Directed by Dr. Lynn McGrath, the Guitar Foundation of America offers regional symposiums in an increasing number of places. These events feature technique workshops, a symposium guitar orchestra, college ensemble showcases, and adjudicated auditions. Audition winners perform in the evening concert. Recent events featured Adam Holzman and Andrew York. Sydd Urgola was invited to perform in the final concert at the recent GFA symposium in New Mexico. He shared a few thoughts with us about the experience:
What music did you play?
I performed Invierno Porteño (Winter) from Astor Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires -Sergio Assad’s arrangement).
What was the audition experience like?
The audition experience felt similar to judged events I have participated in before, such as the Solo and Ensemble Festival in New Mexico. In this case most of the comments were received afterwards in written form rather than orally. It was nice to know that regardless of the outcome of the audition you would still receive feedback on the audition, which is different from other auditions I have played for.
Describe the final performance.
The final performance was quite interesting. The various age group winners performed, followed by the whole group ensemble conducted by Andrew York.
First I took part in the midday ensemble performance with the Albuquerque Academy Guitar Quartet. which was catered more to the other Symposium participants. The evening concert was more open and had a more varied audience. It was interesting to warm up with different age groups and hear snippets of their pieces before the concert. The younger students remind me where I have been, and the college level and adult students show me where I’m headed.
What was the most inspiring performance you witnessed?
I performed second to last and was backstage warming up for the majority of the performances. It was inspiring to talk to the much younger guitarists who were performing at the same large venue. Some of them were about half my age! It was amazing to see these kids go on stage with confidence and excitement to perform their pieces.
What is the most important thing you got from the symposium?
For me the symposium was a huge event that helped me to look back and see everything I have accomplished as a student and guitarist in the past few years. I could also see what my life as a musician has to offer in the future. Performing in a large ensemble, the quartet, and as a soloist, it felt like a cumulative representation of everything I have been working toward on the guitar.
I heard Andrew York respond to a question about touring and being a classical musician. It was a nice reminder of all of the reasons I am a classical guitarist.
What are your goals for the near future?
I am a high school senior this year and I’m applying to colleges. In the coming months I will be auditioning for several conservatories and strong music schools. My goals for the near future are to be accepted into one of these schools to begin my focused study of the classical guitar.
What are your long term goals?
My long term goals are to perform and compete at every event I can. I also want to travel and perform around the country and the world, achieving the highest level of mastery I can on my instrument.
What is something unrelated to guitar that is interesting or unique about you?
I enjoy camping, hiking, and long boarding. I love to travel whenever possible both to camp and to experience other cities.