Classical Guitarists and Composers

Alphabetical by First and Last Name

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Aguado, Dionisio (1784-1849)

One of Spain's most celebrated 19th century guitarists, born in Madrid, April 8, 1784 and died there December 20, 1849, musical training began with Padre Basilio and later with Manuel Garcia, the noted Spanish tenor, mainly known for his guitar tutor Escuela de Guitarra and numerous studies and pieces written for solo guitar, considered one of the most innovative teachers of the 19th century, his method of 1843 is considered the forerunner of methods.

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Agustin Barrios Mangore (1885-1944)

Guitarist and composer, born in Paraguay, traveled and performed in South America and Europe, compositions were often folk based, romantic, or popular music, probably the first guitarist in history to record.

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Barrios Mangore, Agustin (1885-1944)

Guitarist and composer, born in Paraguay, traveled and performed in South America and Europe, compositions were often folk based, romantic, or popular music, probably the first guitarist in history to record.

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Carcassi, Matteo (1792 -1853)

Famous guitarist and composer, started playing music on the piano, but learned guitar when still a child, obtained a virtuoso reputation as a concert guitarist, moved to Germany in 1810, gaining almost immediate success, In 1815, living in Paris, earned his living as a teacher of both piano and guitar, met Antoine Meissonnier on a concert tour in Germany (1819), Meissonnier (also a famous guitarist) published many of Carcassi's works in his Paris publishing house, a contemporary of the Ferdinand Carulli, played without the use of fingernails, used the higher positions more extensively, had a stronger sense of melody, was one of the first to use classical position most accepted today, placing a foot stool under the left foot with the guitar placed upon the left knee, returned to Italy for a series of concerts in 1836, Shortly thereafter, settled down in Paris, abandoning most concert activity, concentrating instead on teaching guitar and piano, and publishing his work.

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Carulli, Fernando (1770-1841)

Classical guitar composer born in Naples, Italy, formal music education was on the cello, self-taught as a guitarist but soon established himself as a leading virtuoso in his time., moved to Paris In 1808 where he composed a great number of solos and chamber works for guitar, with over 330 opus numbers, wrote many attractive, easy pieces that can be found in most of today's guitar training materials, died in Paris.

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Coste, Napoléon (1806-1883)

French guitarist and composer, born in France, taught the guitar by his mother, as a teenager  became a teacher and appeared in many concerts in the region, at the age of 24 moved to Paris where he quickly established himself as the leading French virtuoso guitarist, However, by the time he arrived there, the demand for guitarists was in decline, and though his brilliance provided financial stability, he failed to find a publisher for his music which he had to fund himself, involved in an accident in 1863, resulting in a broken arm that brought his career to a premature end, left a significant catalogue of music for the guitar, but much of it quickly fell from the repertoire.

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Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849)

One of Spain's most celebrated 19th century guitarists, born in Madrid, April 8, 1784 and died there December 20, 1849, musical training began with Padre Basilio and later with Manuel Garcia, the noted Spanish tenor, mainly known for his guitar tutor Escuela de Guitarra and numerous studies and pieces written for solo guitar, considered one of the most innovative teachers of the 19th century, his method of 1843 is considered the forerunner of methods.

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Fernando Carulli (1770-1841)

Classical guitar composer born in Naples, Italy, formal music education was on the cello, self-taught as a guitarist but soon established himself as a leading virtuoso in his time., moved to Paris In 1808 where he composed a great number of solos and chamber works for guitar, with over 330 opus numbers, wrote many attractive, easy pieces that can be found in most of today's guitar training materials, died in Paris.

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Fernando Sor (1778-1839)

Spanish guitarist and composer, born in Barcelona, known as the Beethoven of the Guitar, born to a fairly well-off family, was descended from a long line of soldiers, and intended to continue that legacy, but was distracted when his father introduced him to Italian opera. He fell in love with music and abandoned a military career. Along with opera, Sor's father also introduced him to the guitar, which, at the time, was little more than an instrument played in taverns, thought to be inferior to orchestral instruments.

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Franciso Tárrega (1852-1909)

Guitarist and composer, born in Spain , his genius was equaled only by his modesty, suffered from an incurable and painful chronic eye disease called ophthalmia caused from being pushed into a polluted steam when he was a child by a vicious nursemaid, nearly drowned during the incident, which seriously impaired his eyesight and in later years caused him to be reluctant to give public concerts was much more content to play for a select group of friends and pupils, at 11 he performed a guitar concerto by Julian Arcas, His early musical training was received from local musicians, including a blind guitarist and a blind pianist, at 22 entered the Madrid Conservatoire of Music as a student of piano and harmony, commenced his career as teacher of classical guitar, wrote many studies and preludes for the guitar. some were designed as teaching material and emphasize certain technical aspects as they relate to the guitar. Most of these compositions are characterized by ingenious fingering, particularly of the left hand, some of Tárrega’s greatest contributions to the modern guitar repertoire are his masterly transcriptions of music by Classic and Romantic composers. The list is long and includes such greats as Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, and Albéniz, perfected the playing position of the right hand. Previously, guitarists had persisted in resting the littler finger on the soundboard for support, employing mostly the thumb, index, and middle finger for sounding the strings. Tárrega did not rest the little finger on the soundboard, but held the hand perpendicular to the strings, which automatically brought the ring finger over the strings, making many more fingering combinations possible, died in Barcelona.

