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Guitar Time Line

The following guitar time line features some of the major influences on guitar development in terms of players, makers and composers from around 1500 B.C. until the present day. Go here for more detailed guitar history. But first...

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*** Guitar Time Line - Start Here ***

Some of the Classical Guitar "Greats"

Classical Guitar Composers

Classical Guitar Players


Don't agree? Then have your say here...

Now keep following the Time Line...

1500 BC - Persian Tanbur (Persia is an old name for the country of Iran). The word guitar is derived from two old Persian words, "Tar" meaning string, and "Char" meaning four.

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


1400 BC - Hittite Guitar - The Hittite guitar had a long fretted neck, a flat top, a flat back, and concave sides.


 ~ Guitar Time Line ~


Birth of Christ - Greek "Tanbur" The "Tanbour" has remained popular since medieval times. Its derivatives include the Greek Buzuki, the Romanian tamburitza, and the Indian sitar and "tambura".


~ Guitar Time Line ~


400 AD - Roman Tanbur


~ Guitar Time Line ~


1200 AD - "Guitarra Morisca" and Guitar Latina

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Circa 1400 - Circa 1600 AD Renaissance Period - The Renaissance was a period where music became more expressive in comparison to the medieval period in terms of dynamics, rhythm, harmony, form and notation.


~ Guitar Time Line ~


1500 AD - Vihuela and Four Course Guitar

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Luis de Narvaez - Born 1490 Died 1547 Vihuelist born in Granada at the end of the Fifteenth Century. He was a court musician of the "Comendador" of Lean and then became court musician of the later ascending Felipe II...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Luis Milan - Born Circa 1500 Died 1562 - Luis Milan was a Spanish composer and vihuela player who wrote the earliest collection of accompanied solo songs of the renaissance period. He also wrote fantasia's and pavanes for the vihuela.


~ Guitar Time Line ~


Alonso Mudarra - Born 1508 died 1580 - Alonso Mudarra was a Spanish composer and player of the vihuela. Brought up in a noble household, he traveled in Italy before becoming a canon of Seville cathedral in 1547...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Adrien Le Roy - Born 1520, Died 1598 - Adrien Le Roy was a French publisher/printer, composer, lutenist and writer

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Antony Holborne - Born 1545 Died 1602 - We know almost nothing of the life of Antony Holborne. The original document date is 1562 when we now know he entered Cambridge University.

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


John Dowland - Born 1563, Died 1626 - Dowland was the composer of some of the most exquisitely melancholic music that has ever been written for the lute (and by default - the guitar) of all time...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Francis Cutting - Born 1583, Died 1603 - Francis Cutting remains the most obscure figure among the great Elizabethan lutenist composers...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Gaspar Sanz - Born 1640 Died 1710 - Gaspar Sanz studied and taught at the University of Salamanca as a professor of music. He was the organist of the viceroy of Naples...

 

~ Guitar Time-Line~


Jan Antonin Losy - Born 1645 Died 1721 - Jan Antonin Losy von Losimthal, known to his contemporaries as Comte Logy was the most celebrated German baroque lutenist before Weiss...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Robert de Visee - Born 1650, Died 1725 - Robert de Visee was a guitarist, theorbo and viol player, singer, and composer. He may have studied with Corbetta...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Alessandro Scarlatti - Born 1660 Died 1725 - Alessandro Scarlatti  was the father of the famous Domenico. Considered to be a fine Baroque composer, and even had the patron ship of  Ferdinando de' Medici of Florence, where he was able to compose his operas in the private theatre.


~Guitar Time-Line~


Santiago de Murcia - Born 1682, Died 1740 - Santiago de Murcia was a Spanish composer, theorist and guitarist. Probably born in Madrid and is believed to have died in Mexico...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Johann Sebastian Bach - Born 1685 Died 1750 - Johann Sebastian Bach's life and career were confined to a very limited geographical space. Born and raised in Thuringia, he never went farther north than Hamburg and Lubeck, or farther south than Carlsbad...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Domenico Scarlatti - Born 1685, Died 1757 - Domenico Scarlatti was appointed organist and composer of the vice-regal court at Naples, where his father was "maestro di cappella"...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Silvius Leopold Weiss - Born 1686, Died 1750 - Silvius Leopold Weiss was responsible for leaving the largest, both qualitatively and quantitatively, number of compositions for the solo lute of any composer in history...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello - Born 1690, Died 1758  - Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello was a contemporary of Bach, and although born Italian, spent much of his musical life in Bach's homeland. He spent time as a "Kapellmeister" in Germany. He suffered being in and out of work due to Court financial problems, but mainly was perceived as having "special knowledge of music and excellent skills.


