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The Greatest Classical Guitarists

Everyone will have their own opinion as to who is the greatest classical guitarist. If you are just beginning your musical journey, you may not be familiar with the work of many of the leading musicians of this and the last century. It is certainly worth exploring the fabulous music of the greats in order to find inspiration in their skills and perhaps in their stories.

Here are six world-renowned classical guitarists whose outstanding ability and creativity will provide plenty of inspiration for your own musical journey.

Andrés Segovia

Born in Andalusia, Spain, in 1893, Andrés Segovia is regarded as one of the finest guitarists of all time. He first rose to prominence as a teenager after developing his own technique which involved plucking with both fingernails and fingertips.

Andrés greatly influenced succeeding generations of guitarists and brought classical guitar to huge venues worldwide. Composers dedicated new compositions to this outstanding and ground-breaking musician whose idiosyncratic style and romantic approach to playing won him millions of fans.

Andrés Segovia classical guitarist in 1964
Andrés Segovia by Jac. de Nijs / Anefo (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

John Williams

Australian-born British guitarist John Williams is renowned for his incredible accuracy and articulation. Taught to play by his father, Williams attended summer schools and was fortunate enough to study with Andrés Segovia. Williams made regular TV appearances and performed duets with leading musicians. He also formed a fusion group called Sky which made the charts with William's version of the Stanley Myers composition Cavatina.

John Williams in performance Cordoba 1986
John Williams in performance, Cordoba 1986 by Kealow [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Julian Bream

British guitarist Julian Bream was born in 1933 and was inspired to take up the guitar by listening to his father, a jazz musician. Having received a guitar for his 11th birthday, he progressed rapidly and was to become a world-renowned artist who championed British composers. Bream encouraged a greater interest in classical guitar and also in the Elizabethan lute. He was honoured with an OBE in 1964.

Julian Bream classical guitarist in 1964
Julian Bream by S. Hurok , New York (eBay itemphoto frontphoto back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Miloš Karadaglić

This Montenegro-born guitarist has achieved huge popularity in recent years. He began playing when just eight years-old, inspired by Andrés Segovia and other players who were expanding the repertoire of the classical guitar. He was able to fill the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 for what was the legendary venue's first solo classical recital. His recordings often top the classical charts and he is known for his light touch and warm bass.

Milos Karadaglic classical guitarist in 2013
Miloš Karadaglić by Dirkjot [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Manuel Barrueco

The seductive sound and lyricism of Manuel Barrueco have garnered him international recognition. He studied at the Esteban Salas Conservatory in his native Cuba before moving to the United States with his parents where he continued his studies at the Peabody Conservatory. He made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1974, the same year that he won the Concerto Artists Guild Competition. Manuel has now performed with orchestras across the globe and makes regular appearances on television. He has dedicated his career to bringing classical guitar to the world's mainstream venues.

Manuel Barrueco
Manuel Barrueco by Bull-Doser [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pepe Romero

Born in Malaga, Spain in 1944, Pepe is the second son of Celedonio Romero, himself a legendary classical guitarist. Pepe gave his first live performance at the age of seven and was soon wowing audiences across the globe. He has worked with most of the planet's most highly-regarded conductors and has premiered works by the finest composers of the 20th century. Pepe is admired for his colourful interpretations and versatility.

 Pepe Romero
Pepe Romero by Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


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