2016 Winners

top left to bottom right: Marcelo Wanderly, Pat Metheny, Leo Bettinelli, Ken Butler, Robert Wechsler, Allan Kozinn, Greg Beller, Gorkem Sen, Ed Potokar, and Andreas Bergsland. 

And the winner is...

Contestant Ken Butler and his performance with the Golf Club Sitar -- among many, many other instruments he created and brought to the 2016 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition -- is winner of the first place prize of $5000, as well as the People's Choice awards for "Most Unusual," and "Best Performance." He turned junk like old golf clubs, umbrellas, toothbrushes, and even his head into a musical instrument and his performance was the best and most engaging.   

 

FIRST PLACE :: GOLF CLUB SITAR/TABLA

Created by: Ken Butler  |  Origin: NY/US

The instruments, created primarily from urban detritus, express a poetic spirit of re-invention and hyper-utility as hidden meanings and associations momentarily create a striking and re-animated cultural identity for common objects. 

SECOND PLACE :: YAYBAHAR

 

Created by: Gorkem Sen  |  Origin: Turkey

The Yaybahar is a purely acoustic instrument consisting of a resonate membrane, changeable fretboards, capo neck system, and controllable spring vibration pedal system.

THIRD PLACE :: STIMULiERTE EMISSIONEN KLINGEN

Created by: Leo Bettinelli  |  Origin: Argentina/Austria

This instrument is based on a 2x2 meter frame that holds 16 lasers targeted to 16 photo resistors, creating a two-dimensional grid of laser beams.

 

People's Choice Awards

The audience were able to vote for their favorites too! Each member of the audience could vote for his or hers choice of best performance, most unusual instrument, and best overall instrument.  This year it seems that the judges and the audience both agreed on who was the best.  

 

MOST UNUSUAL AND BEST PERFORMANCE :: GOLF CLUB SITAR/TABLA

Created by: Ken Butler |  Origin: NY/US

Turning junk like old golf clubs, umbrellas, toothbrushes, and even his head into a musical instrument, along with great showmanship, landed him both awards from the audience.

BEST INSTRUMENT :: YAYBAhAR

Created by: Gorkem Sen  |  Origin: Turkey

Being the only purely acoustic instrument to make the finals, the Yaybahar stood majestically as heart wrenching sounds of a full string ensemble were bowed from a single instrument.

 

Judge's Awards

The vast variety of instruments made it incredibly hard for the judges to narrow down the field of constants to just three places, so the judge's awards are given to recognize memorable, technical, and performance excellence.    

 

TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE :: THE SOUND SPACE

Created by: Greg Beller  |  Origin: France

This instrument is similar to a sampler where it acts like an empty box to be filled up with sound files. It turns the physical space around the performer as a key-area to place and to play his own voice samples. A performer literary spreads his voice around him by the gesture, creating an entire sound scene.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION :: MOTION COMPOSER

Created by: Robert Wechsler, Andreas Bergsland, and Eirc Naindouba  |  Origin: Germany

This instrument is a hardware-software device developed for persons with disabilities. It allows anyone a clear sense of musical expression through creative gesture and movement.

JUDGE'S RECOGNITION :: CONTRIVERB

Created by: Ed Potokar  |  Origin: US/NY

The only instrument to not make the finals but given an award by the judges, this instrument offers a new sonic palette for the string/percussionist player.  It consists of three necks with three steel strings on each neck, conjoined in the center, which can be stroked, plucked, hit, or played in virtually any way.