Aniello Desiderio (Italy)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

At the age of eight, he performed in public for the first time, displaying such outstanding gifts that music critics started to speak of him as an "enfant prodige," "wunderkind," "a genius," "the Orpheus of the guitar," "a guitarist of the century," "il Fenomeno," etc. He performed as a soloist and with orchestra all over the world USA, North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa in some of the most important Theaters of the world such as: Carnegie Hall, Munich Philarmonie, Alte Opera, Tonhalle, Teatro delle Palme, Radio France, Die Gloke, Istanbul Philarmonie, Berlin Philarmonie, Opera House Wien. John McLaughlin chose Mr. Desiderio for the European Premier of his Concerto “Thieves and Poets.” He’s a professor at University of Music in Potenza (Italy).

"...the kind of musician that seems to have disappeared long ago, Aniello Desiderio sweeps away the audience with enthusiasm - as the great virtuosi, Paganini, Regondi or Giuliani of the 19th century did - racing through breath-taking changes of register, acrobatic arpeggios and scales of extraordinary brilliance and elegance like a Ferrari…"
- Stuttgarter Zeitung -

Costas Cotsiolis (Greece)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

Thanks to his numerous tours all over the world and his recognition by the audience as well as by the musical critics, Costas Cotsiolis is nowadays considered as one of the greatest guitarists of our time. Costas Cotsiolis has been the art director of the Volos International Guitar Festival since 1978, where more than 9000 students appeared as well as about 400 professors and soloist from all over the world. Many fabulous guitarists started their international career as young talents at this festival.
He's been professor of the Conservatory of Athens since 1977 and of the New Conservatory in Thessaloniki since 1981, creating an exemplary school of excellent guitarists who have been awarded all over the world and have international career. For his activities, Costas Cotsiolis was awarded by the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Greece in 1979. In 2017 Costas Cotsiolis was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Ionian University.

"Costas Cotsiolis is one of the best performers of my music, probably the best. But also hear him in Mangore, Falla, or Ginastera. Virtuoso playing or sensibility, all in one."
-Leo Brouwer-

Zoran Dukic (Croatia)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

Zoran Dukic is one of the most distinguished classical guitarists of our time. His concert performances, both as a soloist or with an orchestra, leave long-lasting impressions on both audiences and critics. In his "tour de force" competition years (1990-1997) Zoran Dukic has won an astonishing number of competitions. He is the only guitarist to have won both "Andrés Segovia" competitions, in Granada and in Palma de Mallorca. Showing astounding mastery in a wide variety of musical periods and styles he has also won competitions dedicated to "Fernando Sor", "Manuel Ponce", "Manuel de Falla", "Francisco Tárrega" among others. In the greatest Spanish guitar competition in Madrid, patronized by the Royal Family, he was awarded, in addition to the first prize, the special prize for the best interpretation of Spanish music (first time awarded to a non-Spaniard).

Zoran Dukić has been a featured soloist in more then 30 countries on five continents in the most important concert halls such as: Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Maison de Radio France in Paris, The National Art Gallery in Ottawa, the Luis Angel Arango hall in Bogota and the Çemal Resit Rey in Istanbul. He is regularly invited to give Master Classes in international festivals all over the world and often appears as a featured soloist with orchestras from: Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Switzerland, Taiwan, Columbia, Chile and Croatia.

"A thrilling concert... the audience was on its feet already after the first piece... a phenomenal evening"
-Gevelsberger Zeitung-

Goran Krivokapic (Montenegro)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

Setting new standards with technical virtuosity and his characteristical interpretation of old and new repertoire makes Goran Krivokapić one of the leading guitarists of the new, international guitar scene. He won his first international competition at the age of fourteen, and continued to win eighteen more, including two of the most prestigious guitar competitions – “Guitar Foundation of America” (GFA) in Montreal, Canada, and “Dr. Luis Sigall International Competition of Musical Performance” in Viña del Mar, Chile, both in 2004.
Two Golden Guitar awards followed at the annual “International Guitar Convention in Alessandria” in Italy – 2005 as the best young guitarist of the year and 2006 for his debut CD. Since then he has performed all over Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Russia, appearing at such prestigious halls as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Lubkowitz Palace in Vienna, and Auditorio Conde Duque in Madrid.

