Junhong Kuang, who is 15 years old, has achieved tremendous notoriety in a very short amount of time. He began to receive professional training in classical guitar under the guidance of Professor Xu Bao in August 2009. Two years later he won first prize in the Thailand International Guitar Competition, and shortly thereafter awarded fourth prize at the Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany, where he was also awarded a prize for best interpretation of a Spanish work and a work by J. S. Bach.
Mr. Kuang has given almost 100 concerts in his young life, including a New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall, Oriental Art Centre Hall in Shanghai, and Beijing Poly Theatre, among others. In August 2014, he was invited to give the opening concert at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium in Germany.
He has worked with conductors such as Hu Yongyan, Fu Long, Peng Jiapeng, and Chen Lin, and has performed as soloist with the Symphony Orchestra of Dance and Theatre in Beijing, the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Kuang has just entered the studio of Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he will be working on his Bachelor of Music degree.
Mengyi Li was born in Huaihua, in the province of Hunan, China in 1993. He began studying the classical guitar at the age of 4 with his father.
From 2009 to 2015, Li studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, with professor Chen Zhi and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Mr. Li is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he studies with Manuel Barrueco.
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, after having been a cellist since an early age.
In Baltimore, Lutty started his guitar studies under the direction of Orlando Roman. Since then, he was the 2009 first and grand prize winner of the third 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 Franco Platino, David Russell, and Pepe Romero.
Mr. Lutty was a 2009 recipient of the Al Sanders Foundation for Music Studies Fund Scholarship, as well as the 2009 Maryland Senatorial Scholarship. He is also a 2013 recipient of the Cape Foundation Endowed Scholarship.
Mr. Lutty is currently pursuing his master’s degree under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he also received his bachelor’s degree.
Oscar Somersalo was born in 1990 in Vantaa, Finland, and started playing the guitar at the age of 6. Mr. 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.
Mr. 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 second prize in the international guitar competition “Ciudad de Llerena” in Spain. In 2011, he performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki.
Mr.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 Peabody.
Shon Stelman was born in 1996 in Hadera, Israel. At the age of 10, he discovered a passion for classical music and was encouraged by his parents to start playing a musical instrument. He chose the guitar and began taking lessons from Dalit and Marcelo Raij.
In December 2007, he immigrated with his family to the United States and continued his guitar lessons with Mikhail Sytchev.
In 2009, Stelman received first price in the Granquist Memorial Music Competition, and he has participated three times in the International Youth Competition held annually by Guitar Foundation of America, where he received second place in 2012, as well as first place at the SAM Competition in Chicago.
In his senior year in high school, Mr. Stelman had the honor and privilege of performing solo on Chicago’s classical music radio station WFMT, and later that the year he performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with his school orchestra.
Mr. Stelman has achieved high scores for participating in IHSA for his school and has participated in several master classes for Brian Torosian and Eliot Fisk at the Boston Guitar Festival, where he also took part in a competition.
He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in the studio of Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.
Born in the coastal city of Qingdao, in the province of Shandong, China in 1988, Ms. 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, Ms. Su began her training in classical guitar with renowned Professor Chen Zhi at the age of 9, 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, trio, and quartet concerts across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Finland, Croatia, Korea, Japan, and China, in which she has impressed audiences with an ability and artistry that exceeds her years.
Ms. Su performs regularly in chamber music setting, both with orchestras as a soloist, this past season she performed the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre for a chamber music ensemble. With her duo partner Yameng Wang, she has toured Europe and the United States in trio with her mentor Manuel Barrueco.
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, as well a trio recording in collaboration with Manuel Barrueco, China West – a stunning showcase of artistry and virtuosity.
Ms. Su obtained her Performer’s Certificate and two Graduate Performance Diplomas, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all with Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA.
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, Mr. 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 Peabody, where he studies with Manuel Barrueco.
Fang Yuan was born in Qingdao, China. She began playing the classical guitar at the age of 10 and, from an early age, received first prizes in many competitions. She has participated in numerous master classes with renowned guitarist such as Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Shin-ichi Fukuda, Suzuki Yei, and Shingo Fujii.
From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Yuan studied with Danny Yeh at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in Shanghai, China. After finishing her Bachelor of Music degree, she managed a musical school in her hometown of Qingdao with nearly 100 students.
Ms. Yang is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at Peabody, where she 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 States. In 2002, he won a grant from the NIH to conduct research on the structural connectivity of the macaque cerebral cortex with 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 first 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 Peabody, Mr. Zwi is the graduate assistant in guitar to Manuel Barrueco and in musicology to 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.