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Kristian Del Cantero Wins Top Prize at International Guitar Competition

Kristian Del Cantero Wins Top Prize at International Guitar Competition

Published on January 9, 2017

Kristian Del Cantero Wins Top Prize at International Guitar Competition

Eighteen-year-old alumnus Kristian Del Cantero won a top prize at the Antwerp International Guitar Festival, one of many impressive recent accomplishments by students and alumni.

Kristian Del Cantero, an 18-year-old alumnus of The Royal Conservatory, won a top prize at the competition of the Antwerp International Guitar Festival. The native of Ancaster, Ontario won the competition’s senior division, collecting a €600 cash prize, a Martinez Godoy J-III concert guitar, and recitals in Belgium and Germany. Kristian is the first Canadian to win a prize at the prestigious competition.

Kristian is a former student of The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, The Royal Conservatory's internationally recognized training program for gifted young classical musicians. He was in the studio of acclaimed educator Robert Hamilton. Kristian also studied music through The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program, and earned a Gold Medal for scoring the top mark in Ontario on the Level 8 Guitar examination.

Kristian is one of many students and alumni of The Royal Conservatory to earn acclaim in recent weeks. Whether excelling at international competitions, securing placements in prestigious training programs, or gaining critical admiration, our students and alumni have been a source of pride.

Taylor Academy student Lingfei Stephan Xie won the second prize in the senior division of the Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition. The 16-year-old Shanghai native, who studies with Michael Berkovsky, earned $2,000 for his performance at the prestigious event held in Tempe, Arizona from January 2–8. 

A total of 183 outstanding pianists from 23 countries applied to the 2017 competition, with only 12 selected to perform in the final round. Many alumni of The Royal Conservatory are past prizewinners, including West Vancouver pianist Tristan Teo, Nanaimo native Devon Joiner, and Taylor Academy alumnus Tony Yike Yang.

Three students of our Glenn Gould School have been selected to participate in the 2017 edition of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Orchestra Academy. Violist Madlen Breckbill (Madison, Wisconsin), cellist James Churchill (Sydney, Australia), and bassist Jesse Dietschi (Selkirk, Manitoba) will take part in the organization’s annual three-week intensive training program for instrumentalists.

James Churchill, Madlen Breckbill, and Jesse Dietschi

Academy participants will perform on the opening night of the COC’s production of Götterdämmerung, give public performances alongside members of the COC Orchestra, and take part in master classes and private sessions with singers, members of the COC artistic administration, and visiting music staff.

The COC Orchestra Academy is one of many performance opportunities offered to students of The Glenn Gould School. Our students credit these experiences for nurturing their musical development. “I have been very fortunate to have multiple performance opportunities in a range of ensembles,” says Churchill. “Performing in such a variety of settings has developed my flexibility and confidence as a musician.”

Performance opportunities also help students develop a network of relationships with other talented artists. “They have allowed me to interact with a calibre of musician, both in my colleagues and faculty, that I otherwise would have never had access to,” says Dietschi. For many students, these mentors also become trusted advisors. “For me, it has been almost entirely about the musical mentors,” says Breckbill. “They have helped me develop a deeper understanding of music, creating more layers within each additional experience.” Dietschi recognizes these connections will prove to be beneficial in the long term. “I am confident these relationships will also help me progress in my career long after my diploma program is complete.”

Alumna Barbara Hannigan has earned raves from American music critics for her for her recent recording with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The album, which features Hans Abramsen’s song cycle let me tell you, was hailed by NPR as one of the 10 classical music albums “that saved 2016.” Music critic Tom Huizinga praised Hannigan’s “luminous” performance on a work he described as “one of the finest works for voice and orchestra so far this century.” The Boston Globe says Hannigan “shines like a white diamond” and adds that “you’ll be hard pressed to find a more substantial use of musical time and space.”

Taylor Academy applications for 2017-18 open later this month. Entrance requirements and audition information are available at

Support the students of The Glenn Gould School through The Dean’s Fund—Tom Logan is once again generously matching gifts made to up to a maximum of $100,000.

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