Classical guitarist, Skender Sefa has recorded four classical guitar CD’s on the GFI Masterworks, Uncontrollable Records and Marquis Classics labels: one solo CD, two duet CDs, and one chamber music CD. The CD ”Sefarad – The Music of Sid Robinovitch”, on which Skender performs on four tracks in trio with Ryszard Tyborowski and Michael Daher, was nominated for two Western Canadian Music Awards and a Juno.
Skender has performed at the University of Manitoba, the University of Brandon, the University of Winnipeg, the University of Edmonton, the University of Montreal, the University of Texas (San Antonio), the Guitar Foundation of America International Convention in California, the Winnipeg MTS Centre, the Winnipeg Concert Hall, and the Manitoba Museum. Performance highlights include two performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in October of 2006 as a featured soloist in the WSO’s prestigious Masterworks series performing Osvaldo Golijov’s ”Oceana” and three performances with the WSO and the Manitoba Opera Association performing Verdi’s ”Otello” in April 2007, a performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in April 2008 at the MTS Center, two concerts with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2012 performing Mahlers 7th Symphony, three concerts in November 2013 with the WSO and the Manitoba Opera Association performing Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, four concerts in 2016 with the WSO and the Manitoba Opera Association performing Verdi’s “Falstaff”, a ten day concert tour performing numerous concerts with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in 2016, and several full length recitals for the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society.
Skender completed the Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Master of Music (Performance) degree programs at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music under professor Ryszard Tyborowski. He also completed a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) degree and was a scholarship student at the prestigious Domaine Forget Music and Dance Academy in Quebec, where he studied under renowned classical guitar pedagogues Bruce Holzman (USA), Jean Vallieres (Quebec) and Patrick Roux (Ottawa). As a student, Skender was awarded the Best Overall Performance Award at the 1999 Winnipeg Music Competition Festival by adjudicator Alexander Dunn (Victoria) and was awarded the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society Scholarship Prize by Ian Hodges (Winnipeg). In 2000, Skender was again awarded the Best Overall Performance Award at the Winnipeg Music Competition Festival this time by adjudicator Fabio Zanon (Brazil) and again won the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society Scholarship Prize and was a finalist in the U of M’s prestigious Lawrence Genser Performance Competition. Skender performed in master classes with some of the leading classical guitarists in the world including Leo Brouwer (Cuba), David Russell (Scotland), Roland Dyens (Paris), Fabio Zanon (Brazil), Denis Azabagic (Bosnia), Pia Gazarek-Offermann (Germany), Ricardo Cobo (Columbia), Alvin Tung (Toronto) and Norbert Kraft (Canada).
Skender’s students have also won numerous competitions, awards, and scholarships and have become professional musicians. Skender was the recipient of RCM Teaching Award’s in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. In addition to performing, teaching and recording, Skender is an active adjudicator. Notably, Skender was a judge alongside Michael Angelo Batio at Winnipeg’s SHREDFEST electric guitar competition in 2009, in February of 2010, Skender adjudicated the classical guitar classes at the Brandon Music Festival and in March 2017, Skender adjudicated the guitar classes at the Steinbach Festival of the Arts.
In recognition of his career in classical guitar performance, Skender has received awards from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Manitoba Arts Council.