Winners Announced for Yamaha Supported Six String Theory Competition

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Biennial Competition Accepts Performer Applications for Guitar, Bass, Piano/Keyboards and Drums

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The Six String Theory Competition, supported by Yamaha and hosted by Grammy®-winning guitarist and producer, Lee Ritenour, today announced this year’s winners and finalists. The biennial competition accepts performer applications for guitar, bass, piano/keyboards and drums, and offers winners performance opportunities and scholarships, as well as prizes from sponsors.

Roland Balogh (Hungary) and Carter Low (Canada) each tied for the grand prize in the guitar category, performing jazz and blues respectively. Nicolas Hetko (U.S.) took home the top prize for piano, Isaias Elpes (U.S./Brazil) won for bass and Raphael Pannier of France earned the grand prize for drums.

A complete list of all Six String Theory Competition winners and finalists can be found on the competition’s website:

Yamaha supports the competition with a prize package worth more than $13,000.00.

This year’s advisory judges included Joe Satriani, Keb' Mo', Vince Gill, Brent Mason, Julian Lage, Guthrie Govan, Steve Lukather, Daryl Stuermer, Harvey Mason, John Beasley, Sonny Emory, Will Kennedy, and Dave Grusin, as well as Yamaha Artists Joe Bonamassa, Nathan East, John Patitucci, Dave Weckl and Patrice Rushen, who worked with Ritenour to determine the 2016 winners.

Yamaha prizes for the 2016 competition included:

  • A Yamaha Revstar, A Series, L Series, or GC Series guitar for each of the six winners in the guitar category.
  • A new Yamaha TRBX505 bass for the winner in the bass category.
  • A new Yamaha Stage Custom drum kit for the winner in the drums category.
  • A new PSRS790 keyboard for the winner in the keyboards category.

Other prizes included scholarships for Berklee College of Music, performance opportunities at The Blue Note Tokyo with Lee Ritenour and up-and-coming All-Star musicians from Japan, recording sessions at Woodshed Recording Studio in Malibu with Lee Ritenour for his forthcoming album, performances and scholarships at the prestigious Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival in Montana and music products from several other manufacturers, including Monster and D’Addario.

Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition is an official non-profit organization with the mission of supporting aspiring musicians towards a professional music career through scholarships, recording, performing, mentoring and prizes.

For more information, visit the official Six String Theory website at


About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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Peter Giles
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