2017-2018 Winner W. Mark Akin 

W. Mark Akin

W. Mark Akin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in guitar performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee and the University of Arizona.  He has been a finalist and won prizes in such competitions as the University of Arizona Sholin Memorial Competition, the UA Beeston Memorial Competition, Beethoven Club Young Artists Competition, the Wilson Center Guitar Competition and the Belmont University Concerto Competition in which he was selected to perform Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez with the Belmont University Orchestra. He has performed in master classes for internationally renown guitarists such as Manuel Barrueco, Jason Vieaux, David Russell, Sergio and Odair Assad, Lukasz Kuropacewski, Olivier Chassain, and others.

An active musician, Mark has performed with the Belmont University Guitar Ensemble on Nashville Public Radio, has accompanied former Miss Tennessee Ellen Carrington, and has performed for Nashville mayor Karl Dean, Senator Bill Frist, Author David McCullough and Belmont University President Bob Fisher, as well as for many musicals, weddings, and other engagements in the Nashville and Tucson area.  While in Tucson he worked and taught for Lead Guitar, a non-profit organization that establishes guitar programs in schools in multiple states.  Mark now resides in St. Louis as a teacher and performer.   

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