Classical and flamenco guitarist Silviu Octavian Ciulei was born in Constanta, Romania. He began his musical studies at age six and attended the High School of Arts. By age thirteen, he had won his first performance prize. Many awards soon followed including First Prizes in the National Music Olympics and First Prize Winner and Gold Medalist three times consecutively in the “George Georgescu” International Music Performance Competition. He graduated at the top of his class and was selected to perform a concerto with the Black Sea National Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004, Silviu was awarded a Full International Scholarship to study guitar performance with Dr. William Yelverton at Middle Tennessee State University in the Nashville Music City area of Tennessee. Silviu is the MTSU School of Music’s first Full International Music Scholar and first four-time Undergraduate Research and Creativity Scholar and Grant recipient. Upon his graduation from MTSU he was awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award in Guitar Performance.
Since coming to the United States, Silviu has won an impressive collection of prizes. Among these, First Prize in the Schadt String International Concerto Competition, First Prize at the Indiana International Guitar Competition, First Prize at the East Carolina University Summer Guitar Festival and Competition, First Prize in the Texas International Guitar Competition, First Prize in the Columbus Guitar Symposium, First Prize in the Appalachian Guitar Festival. A recent top prize winner in some of the most prestigious competitions in the world including the Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition and the Parkening International Guitar Competition, Silviu is a world-class performer. While competing in the Parkening Competition, Soundboard Magazine confirmed Silviu …”gave a solid performance”… Acoustic Guitar Magazine featured Silviu in their “30 under 30” article “…Ciulei brings extraordinary touch to both classical and flamenco repertoire. He has delighted audiences and taken first prize in an impressive number of international competitions” …
Silviu is also an acclaimed flamenco guitarist. He traveled to the south of Spain to study flamenco guitar where he lived in Cadiz, Madrid, and Seville. Some of his flamenco mentors include Adam del Monte, Ricardo Nunez, and Oscar Guzman. He has performed with his flamenco quintet Tequila Flamenco Group at the Guitar Foundation of America International Convention at Oberlin Conservatory, headlined the Eastfield Guitar Festival in Dallas, TX, and appeared live on numerous occasions on National Public Radio and TV in the US and abroad.
Recent solo engagements and with his 2021 Global Award-winning Maharajah Flamenco Trio project include an array of performances, teaching, and educational outreach series at western Washington University, Appleton Museum of Art, Furman University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Florida, as well as many festivals such as the Southern Guitar Festival, the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival, Florida Folk Festival, Radford Guitar Festival, Rhode Island Guitar Festival, and Mid-Maryland Guitar Festival. Silviu has also appeared as a soloist with the Black Sea National Philharmonic, National Orchestras of Romania in Braila and Galati and Constanta, as well as the Nashville Philharmonic, Allentown, Tallahassee, Hendersonville Symphony Orchestras.
Silviu holds a Bachelor of Music (BM) from Middle Tennessee State University, and a Master of Music (MM) and Doctor of Music (DM) in Guitar Performance from the Florida State University College of Music. While at FSU, Silviu was Graduate Teaching Assistant to distinguished professor Bruce Holzman. In addition to being a classical and flamenco guitarist, Silviu is also a fine flamenco singer and always fascinated with languages he speaks five fluently.
Dr. Silviu Ciulei is currently Head of Guitar Studies at the University of Florida where he teaches a wide array of talented international guitar students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has been on the guitar faculty at Florida State, Furman, and Wake Forrest Universities prior to that. A very sought-after modern and dynamic artist, teacher, composer, mentor, and adjudicator at international competitions, Silviu is featured regularly at many guitar festivals, workshops, and conventions in the US and around the world.