Results are in...and Gabe Lopez is one of the top ten finalists for the 2015/2016 Tosin Abasi scholarship offered by the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. Exciting!
Congratulations and best of luck to everyone on the list:
Mauricio Torres – Mexico
Deep Bikram Singh – Nepal
William Greene – GA, USA
Trevor Norris – IN, USA
Shane Brown – GA, USA
Ryan Jacoshenk – CA, USA
Gabriel Lopez – CA, USA
Felipe Nascimento – Brazil
Andrew McAllister – GA, USA
Adil Rahim – Malaysia
Tosin is in an interesting position. He has a deep field to sift through, as each of these guitar players is skilled and talents are displayed across a fairly diverse range of styles.
How to choose?
Thinking through this, here's how I would decide.
Begin with the premise that a scholarship is an investment. Investment of time into cultivating talent potential, but also a significant financial investment for the school. So at the end of that year, we want our scholar to have thrived within the program and also be poised to successfully represent the experience. Translate what was learned into the beginnings of a viable music career.
Q: Does this candidate show depth of ability? It is fairly easy to have one outstanding excerpt of playing. But listening to their other musical works, is there an existing trajectory of development? What is their other material like (outside of the context of this contest)?
Q: Is this candidate prepared to accept the discipline of being a focused student in a school? Raw creative talent is not the same as applied concentration. Long-term sustained effort is needed to thrive within an academic program.
Q: Does this candidate display compositional skill as well as technical skill? Music is emotion. Tosin stands out from other guitarists not because his fingers move faster, or because he has developed new playing techniques, but instead because his virtuosity is secondary to creating emotion within the piece. His music causes you to feel...sometimes fascinating and difficult to describe glimpses into the soul.