Classical Guitar Award 2019
Petar Jovanovic, 15
Peter’s mother, Bojana, gives a little insight into the career of this remarkable young musician.
Petar has been playing the guitar since he was six years old, and passed his ABRSM Grade 8 guitar exam with Distinction when he was only 8 years old. Having achieved a Grade 8 Distinction at such a young age, Petar entered The Royal College of Music Junior Department.
The following year Petar was offered a place at The Purcell School for young and talented musicians, where he is currently in Year 10. At the age of 12, he joined the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Academy, where he
currently has guitar lessons with Professor Michael Lewin, and where Petar was awarded the Julian Bream Trust scholarship.
As well as being a principal study classical guitarist, Petar plays the piano (and has
achieved a Grade 8 Distinction as well) and also enjoys composing and being part of a guitar duo and a guitar quartet. He also maintains his earlier interest in playing drums and electric guitar.
In 2017 Petar passed his ARSM guitar diploma exam with distinction. He performed with the National Youth Orchestra during their Easter 2018 Unleashed Project, and in September 2018 he joined The National Youth Guitar Ensemble.
Petar was delighted to win the Roy Courtnall guitar, and collected it in early January eager to try it out. He was immediately impressed with the guitar’s increased volume and the roundness of sound. In Petar’s opinion, clarity of the sound and the variety of tone colours combined with the guitar’s volume will really enhance his performance in bigger venues. This is why he is looking forward to playing the guitar on Monday 18th February at Leicester MusicFest – he plans to perform Asturias by Isaac Albeniz.
He would like to thank Roy Courtnall and the organisers of Leicester MusicFest for their guidance and support, and most of all for the award of this impressive guitar.
We wish Petar every success with all his music-making, and hope that his guitar will prove to be a trusted and inspiring partner for many years to come.
Classical Guitar Award 2018
Jacob Beaman, 20
Jacob Beaman shares his thoughts on winning the Leicester MusicFest Classical Guitar Award.
Since being awarded the guitar in 2018, the days have felt significantly shorter. Most of my time seems to be consumed by this beautiful instrument! Over the last year, the guitar has matured immeasurably, and its projection and depth of tone continue to impress me, stealing away any thoughts of non-musical activity. However, I have learnt that a great-sounding instrument does not constitute the player, and it is this area of my playing that I continue to work on.
Playing in the Leicester MusicFest Advanced Guitar Recital competition last year was a great experience. It was the issue of sound that I learned about most. Hearing some excellent players in a great acoustic reminded me of the instrument’s dynamic range, and shook me into a more disciplined approach to dynamics in order to achieve a less linear sound. It was only a month later that the message was really driven home to me in a masterclass with Tilman Hoppstock, where I was accused of “playing notes instead of phrases”. Tilman wasn’t being at all unfair, and I now approach phrases on a larger timescale. I was also fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship from Paul Beauchamp to attend the annual Cardiff Guitar Festival, where I learned a great deal by attending Laura Snowden’s recital and masterclass. Her compelling performance and flawless sound rekindled my initial fascination with the sound of the instrument, which I never intend to lose, despite current academic pressures which can sometimes sap some of the joy from practice.
The guitar has since seen me through my second year recital at college, playing in a beautiful church in Leeds whose acoustic suited the instrument perfectly. I’m now practising harder than ever for my final recital, at the same time as putting on events in more casual settings in the city. We guitarists have such a diverse repertoire that the guitar can be welcomed in almost any gig setting, and following a successful guitar night at a bar in town, I aim to promote more gigs around Leeds. I must also praise this guitar for its reliability in a chamber music setting. I regularly perform in a guitar and flute duo, where the additional projection allows us to create some dramatic dynamics. I’m so happy with the blend of our tones in general, with the tasto colours sounding almost flute-like themselves.
Finally, it’s a real pleasure to return to Leicester MusicFest, and I can’t wait to hear some quality guitar playing and performagain myself. I also wish the next recipient of Roy’s latest guitar as much pleasure and reward as I continue to receive from mine.
We wish Jacob every success with his final year at Leeds College of Music.