2016 Winners & Finalists Names & Videos

Congratulations to the 2016 Six String Theory Winners & Finalists!

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS (each instrument)

GUITAR (tie):      Roland Balogh (jazz)- Hungary  Video #1    Video #2

GUITAR (tie):      Carter Low (blues)- Canada     Video #1   Video #2

PIANO:                Nicolas Hetko-  New York, USA   Video #1   Video #2

BASS:                   Isaias Elpes-   USA/Brazil   Video #1     Video #2

DRUMS:               Raphael Pannier-   France   Video #1   Video #2



Jazz/Fusion Guitar Winner:   Roland Balogh- Hungary    Video #1    Video #2

Blues Guitar Winner:   Carter Low, Canada   Video #1   Video #2

Acoustic Guitar Winner:   Rhythm Shaw-  India   Video #1    Video #2

Rock Guitar Winner:  Tom Caunt- UK   Video #1    Video #2

Classical Guitar Winner:   Stephen Lee-   Indonesia   Video #1    Video #2

Rhythm Guitar Winner:  Peter Skrabak-  California, USA    Video #1    Video #2


JAZZ/FUSION GUITAR WINNER:   ROLAND BALOGH– Hungary   Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Roman Nochevnyy- Turkmenistan   Video #1     Video #2

2nd Finalist: Pablo Romeu-  Brazil   Video #1     Video #2

3rd Finalist: Ilya Kamaldinov-  Russia     Video #1     Video #2

4th Finalist:  Eduardo Belloni-  Brazil     Video #1     Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jan Jakut- Washington, USA    Video #1     Video #2


BLUES GUITAR WINNER:   CARTER LOW– Canada   Video #1   Video #2

1st Finalist:  Hayden Fogle-  New York, USA   Video #1      Video #2

2nd Finalist: Tommy Benson-  Florida, USA     Video #1      Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Gary Cain-  Canada     Video #1      Video #2

4th Finalist: Marc Athlan- France    Video #1      Video #2

5th Finalist:  James Howard-  Washington, USA    Video #1      Video #2


ACOUSTIC GUITAR WINNER:   RHYTHM SHAW–  India    Video #1    Video #2

1st Finalist:   Sandor Nanasi-  Hungary    Video #1      Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Kris Schulz-  Canada    Video #1      Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Antonio Palumbo- Italy   Video #1      Video #2

4th Finalist:   Jamie Dupuis-  Canada    Video #1      Video #2

5th Finalist:  Dan Bankhurst- Tennessee, USA   Video #1      Video #2


ROCK GUITAR WINNER:  TOM CAUNT– UK     Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:   Elmo Karjalainen-  Finland   Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Craig Pirtle- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Luke Fortini-  Italy    Video #1     Video #2

4th Finalist:   Jorge Almarales-  Florida, USA   Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:   Luciano Silva-  Brazil    Video #1       Video #2


CLASSICAL GUITAR WINNER:   STEPHEN LEE–   Indonesia   Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Ricardo Giuffrida- Brazil    Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist: Dominic Flynn- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Alex Park- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  Giorgi Kveliashvili- Georgia (country)   Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jasmin Lacasse Roy-  Canada   Video #1       Video #2


RHYTHM GUITAR WINNER:  PETER SKRABAK–  California, USA    Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Viktor Geczy-  Hungary      Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Brad Bailey- North Carolina, USA     Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Yu Ooka- California, USA    Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  Orion Meshorer – Israel      Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jesse Sullivan- Washington, USA     Video #1       Video #2



1st  Finalist:   Michael Ragonese- California, USA     Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:   Yakub Saputra- California, USA      Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Tim Dvorkin-  Ohio, USA     Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:   Katarina Kochetova-  Serbia     Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:   Brian Clay- Tennessee, USA     Video #1       Video #2


BASS GRAND PRIZE WINNER:  ISAIAS ELPES–  USA/Brazil    Video #1     Video #2

1st   Finalist:  Bryan Ladd-  New York, USA    Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist: Brandon Rose-  Michigan, USA    Video #1       Video #2

