Szymon Mika Wins The Jarek Smietana Competition

On July 4, Krakow-based Szymon Mika took the top honors in the Smietana Competition sharing the podium with Second Prize winner Felix Lemerle of France, and ex-aequo Third Prize winners Ronald Baloghow from Hungary and Rotem Silvan of Israel. The Final Gala Concert this year included performances by the prize winners as well as by John Abercrombie, Mike Stern, Ed Cherry, Marek Napiorkowski and Mike Stern & Didier Lockwood Band.

The Competition began on July 1, commemorating renowned guitarist Jarek Smietana, who recently passed two years ago. 54 participants from 24 countries were invited to the audition in Krakow. However, despite of his age, the 24 year old composer-guitarist outshone his competition and continues to claim many other major rewards, like the Jazz Personality Grand Prix at the 2012 Jazz and Odra Festival and the special prize at the Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa in 2015.