Shawn Pickup returns to Acadia for festival, guitar recital

Wendy Elliott
Published on April 27, 2014

Guitarist Shawn Pickup, a Halifax native, is adjudicating this week at the Annapolis Valley Music Festival. The Acadia graduate is also offering a concert May 2 at the Manning Memorial Chapel. - Submitted

Song and Dance of the Guitar: from Europe's Royal Courts to the Streets of Brazil is the title of a classical guitar recital by Shawn Pickup on May 2 at the Manning Memorial Chapel, Acadia University.

In this meeting of old world and new, Pickup will present his audience with a colourful mixture of music from various eras from Europe to South America and back. He is also acting as guitar adjudicator this week for the Annapolis Valley Music Festival.

Pickup has been praised for “a technique of the highest level” and “masterful interpretation.” A multiple national and international prizewinner, his recent performance highlights include a radio broadcast performance live from Cologne, Germany and solo recitals for the Sauble Beach and Hamilton International Guitar Festivals. He was the winner of the 2010 Solistenauswahl Concerto Competition, a performance in the Historic Stadthalle, Wuppertal. He was also a soloist with the orchestra of the Hochschule für Musik Köln, Wuppertal.

Pickup’s programming ranges from the Baroque to the rhythmic vitality of the music of South America, with an increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration.

Future engagements will include recitals for the Guitar Society of Toronto’s Café Series and a performance at the Toronto Guitar Symposium alongside Chroma Duo.

Born in Halifax, Pickup completed his undergrad degree at Acadia with Eugene Cormier. Upon winning first prize in guitar and the Grand Award at the 2006 FCMF Canadian National Music Festival, he went to Germany to study with Wolfville native Dale Kavanagh at the Hochschule für Musik, Detmold, where he completed his diploma in 2009. He then took a graduate degree at the Hochschule für Musik Köln in 2011.

Pickup has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a DAAD Study Scholarship, N.S. Talent Trust Bursary and the Domenic Troiano Guitar Scholarship. He has been a member of the teaching faculty for numerous international guitar festivals in Canada and abroad, including the renowned Iserlohn Guitar Symposium, and is now becoming a regular jury member for international guitar competitions.

Now based in Toronto, he is currently pursuing a doctorate of musical arts at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey McFadden.

His Wolfville concert, which is by freewill offering, will feature works by Weiss, Schubert, Albéniz and Villa-Lobos.