As a performer, lecturer and adjudicator Goran Krivokapić is a frequent guest at many international festivals such as Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada, Kotor Art, Koblenz International Guitar Festival, Forum Gitarre Wien, Iserlohn International Guitar Festival, GFA International Guitar Convention, A Tempo Festival, Guitar Art Festival, Shenyang Guitar Festival and Daejon Guitar Festival.

“…an impressive level of accomplishment…in total control of his huge talent, his difficult material, his platform persona, his life, you might say; a fully-fledged artist…”
- Classical Guitar Magazine -

Danijel Cerovic (Montenegro)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

Danijel Cerović is an internationally acclaimed recording artist, touring musician and pedagogue from Montenegro. He is frequently invited to perform at international concert series, festivals and concert halls, such as Guitar Foundation of America Convention, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Manuel de Falla hall – (Madrid), Granada Festival Music y Danza, Koblenz International Guitar Festival, Shenyang Guitar Festival (China) and Daejon Guitar Festival (South Korea), A Tempo, Kotor art festival (Montenegro).

Danijel Cerović was co-founder and artistic director of the International Nikšić Guitar Festival and Competition. Since 2003 he lectures at the Music Academy – University of Montenegro in Cetinje and was a guest professor of guitar at the Music Academy in East Sarajevo. He has been active in the “Rhapsody in School” project on a regular basis, an outreach initiative of Lars Vogt which devotes itself to bringing classical music into the classroom. He is a member of the artistic board of the Montenegrin Music Centre and the Montenegrin Symphony Orchestra.

Sabrina Vlaskalic (Serbia)

Masterclasses, Jury, Concert

Classical guitar is Sabrina’s biggest passion — she has been in love with the instrument since she was 7 years old. Its astonishing variety of sound colour - timbre- is what's behind Sabrina’s fascination; every small, delicate movement of a finger, of either hand, can subtly change an interpretation. Sabrina always focused on playing with these colours of sound on classical guitar. This exploration of the instrument was particularly interesting for her due to a rare condition — synaesthesia — a phenomenon in which one perceives sounds, letters, and numbers as colours. Sabrina cannot remember ever playing guitar without seeing the sounds as shapes, colours, surfaces, or motion. This condition has made her more acutely sensitive to questions of sound colour and it has inevitably influenced her musicianship.

Sabrina is one of the world’s most beloved concert artists with an exceptionally strong bond with her instrument. Her power of expression lies in a deep understanding of the timbre of the guitar and in profound control over transformations of intensity and character. This incredibly touching quality of Sabrina’s playing was noticed by Thérèse Wassily Saba, a journalist of Classical Guitar Magazine:

"What impressed me most when I heard Sabrina was her broad range of expression: from the most delicate and intimate, caressing pianissimos to almost frighteningly powerful fortissimos...all at the service of her musical interpretation. Accompanying this powerful expressiveness was a strong sense of intention—she knew exactly what she wanted to say.”

Sabrina loves to play works whose expressivity lies in the versatility and refinement of timbre. She is very curious about developing characteristic and vivid musical details in Spanish repertoire; exploring all shades of sadness from Brazilian saudade and Balkan zalopojka to the heart-breaking depths of Spanish cante jondo; and also developing interpretations of modern and contemporary music that uses timbre as a part of the musical syntax. Sabrina feels a responsibility to her own musical heritage and she can often be heard playing music of Balkan composers. Since she lives and works in the Netherlands, Sabrina has also frequently premiered and performed Dutch works for classical guitar.

Sabrina became the youngest Professor of classical guitar in the world, at the age of 23, when she was appointed to her position at the Prince Claus Conservatoire, where she remains committed to sharing her passion for classical guitar with her students. This year she started the Dutch Guitar Foundation - an organisation dedicated to enriching the classical guitar life in the Netherlands, building international relationships, and preserving the national heritage of the instrument.

She is committed to developing herself further as an artist through research - she is currently completing her Doctoral studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her thesis focuses on timbre, representing a continuation of her love for colours of sound of the classical guitar within the academic field. Sabrina travels the world with her guitar, giving concerts from Russia to Mexico. She is often told after concerts that she seems to be one with her guitar. Sabrina doesn’t mind being one with the classical guitar - it is, after all, her biggest love. Sabrina’s boyfriend is also a classical guitarist, so he doesn’t mind either.

