreb, Croatia, where he continued his music education under the instruction of Xhevdet Sahatxhija and later entering Darko Petrinjak’s class at the Music Academy in Zagreb, from where he graduated in 2008.
Mr. Çeku has won top prizes in numerous competitions. Among them first prize in the All-Croatian Competition in Dubrovnik in 2003 as well as first prize in the international guitar competition Anna Amalia in Weimar, Germany. The following year he won the Emilio Pujol guitar competition in Sassari, Italy, as well as the Andrés Segovia in Velbert, Germany. Also in 2004, he represented Croatia in the European Music Prize for Youth in Dubrovnik and won first prize, as well as the Croatian Composers’ Union prize for the performance of a work by a Croatian composer. He was the only guitarist in the international young music artists’ competition Ferdo Livadic in Samobor, Croatia, and won first prize by unanimous decision of the jury. He also won the annual prize of The Croatian Music Youth in the year 2005.
Mr. Çeku was awarded the Silver Medal in The Parkening Competition in Malibu, California, and second prize in the Printemps de la Guitare in Charleroi, Belgium in 2006. By winning the Pittaluga Competition in Alessandria, Italy (2007), Petrit Çeku established himself as one of the leading guitarists of the young generation. In 2008, Petrit Çeku was awarded the annual prize of The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra as The Best Young Musician of the Year 2008, and his first solo CD was released on the Naxos label.
Of the most recent competitions, he won first prize in the Maurizio Biasini in Bolsano, Italy, and the Schadt String Competition in Allentown, PA, in 2011, and in April 2012, Petrit Çeku was awarded first prize in The Parkening Competition in Malibu, California.
Mr. Çeku performs regularly with symphony orchestras as well as in chamber music setting with various musicians. This coming season he will tour Russia with the Zagreb Soloists, and he will play solo recitals in the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Canada, Croatia, and in the United States.
Petrit Çeku currently studies with Manuel Barrueco in the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA.
Born in 1991, Jeremy Lutty began playing the classical guitar as a sophomore in high school at the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland, after having been a cellist since an early age.
In Baltimore, Lutty started his guitar studies under the direction of Dr. Orlando Roman. Since then, he was the 2009 1st and grand prizewinner of the 3rd Annual Beatty Music Competition and made his solo debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. shortly afterward, where he premiered music by English guitar composer Vincent Lindsey-Clark. He has also performed in numerous master classes for prominent guitarists that include Victor Villadangos, Denis Azabagic, and Pepe Romero.
Lutty was a 2009 recipient of the Al Sanders Foundation for Music Studies Fund Scholarship as well as the 2009 Maryland Senatorial Scholarship.
Jeremy Lutty is currently completing his undergraduate degree under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.
A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Jeremy Lyons began studying the classical guitar at a young age with his father Glenn Lyons, who is the professor of classical guitar at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Along with the guitar, Jeremy studied the cello growing up with Ovidiu Marinescu, who is a professor of cello and orchestral conductor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Lyons received a BM in guitar performance (Summa Cum Laude) from the Florida State University, where he studied for four years with Bruce Holzman, and holds an MM in Guitar Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Manuel Barrueco. While attending Florida State University, he also studied the viola da gamba with professor Pamela Andrews, the Renaissance lute with Anthony Rooley, and the gu-zheng (an ancient Chinese zither) with Haiqiong Deng. He was a member of the FSU Viols, the FSU Chinese Ensemble, and he regularly accompanied the FSU Early Music Ensembles, under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Kite-Powell.
As a guitarist, Jeremy Lyons has performed in cities throughout the U.S. such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and in several master classes for artists including Franco Platino, Scott Tennant, and Manuel Barrueco. While maintaining an active performing career, Jeremy Lyons is also the current guitar instructor at A.R.T.I-S.T music education center in Perry Hall Maryland. Most recently he has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop in their 2010 Gala Concert. He was also recently awarded first prize in the 2009 Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Student Competition in the collegiate division.
