GFest Online 2020 is proud to present the Academy I competition for players ages 16-21 (at least 16* and no older than 21 by June 30th, 2020)
* Competitors younger than 16 years old may enter the competition only if they are admitted to, and actively participating in the Academy I program.


First Prize: $1,000 USD and a shared performance at Guitarfest 2021**
Second prize:
$500 USD**
Third Prize:
$250 USD**

**All prizes are subject to mandatory 30% federal tax withholding for foreign prize-winners; US prize-winners will be issued an IRS-1099 Form.


  • Only “Academy I” active participants are eligible to enter the competition. 
  • The competition will take place online and consist of one single round.
  • Competitors are required to upload one single video recording to a cloud-based platform (youtube, dropbox, google drive, etc) and email a link to
  • The microphone should be placed 8 feet directly in front of the competitor. The recording should consist of a single take, have clear audio and image quality, and both hands should be fully visible to the camera.
  • Competitors are required to record 13-15 min of music, consisting of at least two different pieces (or movements from a major work) in contrasting styles.
  • A new recording must be made specifically for this competition. 
  • Candidates should introduce themselves and the pieces they will play at the beginning of the recording. The verbal introduction shall include “this is my recording for the 2020 Boston Guitarfest Online Academy competition”. 
  • The decisions of the Jury are final.
  • Prize winners will need to submit any required paperwork in a timely manner in order to receive their cash prizes.

The deadline to register and submit the recording is June 20, 2020.


To register for the competition, please send applications via email to the NEC Summer Registrar Rebecca Wolff (link below).

Judging Criteria

Competitors will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Sound (overall tone production, tone color changes)
  • Musicality (dynamics, phrasing, ability for the music to tell a narrative)
  • Technical Proficiency (accuracy and comfortability of notes)
  • Overall impression (personality, stage presence, and presentation)

2019 Academy Competition Winners

1st Prize – Aytahn Benavi
2nd Prize – Yitong Shi
3rd Prize – Jiujiu Wu
4th Prize – Tom Phillips