We invited 55 semi-finalists from more than 35 cities around the world to the fourth annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival on August 18-20, 2016. Nineteen competitors advanced to the final rounds, and the winners were announced on August 20.

Each first-place winner received $3,000 in cash prizes, a chance to open for Festival headliner Al Di Meola, and a chance to perform on the Summerfest stages in 2017. Each second-place winner received $1,500 in cash prizes. Each third-place winner received $1,000 in cash prizes.

All semi-finalists, finalists, and the winners in each genre are listed below. Congratulations to all the competitors who joined us this year!

The preliminary-round judging took place via YouTube video. To view the competitor submissions, click on their names in red.
* Indicates competitor advanced to final rounds on Saturday, August 20.


1st Place: Andre Reilly • Algonquin, IL
2nd Place: Jonathan Smith • Winchester, VA
3rd Place: Aaron Bissoondial • Wayne, NJ

David Kleczka • New Berlin, WI
Joseph Latona • Milwaukee, WI
Mason Lin • Washington, D.C.
Keegan Rhynas* • Howards Grove, WI
Francis Salerno • Milwaukee, WI
Christopher Schuck • Brookfield, WI


1st Place: Steven Lerman • Tucson, AZ
2nd Place: Samuel Hines • Milwaukee, WI
3rd Place: Noe Garcia • Columbus, GA

Thomas Aquino • Bloomington, IN
Chase Bernard • Bloomington, MN
Roberto Borbone • Pembroke Pines, FL
Jack Cimo • Arlington Heights, IL
Benjamin Dameron* • Milwaukee, WI
Mark Edwards • Washington, D.C.
Alec Feldges • Milwaukee, WI
Jeff Herring • Denver, CO
Sean Jeon • Glenview, IL
Brandon Kempf • Milwaukee, WI
Devin Kosloff • Portland, OR
Jasmin Lacasse Roy • Montreal, QC
Benjamin Minden-Birkenmaier • Memphis, TN
Aaron Prillaman • Mocksville, NC
Naeim Rahmani • Milwaukee, WI
Eli Schille-Hudson • Bloomington, IN
Jesus Serrano* • Mexico City, Mexico
Jonathan Smith • Winchester, VA
Evan Taucher* • Tampa, FL
Kyle Thompson • Grand Rapids, MI
Hector Torres • Denton, TX
Ian Tuski • Austin, TX
Andrew Weed • Radford, VA


1st Place: Brian Burke • Roanoke, VA
2nd Place: Adam Bjoraker • Shorewood, WI
3rd Place: Benjamin Davis • Minneapolis, MN

Samuel Balistreri • Milwaukee, WI
William Boulé* • El Dorado Hills, CA
Kevin Horrigan • Milwaukee, WI
Niya Keranova • Varna, Bulgaria
Michael McKinnon • Milwaukee, WI
Jetro Merilainen • Milwaukee, WI
John Richard Tell • Milwaukee, WI


1st Place: Jordan Rattner • Brown Deer, WI
2nd Place: Jacob Kelberman • Philadelphia, PA
3rd Place: James DaSilva • Nashville, TN

Tomas Antonic • Grafton, WI
Junewon Choi* • Los Angeles, CA
Liz DeYoe • Delafield, WI
Michael Engdahl • Wichita, KS
Yuto Kanazawa • Woodside, NY
Leo Kim* • Sunnyside, NY
Brandon Miller • Milwaukee, WI
David Rosenthal • New York, NY