Jeremy Lyons is currently completing his DMA at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studies with Manuel Barrueco.
Jorge Aurelio Menendez was born in Washington, DC, where he began his classical guitar studies under Berta Rojas at the Washington Conservatory of Music at the age of 11. He was an honors student at the conservatory every year, and finished his studies there under the teaching of Orlando Roman. Mr. Menendez has won numerous prizes, among them 1st prize in both the junior and senior divisions in the annual John and Susie Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar in addition to the annual composer awards for the Best Performance of an Agustín Barrios Composition in 2008, of an Antonio Lauro Composition in 2009, of an Heitor Villa-lobos Composition in 2010, and of a Manuel Ponce Composition most recently in 2011. These prizes brought him to perform at the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts several times since 2008. He also performed there in 2008 at the Capitol Talents Performance, having been selected to represent the Washington Conservatory of Music. In 2010, Mr. Menendez was selected to perform music of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, as part of a program with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra intended to display music from different cultures of the world.
Mr. Menendez has participated in numerous master classes with renowned guitarists such as Pepe Romero, Denis Azabagic, Jason Vieaux, Victor Villadangos, Marcin Dylla, and Piraí Vaca.
He is currently pursuing a dual degree at the Johns Hopkins University and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD, where he is majoring in classical guitar performance under the guidance of Manuel Barrueco.
Oscar Somersalo was born in 1990 in Vantaa, Finland and started playing the guitar at the age of 6. Somersalo began his guitar studies at East-Helsinki Music Institute under the guidance of Paul Pajarinen and later continued under Carlo Ambrosio in Italy. In 2012 he completed his Bachelor of Music degree in the Sibelius Academy under the direction of Andrzej Wilkus.
Somersalo has performed in several countries. In 2008 he performed at Tucsia Guitar Festival in Italy, and in 2009 at the Chamber Music Festival in Kauhava in Finland. In 2009 he won the 2nd prize in the international guitar competition “Ciudad de Llerena” in Spain. In 2011 he performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki.
Oscar Somersalo has taken part in master classes by several guitarists such as Eduardo Fernandez, Marco Socias, Lorenzo Micheli, Paul Galbraith, and Massimo Felici.
Currently he studies under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA.
Born in the coastal city of Qingdao, in the province of Shandong, China in 1988, Meng Su demonstrated her artistic gifts as an exceptionally talented guitarist from an early age.
Embarking on an exciting guitar career as one of the most outstanding guitarists of her generation, Meng Su began her training in classical guitar with renowned Professor Chen Zhi at the age of nine, where she quickly began attracting attention as a remarkable young talent. Before graduating from the High School of the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2006, Ms. Su had already won many awards, including the 5th Vienna Youth Guitar Competition, the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the Christopher Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and the 2nd Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany.
In her short time as a performing artist, she has performed solo, duo, and quartet concerts across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Korea, Japan, Holland, Germany, Finland, and China, in which she has impressed audiences with ability and artistry that exceeds her years. As a recipient of the Solomon H. Snyder Award, Ms. Su made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in April of 2010.
Ms. Su’s discography includes a live CD and DVD release of a 2005 guitar concert in Korea as well as a release of Four Angels in Korea. Meng Su’s duo recording with Yameng Wang (Beijing Guitar Duo) called Maracaípe, received a Latin GRAMMY nomination for the featured work Maracaípe, written and dedicated to them by composer Sergio Assad. Their second recording Recital: From Bach to Tan Dun is scheduled to be released in October 2011.
Ms. Su, a recipient of the Fanny B. Thalheimer Memorial Scholarships, recently obtained her Performer’s Certificate and her Graduate Performance Certificate from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA. She is currently continuing her studies with guitar virtuoso Manuel Barrueco, in the Graduate Performance Diploma program in chamber music.
Born in Qingdao, China in 1981, Yameng Wang fell in love with the classical guitar at a young age and began studying with the leading guitar professor in China, Chen Zhi, when she was 10 years old.
