Classical and flamenco guitarist Silviu Octavian Ciulei was born in Constanta, Romania. He began his musical studies at the age of six and attended the High School of Arts in Constanta. By age thirteen, he had won his first performance prize. In Romania, Silviu won many prizes including First Prizes in the National Music Olympics, and was 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 the Concerto in A major opus 30 by Mauro Giuliani with the Black Sea Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004, Silviu was awarded a Full International Scholarship to study guitar performance with Dr. William Yelverton at Middle Tennessee State University. 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 the Outstanding Achievement in Guitar Performance Award.
Since coming to the United States, Silviu has won an impressive collection of prizes. Among these, First Prize at the Indiana International Guitar Competition, First Prize at the East Carolina University Guitar Festival and Competition, Second Prize in the Texas International Guitar Competition, First Prize in the Columbus Guitar Symposium, First Prize in the Appalachian Guitar Festival, Third Prize in the Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition, Fifth Prize at the prestigious Parkening International Guitar Competition, Third Prize in the Schadt Concerto Competition. While competing in the Parkening Competition, Soundboard Magazine said Silviu …"gave a solid performance"...
Silviu is also an acclaimed flamenco guitarist. He traveled to the south of Spain to study flamenco guitar and 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 band Tequila Flamenco Group at the Guitar Foundation of America International Festival at Oberlin Conservatory, Eastfield College Guitar Festival in Dallas, TX, and with his new flamenco project Maharajah Flamenco Trio at the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition in Columbia, SC and has toured the United States east coast from Florida to New York.
Silviu holds a Bachelor of Music in guitar performance from Middle Tennessee State University, a Master of Music in guitar performance from Florida State University, and a Doctor of Music degree in guitar performance from Florida State University where he was graduate teaching assistant to professor Bruce Holzman. In addition to being a classical and flamenco guitarist, Silviu is also a fine flamenco singer and always fascinated with languages, Silviu speaks five fluently.