Sam Norris writes: The winner of the 2023 Smietana International Jazz Guitar Competition is announced. This the 5th edition of the International Jarek Smietana Jazz Guitar Competition, hosted in Krakow in memory of the Polish jazz guitar icon (1951-2013).
This year’s winner is Ohad Niceberg, an Israeli jazz guitarist who splits his time between New York and Tel Aviv. He recently completed a year of study with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi at Manhattan’s New School. Performing a varied programme, Ohad caught the jury’s attention with his fluid phrasing and harmonic sophistication. Highlights included his own composition, “Song for Wayne”, and a virtuosic solo rendition of “All or Nothing at All”.
Niceberg was also awarded the opportunity to perform at next year’s Summer Jazz Festival in Krakow, produced by the My Polish Heart Foundation.
The other prizewinners were:
2nd place prize: Mateus Saldanha (Portugal)
3rd place prize: Ben Turner (USA)
Special prize for best interpretation of a Jarek Smietana composition: Raphael Silverman (USA)
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The other finalists were:
James Zito (USA)
Konrad Malinowski (USA)
Pawel Krawiec (Poland)