3rd  Finalist:  Joe Duran-  California, USA    Video #1       Video #2

4th  Finalist:  Jacob Smith-  Texas, USA    Video #1       Video #2

5th  Finalist:  Naoki Isobe-  Japan    Video #1       Video #2



1st  Finalist:  Yesaya Soemantri – Indonesia   Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Shedly Abraham-   New York, USA    Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Jeroen Truyen-  Germany     Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  David Hodek-  Slovakia     Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jacori Robinson-  Texas, USA    Video #1       Video #2



First off, I would like to thank all the musicians that applied to the 2016 Six String Theory Competition. I was thrilled that 170 countries visited our website and 45 countries from around the world signed up for the competition. I personally looked at hundreds of videos the last few months and I can honestly say I’m humbled by the sheer amount of talent from around the world that joined the competition.

I’ve said this before, that in general, I don’t like competitions. Music is not about competition… It’s about giving, growing and bringing joy to other people’s lives through music. I believe with our Six String Theory Competition, we try to reach beyond the competition part to encourage musicians to share their music and have a goal to improve. We’ve had several people who have signed up previously for Six String and either not placed at all or did not reach very high in the rankings. Then we’ve had those same people apply in later years, and in some cases, place very high or even win the grand prize.

This year’s winners were an amazing diverse group of musicians and sometimes the first place, second and third were separated by a few votes. All of the judges wrote back to us that this year was very challenging because of the amazing amount of talent and diversity.

I encourage all the musicians that joined our competition to keep going forward…The gift of receiving and giving music is truly one of the most beautiful things on Earth and all of you are certainly doing just that!

-Lee Ritenour



Hi everyone! We have wrapped up the 2016 Six String Theory Competition and I want to thank everyone for taking their valuable time to vote and help out this year… I know everyone is super busy and we really appreciate the time and effort. Everyone did a fantastic job and many of you made very astute and helpful comments regarding your selections. SST was more successful than ever reaching musicians around the world. 170 countries visited the SST site and musicians from 45 countries signed up. We had winners from the US, France, England, Canada, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Hungary…definitely global!

As all of us know, the music business has radically changed, but one thing remains constant, people still love music and the musicians who make it. You are all proof of that and these young winners are certainly proof that we’re in good hands with the next generation of musicians. Thanks so much for your support! Much love, Lee

Judging in Process Now!! Winners Announced by June 7, 2016

The judges are busy going through all the applicant’s videos and making their Top 6 choices. Those scores will be combined to determine the Grand Prize Winner in each Instrument, as well as the 6 Guitar Genre Winners. Stay Tuned as Winners will be posted on the homepage of this site and on social media. The Winners will also be contacted directly via phone and/or email.  Thanks to everyone who participated- amazing talent displayed!!  Good luck everyone!

We had folks from 170 countries visit this website (out of 196 on earth!)…. and applicants from 45 countries!


Former SST keyboard winner, Giorgi Mikadze, performs with Lee Ritenour in Israel!

Our 2014 Keyboard Winner, Giorgi Mikadze, will perform with Lee Ritenour in Israel. This marks the first time Lee will have performed in Israel making it a real special night.  We like to highlight the continued opportunities that come from being a Six String Winner!



American Grammy award winning jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour will be performing in Israel for the first time on May 31 at Tel Aviv’s Reading 3. Known to fans as “Captain Fingers” for his uncommon dexterity on the guitar, Ritenour has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs, notably the Top 15 hit “Is It You,” which has become a contemporary jazz radio classic.

In the ’90s, Ritenour was a founding member of Fourplay, the most successful band in contemporary jazz, with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason.

The first Fourplay album in 1991 spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

Over the years, he has collaborated with an array of diverse artists such as George Benson, Vince Gill, Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and even opera great Renee Fleming.

For the Tel Aviv show, Ritenour will be joined on stage by his band, including Ben Shephard on bass, Wesley Ritenour on drums and Giorgi Mikadze on keyboards.

For tickets visit www.eventim.co.il/ritenour.

Total Prize Package Worth Over $700,000

The total prize package for the 2016 competition is truly extraordinary… with 4 Berklee scholarships, international travel  and performance as well as domestic travel for recording and performing, plus instruments and prizes and priceless access and mentoring, it is a remarkable opportunity for the winners.

SST Prizes 2016


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