Jorrit Douwes (The Netherlands)

Masterclasses, Jury

After being diagnosed with dyslexia, Jorrit was directed through the school system toward a focus on arts and crafts, and there began his artistic life as a classical guitarist and carpenter. He specialised in restoring historical wooden buildings, and is especially proud of his work on the restoration of the Surinamese Saint Peter and Paul Basilica in Paramaribo.

Jorrit has had a varied career in classical music; he has performed extensively throughout the Netherlands and abroad, both as a chamber musician and soloist. He toured Russia as a member of a guitar duo, was invited for solo recitals in the Netherlands and Germany (Twents Gitaar Festival in Enschede, Nootstop Guitar Series in Tilburg, Dutch Music barn in Markelo, etc.), and also appeared with a singer and in a guitar trio. He is often invited to be a judge and give masterclasses in several international classical guitar festivals and competitions, such as "Alexander Matyaev", in Kirov, Russia, and Nordhorn Guitar Festival in Germany, among others. Jorrit's repertoire is usually an attractive selection of traditional compositions written for the classical guitar. Fond of lyricism and poetic musical expression, Jorrit can often be heard performing works of the Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios Mangore - known as the "Chopin of the guitar". The passionate works of de Falla, the impressionist flavoured Sonata of Antonio Jose, and even Ohana's Tiento - a work of Spanish inspiration set in a modernist idiom, are part of his current repertoire. Jorrit has won prizes in several international guitar competitions: EGTA in the Netherlands and Nordhorn Guitar Festival in Germany.

A passionate teacher, Jorrit is dedicated to sharing his interest and knowledge of the classical guitar in his home country by preparing young Dutch students to enter conservatories. He is concerned about the declining numbers of Dutch guitarists entering conservatories for serious study, and sees this preparation as an important role in improving the future of the classical guitar. In 2017 Jorrit founded the Dutch Guitar Foundation - an organisation dedicated to enriching the classical guitar life in the country, building international relationships, and preserving the national heritage of the instrument.

Jorrit obtained his Master's degree at the Prince Claus Conservatoire, where he was part of the first generation of Master students in the department. Even though he grew up surrounded by the forests of Apeldoorn, he now lives and works in Groningen - the city of guitar! He still misses the trees and little hills, but it seems that his love of the world of classical guitar, now so active in Groningen, has his heart instead. His favourite tree grows in tropical rainforests and is called Peltogyne - purple heart.

Dimitris Spouras (Greece)

Dimitris Spouras is a Greek conductor and clarinet player. Spouras has won the National Greek Conducting Competition, and conducted the State Ochestra of Thessaloniki, the StateOrchestra of Athens, the Russe Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria, Kongelige Norske Marines Musikkorps and many more. While conducting he has worked with acclaimed musicians such as Eliane Rodrigues, Wilfried Van den Brande, Hendrickje Van Kerckove and Nadja Nevolovitsch.

As a clarinetist, he has played with London Symphony Orchestra under many famous conductors such as Sir. Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding and Gianandrea Noseda. In 2015 Spouras founded Antwerpen Camerata in Belgium, and he is today both Chief conductor and Artistic Director of the orchestra.

He has studied Conducting at The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp with Ivo Venkov, and at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels with Bart Bouckaert. Additionaly, he has studied Clarinet at The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp with Ivo Lybeert and Raymond Dils.

In 2017 he finished his Master at Guildhall School of Music in Clarinet with Distinction Degree and Concert Recital Diploma. While Studying at the Guildhall School of Music with Andrew Marriner at the prestigious Orchestral Artistry Course (A collaboration course with London Symphony Orchestra) he was awarded the Leverhulme Trust scholarship.

Since then he has studied conducting at The Norwegian Academy of Music with professor Ole Kristian Ruud, Sigmund Thorp and Vassily Petrenko. Upcoming concert highlights include conducting the Kamerorkest van het Noorden at the 1st European Guitar Concerto Competition on February 2018 and the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces on March 2018.

Kamerorkest van het Noorden

The Kamerorkest van het Noorden is a young professional string orchestra based in Groningen. Its main mission is bringing the music closer to people, especially to the younger generations. Therefore, next to playing high level concerts, KvN organises workshops and activities within an educational framework, in order to accustom the youngsters with this form of art. The ultimate goal of the Kamerorkest van het Noorden is contributing to the cultural development in the north of the Netherlands.