Tag Archives: Viña del Mar

Chile’s Bicentennial Naval Review

Let’s face it, with 2,700 miles of coastline, Chile is a maritime country, and the national Armada (that’s Navy) pulls some weight. This year’s Bicentennial Celebrations included a Naval Review. Some 300 ships from Chile and 5 other countries participated, and the Air Force joined in for good measure.

Chile's Bicentennial Naval Review, Wulff Castle in Viña del Mar

Although the Parada Militar (check out images of that from last year) takes place every year, this is just the 13th Naval Review–the first took place 100 years ago to mark the Centennial Celebration.  Continue reading


Postcards from Chile: Bicentennial Greetings!

Chile's Bicentennial Fireworks in Viña del Mar

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Postcard from Chile: Valparaíso & Andes

Chile: land of mountains and sea… but there are few places where you can see both at the same time!

View from Cerro Alegre overlooking the Valparaíso Bay to Viña del Mar and beyond to the Andes Mountains.

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Sigall’s Surprise: Classical Guitar Competition ends on unexpected note

One of the things about competitions is that they are prone to surprises and upsets. They don’t always turn out as expected and often not as desired. Proof enough was the very unexpected twist of events at Saturday night’s final round of the Dr. Luis Sigall Classical Guitar Competition in Viña del Mar. (See “Classical Guitar in Viña del Mar: 36th Dr. Luis Sigall Competition” for information leading up to the finals).

Eighteen young guitarists from 12 countries were invited to participate in this prestigious competition. Eight made the semi-finals, and the 3 finalists, Marco Sartor of Uruguay, Sebastian Montes of Chile, and Daniela Rossi of Argentina, performed with orchestra on Saturday night.

Marco Sartor of Uruguay

Marco Sartor, 30, of Uruguay

The finalists were assigned the piece they would play.

Luck of the draw.

Marco Sartor was the first to take the stage and performed Concierto para guitarra y pequeña orquesta, by Héitor Villa-Lobos of Brazil. His execution was flawless, but unfortunately his guitar was drowned out by the orchestra, and even during the solo passages it was hard to hear, a fact that the judges neither missed nor dismissed.

Sebastian Montes, Chile

Sebastian Montes, 30, of Chile

Sebastián Montes followed with Fantasía para un gentil hombre, by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. He played beautifully and moved the audience such that they applauded until he returned for a second bow.

I am not impartial. He is my favorite. We, his family, were there en patota.”


Daniela Rossi, 25, of Argentina

Daniela Rossi closed the show with the most famous of all pieces for guitar and orchestra: Joaquín Rodrigo’s Aranjuez. She played with confidence and personality, and those in the know commented on her creative interpretation.

Intermission. Nerves. Tension.

The audience voted for their favorite.
Smokers smoked.
Hair was combed; lipstick reapplied.
The evening’s 3 stars paced.
The public congratulated them.
Some asked for a photo or autograph.


The remaining 15 participants speculated.
The musicians in the audience opined.
Everyone commented.
What was taking so long?


More pacing.
More smoking.
More commenting.

Time drags on–3 0 minutes… 45… an hour–and this can only mean one thing: the jury is not in agreement.

The lights flash, we return to our seats. One look at the jury, now on stage, and we know. They have done serious battle. Our hearts begin to sink.

The usual round of speeches begins. Why is it that every speaker has to repeat interminable lists of Illustrious Toms, Esteemed Dicks and Honorable Harrys, along with their mothers and brothers and cousins and important neighbors? All the blustering blah-blah must have added at least another 20 minutes to the already torturous suspense.

Finally, the awards:

Best Chilean non-finalist Award: Renato Serrano (29) (trip for 2 to Laguna San Rafael)

Audience Favorite: Sebastián Montes (Yay, Seba!)

3rd Prize: Marco Sartor… surprised murmurs…

2nd Prize: Sebastián Montes… shocked audience response…

1st Prize: Daniela Rossi… stunned

Sartor and Montes were far and away the favorites going into–and coming out of–this event. Those who had been following the competition considered it a toss-up for first and second. The final outcome was completely unexpected and frankly, unexplainable.

And with that, I will refrain from further comment, lest I be accused of sour grapes. Not the case. There is much to be said about the outcome of this event, but I will wait for others more qualified and less involved to say it… while I bide my time, mulling this mystery and weighing my words.

El Mercurio: “Un duro round vivió la final de “Dr. Luis Sigall

El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “La compleja votación en la final del Dr. Sigall

El Mercurio de Valparaíso: “Final de “Dr. Luis Sigall” envuelto en la polémica”

Classical Guitar in Viña del Mar: 36th Dr. Luis Sigall competition

36th Concurso Dr. Luis Sigall-Guitarra

Click for ticket information

Attention all Classical Guitar Lovers!

One of the many charms of Chile’s Viña del Mar (in addition to beaches, casinos, and lovely old homes) is its annual classical music competition, the Concurso Internacional de Ejecución Musical Dr. Luis Sigall. This invitation-only, all-expense paid event is considered to be among the most prestigious in the world of classical guitar in which talented young musicians compete with their peers from around the world. The instrument rotates, and guitar appears once every four years… and 2009 is our year!

This year’s 18 contestants arrived on Friday, Nov 6 from Argentina (1). Australia (1), Bosnia (1), Croatia (1), Germany (2), Israel (1), Korea (1), Mexico (1), Russia (1), United States (1), and Uruguay (1), and 6 from Chile. Eight of these talents, ranging in age from 21 to 30, passed on to the semi-finals, and just three—all latinos—will vie for the top place title tomorrow, Saturday, November 14, at 7:00 PM in Viña’s Teatro Municipal.

The three finalists are:

Finalists Marco Sartor, María Daniela Rossi, Sebastián Montes

Marco Sartor, Daniela Rossi, Sebastián Montes

María Daniela Rossi, 25, of Argentina, who will perform Joaquín Rodrigo’s famous Aranjuez

Sebastian Montes, 30, of Chile: Joaquín Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un gentilhombre

Marco Sartor, 30, of Uruguay: Concierto para guitarra y pequeña orquesta, by Héitor Villa-Lobos

Winning is not just a matter of a trophy and an attention-getting line on a resume. No sir. The stakes are high indeed:

  • 1st prize is $10,000 USD, a trophy, plus a minimum of four concerts (solo and with orchestra) in Chile during 2010
  • 2nd prize is $4,000 and trophy
  • 3rd prize is $2,000

And now, for the best part of all—full disclosure—I have an invested interest in the outcome of this event… I’m not rooting for the Chilean candidate solely out of adopted national pride. I am very proud to say that Sebastian Montes is my step-son!

So…  Go! Seba Go!

For tickets and reservations: 32-268-1739

For more information, see: base_banner_secundario