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Photo courtesy of Valdimir Gorbah

Vladimir Gorbach was the winner of the 2011 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition.

The story of classical guitarist Vladimir Gorbach follows the standard path for stellar talent: Start young and study hard. Win lots of international competitions. Record and go on tour. Come to Bakersfield to perform.

The Russian guitarist, winner of the 2011 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition, continues his tour from the competition with a recital at CSUB this evening. Presented under the Guitar Arts Concert Series, Gorbach's recital is the last in the series for this academic year.

"Every year these concerts are just stunning," said Jim Scully, director of the guitar program at CSUB. "It's just mind-numbing to be this close to performers like this."

Gorbach's recital program is a classic collection of guitar masterpieces, including works by Domenico Scarlatti, Mauro Giuliani, Dionisio Aguado and Astor Piazzola.

Gorbach began studying guitar at age 11 in his home town of Novosibirsk, Russia, later completing his studies in Germany. Over the course of his career, Gorbach has won of the world's most prestigious international competitions, the latest of which is annual Guitar Foundation of America competition, which includes a 50-city tour among the first-place prizes.

The tour included Gorbach's Carnegie Hall recital debut in February.

"The GFA is the pre-eminent professional organization for guitarists in the United States, and by extension in the world," Scully said. "Pretty much anybody who plays seriously or teaches seriously is a member of this organization."

In February, Gorbach made his Carnegie Hall recital to critical acclaim, as part of the concert tour.

Scully said these high-profile recitals are just one way the department is trying to reach potential students and continue to build the guitar program, along with the rest of the music program at CSUB. Scully said that events such as the Guitar Day, a newly formed guitar studio and a proposed guitar class for entry-level students are things that can be done even in tight budget times.

"We're doing outreach, but it's a slow-go thing," Scully said. "It takes a couple of years."

Compounding the lag time between outreach events and students enrolling in music courses is trying to do more with less, Scully said.

"One of the difficulties with the budget is trying to schedule all of the ensembles we have and keeping them going," Scully said.

Scully said the music department is still small, and when an ensemble goes on hiatus -- such as the CSUB Jazz Vocal Ensemble this year -- it is difficult to get it back on in the schedule.

Friday's recital will be held in Room 127 of the music building. Seating is limited; Scully advises calling and reserving tickets. Overflow patrons will be seated after 7:15 after any reserve ticket holders fail to show.