Sunday, March 5

Competition FINALS

Free and open to the public

Concert will begin at 8:00 in Kulas Recital Hall

A reception will follow.

James Stroud

All-Ohio Guitar Competition & Festival


Saturday, March 4th 

Rene Izquierdo, solo guitar,

and with Elina Chekan, guitar, as Duo Exaudi 

Free and open to the public.

Concert will begin at 8:00 in Kulas Recital Hall.

Rene Izquierdo, a native from Cuba, graduated from the Guillermo Tomas, Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana. In the United States, Mr. Izquierdo earned a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale University School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. While at Yale he represented the university in an exchange program with the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Danse du Paris and worked with guitarists Olivie Chassain and Roland Dyens. Rene has appeared as a guest soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has shared the stage with prestigious guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Benjamin Verdery and Jorge Morel, as well as renowned flutist Ransom Wilson, soprano Lucy Shelton, David Jolley and Paquito d’Rivera. Renowned composers such as Jorge Morel and Carlos R. Rivera have dedicated works to him.

Mr. Izquierdo is a recipient of numerous awards. He is a winner of JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in 2004, Extremadura International Guitar Competition, Schadt String competition, Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition among others.

He is currently a professor of classical guitar at the Wisconsin State University in Milwaukee and an active solo performer and chamber musician. Rene has studied with Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Eli Kassner, Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Starobin, Eduardo Fernandez, Jorge Morel, Robert Beaser and Anthony Newman among others.

Elina Chekan is currently teaching classical guitar at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she also directs the Suzuki and Pre-College Guitar Program. A native of Minsk, Belarus, Ella began studying guitar at the age of 13 with Valeriy Gromov. She graduated from Minsk Music College in 1994, and the Belarus Academy of Music in 1999 under Eugene Gridiushko with a degree in Classical Guitar Performance, Orchestral Conducting and Guitar Pedagogy. In the year 2000 Ella entered Yale University where she received the Louis and Anne Rosoff award and graduated with a degree in Classical Guitar Performance with professor Ben Verdery. Combining active performance and teaching careers, Ella has appeared as a soloist, and chamber musician throughout the United States and abroad. Some of this year’s appearances include Chamber Music Milwaukee Series, Brussels Royal Museum of Musical Instrument in Belgium, Tucson Classical Guitar Society, and Mannes College Guitar Festival in New York.

Ella is a certified Suzuki instructor registered with the Suzuki Association of Americas. In addition to her conducting activities, Ella has arranged a wide variety of music for solo and chamber music. Since 2005, Ella is on the faculty at “Usdan Center for the Performing Arts” in Long Island, NY. In addition to teaching and performing at USDAN, she conducts the guitar orchestra with up to sixty performers. In her quest for present-day student repertoire, Ella commissioned composer Jorge Morel to write a series of student repertoire solo and ensemble pieces that is now published by Mel Bay.

Sunday, March 5

Stephen Aron and Friends

Free and open to the public

Concert will begin at 4:30 in Kulas Recital Hall

Aron is joined in this performance by three Oberlin faculty members: 

soprano Kendra Colton,

flutist, Alexa Still and

clarinetist, Richard Hawkins.

Their program features works by Ferdinand Rebay and Oberlin composition faculty, Jesse Jones.

Described by the New York Times as “cultivated and musical,” Stephen Aron performs regularly throughout the US, Canada and Europe. An avid arranger, his work is published by Tuscany Editions (“wonderful guitaristic arrangement,” American Music Teacher), Mel Bay Publications (“historic,” Guitart) and Clear Note Publications (“a book to be ignored at your peril,” Classical Guitar). Clear Note also recently published several of Mr. Aron’s original compositions (“imaginative, adventurous, effortlessly entertaining,” Classical Guitar). He has released twelve publications, totaling over 500 pages of music. 

Aron’s recordings have been described as “stunning” (Guitar Review), “superbly produced” (Soundboard), “warmly recommended” (Fanfare) and “inspired” (Classical Guitar). Notably, most of the works on his eight CD’s are either original arrangements, original compositions, or premiere recordings of the works of others. His recordings and publications of thirty Lieder ohne Worte by Felix Mendelssohn and the complete Chopin Mazurkas, both for solo guitar, were industry firsts. He is a dedicated chamber music advocate, and maintains a regular duo with his wife, soprano JoNell Aron, and another with flutist Jane Berkner. He plays frequently with mixed chamber ensembles both traditional and new music. 

Aron has adjudicated numerous national and international competitions and has been a repeat guest, giving performances, lectures and master classes at Guitar Foundation of America Conventions, Stetson Guitar Workshops, Portland Guitar Festivals, Eastman Guitar Festivals, Rantucci Guitar Festivals, Alexandria Guitar Festivals, the National Summer Guitar Workshops, the Eastern Carolina University Guitar Festivals, the Sauble Beach Guitar Festivals and the Appalachian Guitar Festivals as well as at the Yale Guitar Extravaganza, the Ithaca College Winter Guitar Festival, the Eastern Tennessee Guitar Festival, the Montreal Guitar Festival, the New York Guitar Seminar, the Miami International Guitar Festival, the Mediterranean Guitar Festival and many others. Recently, Aron has been a guest at guitar festivals in Cumbae, Scotland, Iserlohn, Germany and Sorrento, Italy, and has appeared on recital series across Italy as well as in France and Denmark.

Aron was Professor of Music at the University of Akron from 1981 until his retirement in 2015; he remains Teacher of Classical Guitar and founder of the classical guitar studies program at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he has taught since 1992. His blog, on his website,, is one of the most-read classical guitar resources on the web.