Hailing from as close as Brookfield, Wisconsin, to as far as Salerno, Italy, the winners of the third annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival were announced on Saturday, August 15, 2015. Semi-final and final competition rounds in four different genres—Fingerstyle, Classical, Jazz, and Rock/Blues—took place over the three-day event and featured 59 guitarists from 14 countries competing for $22,000 in cash prizes.

First-place winners in each genre received $3,000, as well as an opportunity to perform as part of the Festival headliner concert featuring fingerstyle legend Leo Kottke with special guest Antoine Dufour on Saturday, August 15, 2015. Second-place winners in each genre received $1,500, and third-place winners in each genre received $1,000.

Congratulations to the winners and all competitors who joined us this year!

*Indicates competitor advancing to final rounds on Saturday, August 15


1st Place: Nathan Bredeson • Ottawa, Canada
2nd Place: Samuel Hines • Long Beach, CA
3rd Place: Mark Akin • St. Louis, MO

Mark Akin* • St Louis, MO
Ian Baker • 
Brentwood, TN
Chase Bernard • Minneapolis, MN
Roberto Borbone* • San Francisco, CA
Bredeson* • Shorewood, WI
Jack Cimo • Arlington Heights, IL
Isabel Diaz Bello • Milwaukee, WI
Erik Gibelyou 
• Madison, WI
Kevin Ginty* • Tallahassee, FL
Samuel Hines*
 • Long Beach, CA
Brandon Kempf
 • Milwaukee, WI
Minh Nguyen*
 • Milwaukee, WI
John Oeth
 • Ridgeland, MS
Paulina Puljek
 • Croatia/Austin, TX
Jone Ruiz 
• Milwaukee, WI
Hector Alfonso Torres • Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Xiaoxuan Wu
 • Chicago, IL


1st Place: Rachael Carlson • Milwaukee, WI
2nd Place: Sam Balistreri • Milwaukee, WI
3rd Place: Ryan Ayers • Playa Del Rey, CA

Ryan Ayers* • Playa Del Rey, CA
Sam Balistreri*
 • Milwaukee, WI
Adam Bjoraker*
 • Milwaukee, WI
Brian Burke*
 • Milwaukee, WI
Thomas Leland Cantwell
 • Nashville, TN
Rachael Carlson*
 • Milwaukee, WI
David Duneman
 • Albuquerque, NM
Michael Fenner
 • Milwaukee, WI
Rick Flores
 • San Leandro, CA
Kevin Goodwin
 • Conway, AR
Tom Kraemer
 • Minneapolis, MN
Jetro Merilainen
 • Tampere, Finland
Casey Olson*
 • Rio, WI
Nikola Stajic 
• Serbia/Somerville, MA
Steven Weiner • West Lafayette, IN


1st Place: Matthew Rotker-Lynn • Milwaukee, WI
2nd Place: Jordan Rattner • Brown Deer, WI
3rd Place: David Colon • Whittier, CA

Josh Berenzweig • Gaithersburg, MD
David Colon* • Whittier, CA
Yoav Eshed
 • Israel/Boston, MA
Noah Gershwin
 • Wyncote, PA
Felix Lemerle
 • France/Brooklyn, NY
Danny Nagy
 • Clarksville, TN
Yoshie Nakagawa
 • Fukuoka-shi, Japan
Alex Patrick • Fairport, NY
Justin Poon* • Boston, MA
Jordan Rattner* • Brown Deer, WI
Matthew Rotker-Lynn* 
• Milwaukee, WI
Victor San Pedro
 • North Hills, CA
Marcos Souza • Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nikola Stajic* • Serbia/Somerville, MA
Hajime Yoshida* • Japan/Astoria, NY


1st Place: Frank Cara • Salerno, Italy
2nd Place: Chris Schuck • Brookfield, WI
3rd Place: Mark Mendoza • Whitefish Bay, WI

Robert Brandolino • Milwaukee, WI
Frank Cara* • Salerno, Italy
Brandon Doherty
 • Menomonee Falls, WI
Noah Gershwin
 • Wyncote, PA
William Groff • Wausau, WI
Stephen Hull • Racine, WI
Mark Mendoza*
 • Whitefish Bay, WI
Alex Patrick • Fairport, NY
Andre Reilly* • Algonquin IL
Eric Ruiz*
 • Oconomowoc, WI
Roger Schaumann*
 • Paynesville, MN
Chris Schuck*
 • Brookfield, WI