It’s down to the wire.
After two days of competition, three guitarists are set to advance to the finals of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, taking place at Kleinhans Music Hall on Saturday night.
The top-string players are Chad Ibison of the United States; Ekachai Jearakul of Thailand; and Marko Topchii of Ukraine. The announcement was made by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director JoAnn Falletta. Falletta is a classical guitarist herself and the competition is named in her honor.
Two of the three finalists have been contenders before, according to Buffalo News records. Ibison competed in 2008. Jearakul was on the roster of competitors in 2010 and was a finalist in the last competition, held in 2012. On that occasion he was awarded third prize.
On Saturday, all three finalists will perform concerti with the BPO, conducted by Falletta. Each guitarist also will select a free choice piece – not for judging, but for the audience’s enjoyment.
After the music, the audience and orchestra members will cast ballots to select the winners of the Audience Favorite Award and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians Choice Award, respectively. These awards will be announced at the evening’s conclusion, in addition to the judges’ decisions.
The finals take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $41-$76. Call 885-5000 for tickets or information.