She became the youngest champion of the 36th Tokyo International Guitar Competition at the age of 12. She went on to win second prize in the 28th Michele Pittaluga International Guitar Competition in Italy at the age of 13, and at the age of 14 she was invited by Radio France to perform at the 27th Paris International Guitar Art Week.
Ms. Wang has given acclaimed recitals across the US, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Germany, Britain, Austria, Finland, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia both as a soloist and in chamber music setting. As a recipient of the Solomon H. Snyder Award, Yameng Wang did her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in April of 2010 with her duo partner Meng Su.
Her first album, Caprice was recorded when she was 16 years old. A Very Special Album was released in 1999, and in 2003 she contributed GHA’s album, The Best of Classical Guitar. In 2005 Classic Guitar—Aquarelle, Un Sueño en la Floresta was released. Her first duo recording, Maracaípe, with duo partner Meng Su, received a Latin GRAMMY nomination for the featured work Maracaípe, written and dedicated to them by composer Sergio Assad. Their second recording Recital: From Bach to Tan Dun is scheduled to be released in October 2011.
After graduating from the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree, Ms. Wang, a recipient of the Sylvia Friedberg Nachlas Endowed Scholarship, enrolled in the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore with a full scholarship. There, she finished her Master of Music degree in 2008, the Graduate Performance Diploma in guitar in 2011, and she is currently enrolled in the Chamber Music GPD program with guitar great Manuel Barrueco.
John Marcel Williams was born in 1994 in Wintersville, Ohio. He began to play the guitar at the age of 9, and began studying with Stephen Aron, professor of guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory, at age 13.
Mr. Williams has won over 20 prizes in national and international youth competitions. These include first prize at the Boston Guitar Fest, first prize at the Stroud Guitar Competition, first prize at the Rosario Guitar Fest, first prize at the Classical Minds guitar competition, and first prize in both youth divisions at the ECU Guitar Festival to name a few. In addition, he was recently awarded second prize at the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition and he is the winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Young Artist Award.
In 2011, John Marcel Williams was a featured as soloist on National Public Radio’s program From the Top, and was the recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.
Mr. Williams has performed in master classes with guitarists such as Jason Vieaux, Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, Eduardo Fernandez, and Bruce Holzman, and he is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studies with Manuel Barrueco.
Originally a violinist, Jonathan Zwi began playing the classical guitar at the age of 18 when he found a passion for the instrument during his undergraduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree under the direction of José Antonio López, Julio Ribeiro and Ernesto Bitetti.
In addition to his degree in Music, Mr. Zwi also received degrees in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. He was the recipient of several research fellowships at both Indiana and Yale Universities, and has presented his work at research conferences across the United Sates. In 2002, he won a grant from the NIH to conduct research on the structural connectivity of the macaque cerebral cortex with Dr. Olaf Sporns, with whom he co-authored a paper that was subsequently published in Neuroinformatics.
In June of 2007, Mr. Zwi moved to Brazil to focus on the guitar and re-identify with his heritage and in July he won first place in the 1st Eustáquio Grilo International Guitar Competition. As part of his award he toured Brazil, performing concerts in the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
During his time in Brazil, Mr. Zwi was a student at the School of Music at the Federal University of Bahia under the guidance of Mario Ulloa. He was also enrolled in the University’s School of Fine Arts, specializing in printmaking, silkscreen and photography, and has shown his work in various exhibits and galleries throughout Salvador, Bahia. He has continued to exhibit his work upon returning to the United States.
Currently at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Zwi is the Graduate Assistant in Guitar to Manuel Barrueco and in Musicologoy to Dr. Elizabeth Tolbert. He has been the recipient of the Richard Franko Goldman Prize for Performance as well as the Presser Foundation Award. He completed his Master’s degree under the guidance of Ray Chester and is currently a candidate in the doctoral program under Manuel Barrueco.