The Alirio Díaz International Guitar Competition pays homage to the artistic importance of this Venezuelan guitar virtuoso and celebrates his invaluable contribution to the Venezuelan and international guitar school, through the education and encouragement of budding guitar players and his work as a musicologist and researcher, which has enriched the guitar repertoire played today worldwide.
The Alirio Díaz International Guitar Competition also seeks to further the musical career of up-and-coming guitarists, by providing a privileged setting for new talent on the world music scene.
The Competition also provides an excellent means to introduce our Venezuelan music, not only by such well-known artists as maestros Antonio Lauro, Raúl Borges, Rodrigo Riera, Inocente Carreño, Evencio Castellanos and Vicente Emilio Sojo, but also by the new generation of composers, by including their work in the repertoire of the different qualifying rounds included in the competition.
The “Alirio Díaz” International Guitar Competition was created in 1974 to pay lasting tribute to one of the greatest guitar artists of the XX century, Venezuelan maestro Alirio Díaz. Established as an annual competition to be held in Caracas, it debuted in April of 1975, under the auspices of and organized by the Office of Auditory Arts of the National Institute of Culture and Fine Arts (INCIBA), which became the National Cultural Council (CONAC) the following year (1976). In 1979, during its fourth edition, the competition was modified to a biennial event, with fourteen editions being held to date.
From 1979, with the IV Edition of the Competition, the “Vicente Emilio Sojo” Latin American Institute of Musical Research and Study (ILIEMVES), now known as the “Vicente Emilio Sojo” Foundation, assumed the organization of the Competition and continued until 1998.
In 2000, in the XII edition, the decision was made to transfer the competition to CONAC’s National Music Office, for this entity to take over organization. The competition was also reconceived as an International Festival, to include musical events, drawing on the presence of prestigious artists from the panel of judges, while Carora was proposed as the host city for the event. Likewise, as part of the decentralization process taking place nationally in all areas, the decision was made to transfer the competition’s financial resources to the “Teatro Alirio Díaz” Foundation through what are known as Cultural Contributions. Nevertheless, in 2007 the Asociación Cultural Concurso Internacional de Guitarra Alirio Díaz was formed to create an independent legal entity.
In the fourteen editions of this prestigious international competition, the most internationally distinguished and acclaimed guitar artists have served as judges, including maestros Antonio Lauro and Rodrigo Riera from Venezuela, and figures such as John Williams and John Duarte (England), María Luisa Anido (Argentina), Robert Vidal (France), José Tomás and Javier García Moreno (Spain), Leo Brouwer (Cuba), Abel Carlevaro (Uruguay), Laurindo Almeida (Brazil), Sharon Isbin (U.S.A.), Costas Cotsiolis (Greece), and Walter Würdinger (Austria), among many others. Former competitors from different editions of the Competition have also sat on the panel of judges, such as Ricardo Fernández Iznaola and Rubén Riera (Venezuela), Gentil Montaña (Colombia), as well as competitors who today are internationally renowned, such as Ricardo Cobos (Colombia), Victor Pellegrini and Roberto Aussel (Argentina), Aldo Lagrutta (Venezuela), and Alvaro Pierri (Uruguay), among others.