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Giuliani, Mauro (1781- 1829)

Renowned guitarist and composer of the early 19th century, born in Bisceglie, Italy, started his musical studies as a cellist. In 1806 moved to Vienna because there was a larger community of guitarists there than in Italy, was so popular that a magazine The Giulianiad was established by his royal fans in his honor, later returned to Italy in 1819, where he met Rossini in Rome, appeared in many concerts as a soloist and as a chamber musician, composed over 150 pieces for the guitar, as well as many pieces for violin and guitar, music he composed combined Classical and Italian styles. Much of his music exploits the guitar well without excessive technical difficulty, spent his last years in Naples.

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Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)

Enormously prolific composer and a man of exuberant energy, transformed the musical life of his native Brazil and put the country on the international musical map, musical education was anything but academic, from an early age he learned the cello with his father, also gained a virtuosic command of the guitar, on which he improvised with popular musicians in his home city  Rio de Janeiro, between the ages of 18 and 25 traveled Brazil exploring various forms of Brazilian music and collecting materials, later entertained Parisian circles with tales of being captured by cannibal Indians who released him unharmed only because of his musical abilities, on his return to Rio his attempts at formal training in composition proved uncongenial to his fiery and impatient temperament, but he did study the works of the great masters while earning his living playing in cafes, composed continuously, gaining increasing recognition, and in 1922 received an official commission for a work about World War I, in the late 1920s with the help and encouragement of the pianist Arthur Rubinstein went to Paris where he was influenced by Satie and Milhaud, caused a sensation with the exotic brilliance and vitality of his Choros re-creating the sounds and forms of Brazilian popular music, lived mainly in Paris until 1930, return to Brazil coincided with the arrival of the new nationalist regime, under which Villa-Lobos was put in charge of organizing the musical life of the country, paid homage to his beloved Bach by pointing to the parallels between Bach's counterpoint and the independent lines of much Brazilian folk music, founded the Brazilian Academy of Music in 1945, died in 1959 and was accorded the honor of a state funeral.

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Legnani, Luigi (1790-1877)

One of the greatest Italian guitarists of the romantic period, a touring performer, often compared with that of his friend Paganini, who considered Legnani "first" among guitarists. born in Ferrara, moved to Ravenna when he was eight, his home base until his death in 1877, studied music and the guitar in Ravenna, performed with the local opera company, made  début as a guitarist in Milan in 1819, instant success, concert tours expanded to include all the western capitals, from Madrid to St Petersburg. next thirty years became part of the European musical mainstream, performed with the great violinist Paganini, collaborated with the Viennese luthiers Georg Ries and Johann Anton Staufer, both the whom created "Legnani model" guitars, retired to Ravenna, where he became a renowned builder of violins and guitars.

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Llobet, Miguel (1878-1938)

Classical guitarist, born in Barcelona, began his studies of guitar with Magin Alegre at the age of eleven, at the age of twenty he begins his first series of private concerts, and in 1903 he starts a grand tour, starting from Paris, one of the first artists who circled intensively throughout the whole Europe and Americas, died in Barcelona, composed more than 100 works for the guitar, regarded as the Professor of Andres Segovia.

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 Luigi Legnani (1790-1877)

One of the greatest Italian guitarists of the romantic period, a touring performer, often compared with that of his friend Paganini, who considered Legnani "first" among guitarists. born in Ferrara, moved to Ravenna when he was eight, his home base until his death in 1877, studied music and the guitar in Ravenna, performed with the local opera company, made  début as a guitarist in Milan in 1819, instant success, concert tours expanded to include all the western capitals, from Madrid to St Petersburg. next thirty years became part of the European musical mainstream, performed with the great violinist Paganini, collaborated with the Viennese luthiers Georg Ries and Johann Anton Staufer, both the whom created "Legnani model" guitars, retired to Ravenna, where he became a renowned builder of violins and guitars.

-------

 

Matteo Carcassi (1792-1853)

Famous guitarist and composer, started playing music on the piano, but learned guitar when still a child, obtained a virtuoso reputation as a concert guitarist, moved to Germany in 1810, gaining almost immediate success, In 1815, living in Paris, earned his living as a teacher of both piano and guitar, met Antoine Meissonnier on a concert tour in Germany (1819), Meissonnier (also a famous guitarist) published many of Carcassi's works in his Paris publishing house, a contemporary of the Ferdinand Carulli, played without the use of fingernails, used the higher positions more extensively, had a stronger sense of melody, was one of the first to use classical position most accepted today, placing a foot stool under the left foot with the guitar placed upon the left knee, returned to Italy for a series of concerts in 1836, Shortly thereafter, settled down in Paris, abandoning most concert activity, concentrating instead on teaching guitar and piano, and publishing his work.

