Thomas Aquino won the 2020 Twisted Spruce Guitar Prize. Marisa Sardo won the 2021 Twisted Spruce Guitar Prize. They will be featured in the Chicago Guitar Festival on June 10, 2022 at 3pm.
What was your favorite thing about the Twisted Spruce Symposium when you were a participant?
Thomas: Creating new music for the guitar. It was rewarding to work with a composer who was also an old friend while participating in the tradition of expanding the instrument's repertoire.
Marisa: My favorite thing about participating in the Twisted Spruce symposium was all of the wonderful connections I made, with both my peers in the guitar world and in the composition world. Anton and I continued to collaborate well beyond the end of the symposium last year, and it has been beyond amazing to work with him on a new music project for the guitar. Twisted Spruce is an excellent place to meet some of the greatest and most supportive musicians. Twisted Spruce is the future of new music and the guitar world!
When is your winners concert in the Chicago Guitar Festival? What can audiences expect to hear on your program?
Marisa: The concert is this Friday 6/10 at 3 pm central time. I will be playing some of my favorite works! I am beginning the concert with Fantasy Op. 30 by Sor. The second piece is the winning composition from last year’s competition, “Beyond Reach” by Anton von Sehrwald! I always love to perform this piece whenever I can! I’m concluding the program with the Tarantella by Mertz.
Thomas: Marisa has already provided the details on the recital itself, I believe. I’ll be performing Manuel Ponce’s Sonatina meridional and Antonio Jose’s Sonata para guitarra. What is once piece of advice you would give to this year’s competitors?
Thomas: Keep an open mind about the music you help compose and perform. You are collaborating with another artist to create new music, so be receptive to their aspirations for the composition and help them understand how to realize it on the instrument as best you can.
Marisa: The advice that I would give to this year’s competitors is: have fun! This is really the best opportunity to grow as musicians and explore a new world of collaboration and new art. Take advantage of the opportunity you are given, work hard, and have fun! :)