The Six String Theory Competition is the inspiration of Grammy winning Lee Ritenour, who debuted the International Competition in 2010 with the release of his all-star guitar CD, “6 String Theory.”
Ritenour explains the history and progression of the competition:
“It actually started with my album, 6 String Theory. In 2010, I had been playing guitar for 50 years. It was an anniversary, and since the guitar has been such a great gift for me, I wanted to do something to celebrate that. So I made an album with a lot of guitar greats like B.B. King, George Benson, Slash and Steve Lukather, along with some younger talent like Andy Mckee and Guthrie Govan. Then I thought it would be cool if we could get some really new talent and round it out. We would have someone like B.B. King (who’s in his 80s) all the way down to someone who was just starting their career. That started the ball rolling for the 6 String Theory Competition.”
The guitar-only contest was a great success and the winner, Shon Boublil, recorded a track on “6 String Theory” and won a 4 year scholarship to Berklee College of Music, in which he just graduated in 2015. Because of the success of the first competition, Ritenour held another guitar-only competition in 2011 where guitarist David Murray Browne won. By 2012, the competition expanded to include 3 new instruments: Piano, Bass and Drums and attracted a wonderful, diverse global talent pool.
The 2012 rhythm winners Karl Marino (guitar), Michael Feinberg (bass), Demetrius Nabors (keys tie), Hans de Wild (keys tie) and Selim Munir (drums),recorded a track on Lee Ritenour’s Grammy nominated “Rhythm Sessions.” This all-star album included musicians Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Patrice Rushen and many more. The guitar winner, Karl Marino, started his Berklee College of Music full-ride, four year scholarship.
In 2014, the Competition grew ever larger and more global with applications from 70 countries. The 2014 winners Tony Pusztai (guitar), Giorgi Mikadze (keys), Dywane Thomas Jr. “MonoNeon” (bass) and Kenneth Salters (drums), performed at the illustrious Montreux Jazz Festival. The guitar winner, recorded a track on Ritenour’s “Twist of Rit” album starring greats such as: Academy® & Grammy® winning Dave Grusin, Dave Weckl, John Beasley, and Ernie Watts. Berklee College of Music provided scholarships to eligible winners.
Joining Lee Ritenour as Legendary Advisory Judges are such luminaries as: Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa, Daryl Stuermer, Joe Satriani, Dave Grusin, John Scofield, Dave Weckl , Harvey Mason, Sonny Emory, Will Kennedy, Chris Coleman, Patrice Rushen, John Beasley, John Patitucci, Nathan East and many more.
The Six String Theory Competition is a nonprofit benefit corporation with the objective of promoting, supporting, and encouraging musical mastery, artistry, and education for individuals seeking careers in live and recorded musical performance.
Foundation Board Members
Lee RitenourPresident, CEO
Sharleen BazeghiProject Manager