~Guitar Time-Line~

Luigi Boccherini - Born 1743, Died 1805 - Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy, in a musical family. At a young age his father, a cellist and double bass player, sent Luigi to study in Rome...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Ferdinando Carulli - Born 1770, Died 1841 - Carulli became one of the most popular and loved classical guitar composers and players of his time...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Francesco Molino - Born 1775 Died 1847 - Francesco Molino was born in Florence. He often travelled to Spain to give concerts. In 1820,  he settled in Paris, where he lived out the remainder of his life...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Joseph Küffner - Born 1776, Died 1856  - Joseph Küffner, born in the year of the American Revolution, was a German composer and musician. Primarily a court violinist and military bandmaster, he did, however, write some pretty good music for guitar. He was no "slouch"  composing no less than seven symphonies!


~Guitar Time-Line~


Fernando Sor - Born 1778, Died 1839 - Fernando Sor was one of the most influential classical guitarists of all time writing beautiful studies, waltzes and didactic works of great importance. A seminal mind who produced one of the best guitar methods of all time...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Anton Diabelli - Born 1781, Died 1858 - Anton Diabelli was an Austrian music publisher, editor and composer. Best known in his time as a publisher, he is most familiar today as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Mauro Giuliani - Born 1781, Died 1828 - Mauro Giuliani, despite being self-taught on guitar and became one of the greatest guitar virtuoso's of all time...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Niccolo Paganini - Born 1782, Died 1840 - Niccolo Paganini was one of the most famous violin virtuosi, and is considered one of the greatest violinists who ever lived, with perfect intonation and innovative techniques. His influence in violin music, and the musical world in general was unequalled...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Dionisio Aguado - Born 1784, Died 1849 - They probably said about Dionisio Aguado... "It's the quiet one's you have to watch out for!" For although it was said he was shy and modest by nature, he certainly played with the fire of a gypsy, more akin to Andalusia than his hometown of Madrid...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Luigi Legnani - Born 1790, Died 1877 - Luigi Legnani was an Italian guitarist, singer and composer. He started studying music at the age of eight. Made his debut at the theatre of Ravenne at 17 years age...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Matteo Carcassi - Born 1792, Died 1853 - Matteo Carcassi began to play the guitar at a very early age in his homeland of Italy. He was also receiving tuition on the piano, and it is apparent his musical education was very comprehensive and well rounded. He wrote many fine pieces for guitar including, studies, waltzes and didactic works of great relevance...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Zani de Ferranti - Born 1801 Died 1878 - Zani De Ferranti wrote some of the best 19th Century works written for guitar and was the Court Guitarist to King Leopold of Belgium in 1834. He toured all of Europe and spoke 4 languages...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Napoleon Coste - Born 1806, Died 1883 - Napoleon Coste was born in the provinces he rose to be the greatest guitarist/composer France ever produced...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Johann Kaspar Mertz - Born 1806, Died 1856 - Johann Kaspar Mertz was an Austrian-based guitarist and composer, born in Pressburg, now Bratislava, Slovakia. He was active in Vienna, which had been home to various important figures in the guitar world, including Anton Diabelli, Mauro Giuliani, Wenceslaus Matiegka and Simon Franz Molitor...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~

 

