The field of classical guitar playing does have a large number of players who hail from western Europe, particularly from Spain, which is not surprising. Musicians with the technical skills from a background in musical forms such as flamenco are ideal for developing the complex ability needed for classical guitar playing.
However, there are many profoundly talented classical guitarists that come from the UK. Here are six British classical guitar players that have achieved well deserved plaudits from audiences and peers alike.
Having been given his first guitar at the age of 11, Julian Bream was a natural. Actually, “natural” is an understatement. Only two years later at the age of 13, Bream was performing at a recital in Cheltenham in 1947. During his long career, Bream has been awarded with many honors, including an OBE in 1965, and then in the mid-eighties a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Robin Hill’s versatility as a classical guitarist has led him to work with a range of incredibly different musicians. His career is remarkably unique, and has given Hill the opportunity to work with a varied range of artists. The guitarist’s collaborations and performances include working with classical vocalists Russell Watson and Lesley Garrett, as well as the world famous Pavarotti, Jazz singer Madeline Bell and rock bands Deep Purple and Jethro Tull.
The late Simon Jeffes was another versatile performer, who was not only adept at the classical guitar, but was known for being a talented composer. While he is known for composing the music for the ballet Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, one of his most enduring works is perhaps the most surprising. It was Simon Jeffes who arranged the strings for the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious version of the Frank Sinatra classic, My Way.
Graham Anthony Devine
Liverpool born Devine actually emigrated to Brazil at the age of 19, and is one of the most notable contest winners of various international guitar competitions. It’s the guitarist’s delicacy of tone that has earned him his popularity and awards. Graham Anthony Devine is currently a tutor of the classical guitar at London’s Trinity College of Music.
Although comparatively young, Gary Ryan has already made a big impact in the classical guitar world. Since the age of 8, Ryan has studiously developed his skills, impressing industry experts and winning a plethora of awards. Gary Ryan is one of only four other guitarists to be awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Music. The other guitarists include John Williams, Julian Bream and the master, Andres Segovia.