NESCGS Competition at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
The 2016 NESCGS competition held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland saw some familiar faces and some new ones. Michael Lochery, Lewis Dunsmore, Anthony Smith and Laura Browne all gave assured professional performances. A newcomer, John Torrance, chose two very challenging pieces: the Prelude and Presto from Bach's 3rd Lute Suite and Fantasia 66 by Francisco Milano. He could obviously play these works and executed some difficult passages with no apparent effort. However, his concentration was patchy and a few beats were missed and once or twice he stopped and started again. Along the way, he did manage to coax some lovely sounds from his guitar (a Stephen Eden?). Perhaps he is someone to watch in the future.
A surprise entrant was Callum Morton -Teng (Yes, I thought of Sean Shibe when I saw the name) who performed without a guitar! Or rather, he played a guitar mandolin. Even more outrageous, he played with a pick, and only a pick. I have to admit that I was impressed by his performance of Bach's Loure from the 3rd Partita and, in particular, how he could produce such subtle sounds with a pick.
Jacopo Lazzaretti immediately made an impression because he had made the effort to dress for the occasion (although Laura did wear an evening gown). Jocopo wore a smart suit and what I think is called a dickie bow with the funny shirt collar. As soon as he started playing I knew we had a winner. No need to say any more, we can look forward to hearing more from him at the A.G.M.
Roberto Versluys performed an excellent, faultless set. But Asturias needs a bit more fire and drama.
The competition was judged by Graham Anthony Devine who was generous with his praise of all the contestants and gave commendations to all the runners-up.