Madame Sidney Pratten - Born 1821, died 1895 - Madame Sidney Pratten  was born Catherina Josepha "Pelzer in Mulheim", on the Rhine. She was the daughter of Ferdinand Pelzer, a leading German guitarist during the early part of the 19th Century. 1854 Catherina Pelzer married a renowned flautist and composer, and took the name by which she is more commonly remembered - Madame Sidney Pratten...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Julian Arcas - Born 1832 Died 1882 - Julian Arcas was a Spanish guitarist and composer. His career as a concert performer between 1860-70 took him all over Spain and the rest of Europe...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Francisco Tarrega - Born 1852, Died 1909 - Francisco Tarrega played both piano and guitar it was the guitar that really captured his heart and mind and to which he dedicated himself to from a young age...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Manuel De Falla - Born 1876, Died 1946 - Manuel De Falla was a student of Felipe Pedrell and only wrote one piece of music for guitar (Homage to Debussy)but many of his works were transcribed for the guitar as they were "admirably and temperamentally well suited"...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Daniel Fortea - Born 1878, Died 1953 - Daniel Fortea was born at "Benlloch", "Castellon de la Plana", Spain. He commenced the study of guitar at an early age and eventually became a popular concert artist appearing in Madrid, Barcelona and other important cities in Spain...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Miguel Llobet - Born 1878 Died 1938 - Miguel Llobet was renowned as a great virtuoso and toured Europe and America extensively. His music seems to be enjoying a revival, and there have been several CDs published recently. Both Stefano Grondona and Lorenzo Michelli have recorded his works...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Agustin Barrios Mangore - Born 1885, Died 1944 - Agustin Barrios Mangore was famed for his phenomenal performances, both live and on his gramophone-recordings, the first classical guitar music ever committed to disk. For a period of some years, it was his habit to perform in concert in traditional 'native' Paraguayan dress (he was partly of Guarani origin)...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Emilio Pujol - Born 1886, Died 1980 - Emilio Pujol was the last of Tarrega's disciples whom he set about to document the pedagogical principles of his master teacher...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Heitor Villa-Lobos - Born 1887, Died 1959 - Heitor Villa-Lobos a Brazilian master, was both a popular and important composer in the overall scheme of things in the "musical firmament." Indeed, he was the first South American composer to become internationally famous whose fame and popularity have continued unabated to the present day...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Andres Segovia - Born 1893, Died 1987 - It is a generally accepted notion that Andres Segovia is the most popular and important figure in the whole history of classical guitar. What would have been the fate of classical guitar if not for an ignorant, mean old violin teacher?

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Regino Sainz de la Maza - Born 1896 Died 1981 - Regino Sainz de la Maza studied at the "Conservatorio Nacional in Madrid" and with many teachers including Daniel Fortea. In 1940, he premiered the Concierto de Aranjuez which was dedicated to him by Joaquin Rodrigo...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Alexandre Tansman - Born 1897 Died 1986. Alexandre Tansman was a pianist (a virtuoso at that) who also wrote brilliantly for the guitar. He initially trained at the Lodz conservatory and was by turns a pianist, composer and conductor of great merit. Indeed, he was a pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra no less!...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Mario Maccaferri - Born 1900, Died 1993 - Mario Maccaferri was born in 1900 in Cento, near Bologna, in Italy. At the age of 11,  he became apprenticed to the Italian master luthier  Luigi Mozzani. Mozzani was a renowned musician. The young Maccaferri assiduously followed his master's footsteps, bearing his influence for the rest of his life...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Luise Walker - Born 1910, Died 1998 - Luise Walker commenced her studies of this delicate art as a girl of 8 years of age, when her father decided that his extremely musical little daughter should be taught an instrument not common to the ears of the public...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Celedonio Romero - Born 1913 Died 1996 - Celedonio Romero first performed in public at the age of 10. After his formal debut at age 20, he played widely throughout Spain but was refused permission to perform outside of his native country. Deprived of his artistic freedom under the oppressive government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Celedonio immigrated with his family to the United States in 1957...

 

~Guitar Time-Line~


Laurindo Almeida - Born 1917, Died 1995 - Laurindo Almeida was proficient in both classical and jazz techniques and was famous for the "bossa nova", introducing the Brazilian sound to the US long before its great success in the early 1960s...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Abel Carlevaro - Born 1918, Died 2002 - Abel Carlevaro was a virtuoso, composer and teacher of the guitar, as well as the creator of a new school of instrumental technique...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Alirio Diaz - Born 1923... - Alirio Diaz was born in Venezuela and learnt the guitar by ear. He studied with such luminaries as Segovia and Sainz de la Maza...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Ida Presti - Born 1924, Died 1967 - Ida Presti was a French guitarist who formed the most famous classical guitar duo of all time with Alexandre Lagoya...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Narciso Yepes - Born 1927 Died 1997 - Narciso Yepes was to become a world famous classical guitarist of the first rank. Some say he rivaled Andres Segovia for warmth and purity of tone! A not to be scoffed at compliment!

