Florida State University doctoral student Silviu Ciulei has had a very successful career thus far, pursuing advanced degrees in classical guitar, and acquiring many awards and honors in the process.

Ciulei began studying the guitar in Romania at age six. In an interview with FSU Arts & Culture reporter, Tom Flannigan, Ciulei described his early education. “I started playing guitar when I was six. I started taking lessons and went to this school – sort of a vocational school – in Romania, where I’m from.” It was a program that combined significant musical emphasis with a standard academic curriculum, Ciulei explained.

“In the morning we would have music classes and in the afternoon we’d have general education like any other school. And then I got done with that after completing twelfth grade and passing the baccalaureate exam, then I came to the United States to study guitar.”

Ciulei earned a bachelor of music degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and his recent Master of Music in Guitar Performance from The Florida State University’s College of Music. The College awarded him both a graduate teaching assistantship and graduate dean’s fellowship, an extremely rare double honor. Ciulei is currently pursuing a doctorate at FSU, studying under Bruce Holzman. This spring alone, Ciulei has added an impressive collection of prizes from several prestigious competitions to his credit: most recently, Ciulei earned first place honors at the Appalachian Guitarfest, held at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC; before that was another first place win at the International Columbus Guitar Symposium in Columbus, GA, and a second place finish at the Texas International Guitar Competition in Dallas, TX.

In addition to his competition successes, Ciulei maintains a diverse performance schedule, pursuing his passions for classical guitar music as well as other traditions, such as Flamenco. On the difference between playing classical and Flamenco music, Ciulei says “Classical guitar does take more knowledge and it does take more of that tedious work making sure that everything is perfect. In Flamenco, it’s more folk than anything else and it’s very, very energetic and there are techniques in Flamenco that I apply to my classical repertoire and I think that doing both, which is my case, both classical guitar and Flamenco guitar can help one and the other.”

Someday, Ciulei hopes to both teach and perform. “You have to stay busy, and right now, indeed, it’s not one job. I do, like, multiple jobs to make up this one big job, if you want to think about it like that. But it’s not a real job until I hopefully will be teaching at a university.”

Complete text of the March 26, 2012 interview with Tom Flannigan is available at: http://news.wfsu.org/post/tallahassee-guitarist-has-international-appeal