Alessandria - Michele Pittaluga International Guitar and Composition Competitions "Premio Citta di Alessandria"
Few competitions can claim to have done so much for their individual instrument as the Michele Pittaluga International Classical Guitar Competition. Not only has the Pittaluga welcomed more than 1,300 guitarists from over 90 countries to Alessandria over the years, but – through its composition competition and commissions – it has also added enormously to the repertoire of classical guitar.
The Guitar competition of Alessandria was set up in 1968 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the City. From the very first the competition was aimed at an international audience. It was the brainchild of Michele Pittaluga with the invaluable contribution of Andres Segovia, who was the first Honorary President. Acting on his suggestion, Alirio Diaz was called in to preside over the Jury, and until the 40th edition was responsible for artistic direction, which is now overseen by Marco Tamayo.
When Michele Pittaluga passed away in 1995 his three children took up the baton and have been running the competition ever since. The competition has seen more than 140 guitarists win awards, but First prize has not been awarded on more occasions. Juries comprising the great and the good of the music world have included hundreds of world-renowned guitar experts, including Joaquin Rodrigo, Alexandre Tansman, Leo Brouwer, Oscar Ghiglia, Eliot Fisk and many others.
In 1981 the competition was admitted to the World Federation of International Music Competitions and since 2006 to 2012 the “Pittaluga” has been member of the Executive committee of the WFIMC. In the beginning the competition was dedicated to solo guitar, but the final has involved orchestral or chamber music accompaniment since 1974. Among the concerts played in the final round Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and Concerto in Re Maggiore by Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco particularly stand out, while on other occasions new compositions promoted by the organisers have been performed.
The value of the first prize has increased over the years to 10,000 Euros, with the overall prize growing to accommodate guitars made by the best guitar-makers, recordings with the Canadian label Naxos and other international labels, concerts in Italy and abroad and scholarships to high-ranking musical academies.
To run alongside the main competition, Michele Pittaluga and Diaz arranged guitar courses for years, while the new management have, in more recent years, added many initiatives to the main event, such as a competition for guitar compositions, a competition for young talents and concerts, as well as creating “guitar corners” in the most evocative parts of the city and setting up the Chitarre in Corsia project where artists play in local hospitals and retirement homes.