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Oscar Caceras - Born 1928... - Oscar Caceras was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and started playing guitar at a very young age. He gave the first live performance of Rodrigo's Conceierto De Aranjuez in South America in 1957...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Alexandre Lagoya - Born 1929 Died - 1999 Alexandre Lagoya and Ida Presti formed the greatest classical guitar duet in the world to date. This was not simply due to their technical excellence, but their subtlety and force in emotional expression. They also transcribed music for the instrument from many sources, most notably the harpsichord, violin and piano...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Manuel Lopez Ramos - Born 1929... - Manuel Lopez Ramos is an Argentinean guitarist known throughout the world for his performances, recordings and teachings. He has been one of the first Masters to carry on the tradition handed down to us by Andres Segovia...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Jorge Morel - Born 1931... - Jorge Morel was born in Argentina and now living and working in New York City, has performed for thousands of international audiences in the last three decades incorporating brilliant technique, a uniquely personal style and sophisticated artistic expression...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Konrad Ragossnig - Born 1932... - Konrad Ragossnig was born in Klagenfurt, Austria and studied with Professor Karl Scheit in Vienna. His career began with the first prize award at the 1961 "Concours International de Guitare" in Paris...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Siegfried Behrend - Born 1933, Died 1990 - Siegfried Behrend was a German guitarist who also studied piano, composition and conducting. He was mainly interested in "avant-garde" music for classical guitar...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Julian Bream - Born 1933... - Julian Bream made his professional debut over a half century ago (1947 in Cheltenham, England). He still remains one of the preeminent classical guitarists of modern times...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Oscar Ghiglia - Born 1938... - Oscar Ghiglia was born in Livorno, Italy, to a pianist mother and a painter father. While attending Rome's Santa Cecilia Convervatory, he participated in summer master classes. These were run by Segovia.

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Leo Brouwer - Born 1939... - Leo Brouwer was born in Havana, Cuba in 1939. He studied with Pujol's pupil, and, specializing in composition, completed his studies at The Julliard School of Music and at Hartt College of Music...

 

~Guitar Time Line~


Milan Zelenka - Born 1939... - Milan Zelenka is regarded as one of the best classical guitarists in Czechoslovakia. He is a graduate of the Prague Conservatory...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Turibio Santos - Born 1940... - Turibio Santos was born in Brazil and started playing the guitar at the age of ten. He formed a successful duo with his former teacher, Oscar Caceras. Santos has performed both solo and with orchestras all around the world...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


John Williams - Born 1941... - John Williams is one of the finest classical guitarists of all time. Even though, he has delved into other areas of guitar and music that wouldn't be regarded as "classical guitar", he nevertheless remains as one of its most proficient players...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Alice Artzt - Born 1943... - Alice Artzt studied with Alexander Bellow, Julian Bream, and Ida Presti. She has played concerts all over the world. Artzt is also an authority on the films of Charlie Chaplin...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Carlos Barbosa-Lima - Born 1944... - Carlos Barbosa-Lima began studying the guitar at the age of seven. He made his concert debut five years later in Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Pepe Romero - Born 1944... - Pepe Romero is one of the most remarkable and proficient players in the modern era of classical guitar. Often astounding audiences with his dazzling technique, Romero has obtained a mastery that is very rare indeed. Born in Malaga, Spain in 1944, he started playing the guitar at age three with his father Celdonio. Although he only ever studied guitar with his father, he did study music theory in both Spain and America...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Angel Romero - Born 1944... - Angel Romero is the youngest son of Celedonio Romero and is an integral part of Romero family performances. Angel is a highly accomplished player in his own right. He was even the first guitarist to play at the famous Hollywood Bowl in 1964. For the record,  he played Rodrigo's Concerto De Aranjuez...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Christopher Parkening - Born 1947... - Christopher Parkening began studying the guitar at the age of eleven. He studied with both Celedonio and Pepe Romero. Parkening is celebrated as one of the world's preeminent virtuoso's of the classical guitar. For more than a quarter century, his concerts and recordings have received the highest worldwide acclaim. He has also written a classical guitar method...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Carlos Bonell - Born 1949... - Carlos Bonell has enjoyed an immensely varied career. His activities include TV, film and CD recordings, international tours, concertos with the major orchestras and concerts with his own ensemble. Carlos Bonell's guitar playing can be heard on the recent Hollywood films 'City of Angels' and 'The Honest Courtesan', and on the TV films 'Inspector Morse' and 'The Politician's Wife'....