-------

 

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)

Renowned guitarist and composer of the early 19th century, born in Bisceglie, Italy, started his musical studies as a cellist. In 1806 moved to Vienna because there was a larger community of guitarists there than in Italy, was so popular that a magazine The Giulianiad was established by his royal fans in his honor, later returned to Italy in 1819, where he met Rossini in Rome, appeared in many concerts as a soloist and as a chamber musician, composed over 150 pieces for the guitar, as well as many pieces for violin and guitar, music he composed combined Classical and Italian styles. Much of his music exploits the guitar well without excessive technical difficulty, spent his last years in Naples.

-------

 

 Miguel Llobet (1878-1938)

Classical guitarist, born in Barcelona, began his studies of guitar with Magin Alegre at the age of eleven, at the age of twenty he begins his first series of private concerts, and in 1903 he starts a grand tour, starting from Paris, one of the first artists who circled intensively throughout the whole Europe and Americas, died in Barcelona, composed more than 100 works for the guitar, regarded as the Professor of Andres Segovia.

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Napoléon Coste (1806-1883)

French guitarist and composer, born in France, taught the guitar by his mother, as a teenager  became a teacher and appeared in many concerts in the region, at the age of 24 moved to Paris where he quickly established himself as the leading French virtuoso guitarist, However, by the time he arrived there, the demand for guitarists was in decline, and though his brilliance provided financial stability, he failed to find a publisher for his music which he had to fund himself, involved in an accident in 1863, resulting in a broken arm that brought his career to a premature end, left a significant catalogue of music for the guitar, but much of it quickly fell from the repertoire.

-------

 

Sor, Fernando (1778-1839)

Spanish guitarist and composer, born in Barcelona, known as the Beethoven of the Guitar, born to a fairly well-off family, was descended from a long line of soldiers, and intended to continue that legacy, but was distracted when his father introduced him to Italian opera. He fell in love with music and abandoned a military career. Along with opera, Sor's father also introduced him to the guitar, which, at the time, was little more than an instrument played in taverns, thought to be inferior to orchestral instruments. 

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Tárrega, Franciso (1852-1909)

Guitarist and composer,  born in Spain, his genius was equaled only by his modesty, suffered from an incurable and painful chronic eye disease called ophthalmia caused from being pushed into a polluted steam when he was a child by a vicious nursemaid, nearly drowned during the incident, which seriously impaired his eyesight and in later years caused him to be reluctant to give public concerts was much more content to play for a select group of friends and pupils, at 11 he performed a guitar concerto by Julian Arcas, His early musical training was received from local musicians, including a blind guitarist and a blind pianist, at 22 entered the Madrid Conservatoire of Music as a student of piano and harmony, commenced his career as teacher of classical guitar, wrote many studies and preludes for the guitar. some were designed as teaching material and emphasize certain technical aspects as they relate to the guitar. Most of these compositions are characterized by ingenious fingering, particularly of the left hand, some of Tárrega’s greatest contributions to the modern guitar repertoire are his masterly transcriptions of music by Classic and Romantic composers. The list is long and includes such greats as Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, and Albéniz, perfected the playing position of the right hand. Previously, guitarists had persisted in resting the littler finger on the soundboard for support, employing mostly the thumb, index, and middle finger for sounding the strings. Tárrega did not rest the little finger on the soundboard, but held the hand perpendicular to the strings, which automatically brought the ring finger over the strings, making many more fingering combinations possible, died in Barcelona.

-------

 

Villa-Lobo, Heitor (1887-1959)

Enormously prolific composer and a man of exuberant energy, transformed the musical life of his native Brazil and put the country on the international musical map, musical education was anything but academic, from an early age he learned the cello with his father, also gained a virtuosic command of the guitar, on which he improvised with popular musicians in his home city  Rio de Janeiro, between the ages of 18 and 25 traveled Brazil exploring various forms of Brazilian music and collecting materials, later entertained Parisian circles with tales of being captured by cannibal Indians who released him unharmed only because of his musical abilities, on his return to Rio his attempts at formal training in composition proved uncongenial to his fiery and impatient temperament, but he did study the works of the great masters while earning his living playing in cafes, composed continuously, gaining increasing recognition, and in 1922 received an official commission for a work about World War I, in the late 1920s with the help and encouragement of the pianist Arthur Rubinstein went to Paris where he was influenced by Satie and Milhaud, caused a sensation with the exotic brilliance and vitality of his Choros re-creating the sounds and forms of Brazilian popular music, lived mainly in Paris until 1930, return to Brazil coincided with the arrival of the new nationalist regime, under which Villa-Lobos was put in charge of organizing the musical life of the country, paid homage to his beloved Bach by pointing to the parallels between Bach's counterpoint and the independent lines of much Brazilian folk music, founded the Brazilian Academy of Music in 1945, died in 1959 and was accorded the honor of a state funeral.

 

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