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Liona Boyd - Born 1949... - Liona Boyd completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performance at the University of Toronto where she graduated with honors and won first prize in the Canadian National Music Competition. After two years of private study with Alexandre Lagoya in Paris, Liona returned to North America and recorded her first album for Boot/London Records. After her debut at Carnegie Recital Hall the New York Times praised her "flair for brilliance"...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Ricardo Iznaola - Born 1949... - Ricardo Iznaola pursues a brilliant, multifaceted musical career. An American citizen, he was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1949, and trained in Caracas under maestros Manuel Perez Diaz and Alirio Diaz, and in Madrid under the eminent master Regino Sainz de la Maza while pursuing studies in Theory and Composition at Madrid's Royal Conservatory...

 

~ Guitar Time Line~


Eduardo Fernandez - Born 1952... - Eduardo Fernandez is recognized as one of today's leading guitarists. Born in 1952 in Uruguay, he began his studies of guitar at age 7. His principal teachers were Abel Carlevaro, Guido Santarsola and Hector Tosar. After being prized in several international competitions, the most notable being the 1972 Porto Alegre (Brazil) and 1975 Radio France (Paris) competitions, he won the first prize of the 1975 Andres Segovia Competition in  Mallorca (Spain)...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


David Russell - Born 1953... - David Russell was born in Scotland, but living in Menorca for most of his young life, Russell began playing the guitar when quite small. By the time,  he was sixteen he moved to London to further his guitar study with the renowned Hector Quine. Russell's talent must have been immense because whilst at the Royal College of Music in London he twice won the prestigious Julian Bream medal. He even obtained the Vaughn Williams Foundation Scholarship...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Anthony Glise - Born 1956... - Anthony Glise only American-born guitarist to win First Prize at the International Toscanini Competition (Italy), Anthony Glise is a product of the "Conservatories der Stadt" (Vienna) and the New England Conservatory (Boston) with additional study at Harvard, University Catholic de Lille (France) and the "Academic di Studi" Superior "L'Ottocento" (Italy). A Pulitzer Prize Nominee for composition, Anthony has performed and has been awarded diplomas at such festivals as "Festival des Artes" (Hautecombe, France) Festival Ville Sable (France), ARCUM (Rome) and Hungary...

 

~ Guitar Time Line ~


Sharon Isbin - Born 1956... - Sharon Isbin was only nine years old when she first studied guitar. That was in Italy after her father had taken the family from their native America so he could complete a year's sabbatical from the University of Minnesota. Her innate artistry was almost immediately apparent. When she returned to America, she continued to study with such guitar luminaries as Oscar Ghiglia and Alirio Diaz (in master classes) and Sophocles Papas...

 

~ Guitar Time-Line~


David Tanenbaum - Born 1956... - David Tanenbaum is a prolific player, writer and commentator on classical guitar. Born into a musical family, he played both cello and piano before turning to classical guitar at age ten. Tanenbaum has won prestigious awards over the years. This includes the Carmel Classical Guitar competition and second in the famous Toronto International Competition in 1978.

 

~ Guitar Time-Line~


Slava Grigoryan - Born 1976... - Slava Grigoryan was born in Kazakhstan in the former USSR in 1976 and emigrated when only five years old. His father was his first teacher although he was primarily a violinist, not a classical guitarist. He must have been good though as the young Slava was reputed to advance through six years of training in one year! No mean feat for a child. Making his successful debut at just age fourteen (His first recital was at the age of eight) Slava has matured into the world class musician of today...

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