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Segovia, Andrs

(b Linares, Jan, 21 Feb 1893; d Madrid, 2 June 1987). Spanish


guitarist. Brought up in Granada, he was self-taught, making his
dbut at the Centro Artstico about 1909. His Madrid dbut was at
the Ateneo in 1913, and after performing throughout Spain he first
toured Uruguay and Argentina in 1919. In 1922 he played at the
Concurso de Cante Jondo, Granada, in a concert organized by
Falla. His Paris dbut in 1924 was followed by recitals in
Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In 1926 Segovia's Guitar
Archive Series (Schott) started publication of classical
transcriptions and pieces by composers such as Moreno Torroba,
Turina, Ponce, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Tansman, who over the
years were inspired by his artistry to write many works for him. In
March 1926 he made his Russian dbut, followed by his British
dbut later the same year. In 1927 he gave recitals in Denmark and
began recording for HMV. His US dbut was in 1928 and his first
tour of Japan in 1929. The same year Villa-Lobos dedicated his
Douze tudes to Segovia. In 1935 Segovia gave the premire of
his transcription of Bach's Chaconne in Paris. In 1936 he left Spain
and spent the next few years in Montevideo, giving the premires
of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Concerto in D (1939) and Ponce's
Concierto del sur (1941), both commissioned by him, and playing
many solo recitals throughout South America.
In the postwar era Segovia began a new phase of his career,
involving extended annual tours of the USA and Europe. With the
advent of LP records he made over 50 albums (194777). He
continued to inspire composers to write for him and, among other
works, gave the premire of Villa-Lobos's Concerto for guitar and
orchestra (1956) and Rodrigo's Fantasa para un gentilhombre
(1958). In the 1950s he began to teach at the summer school in
Siena and, after 1958, at Santiago de Compostela. In 1961 he
made his first tour of Australia.
The last two decades of his career gave him no respite. He still
began each year with a tour of the USA, followed by engagements
in Europe. In 1967 the film Segovia at Los Olivos was made
showing Segovia at home in Spain. In 1976 his autobiography was
published and the film Song of the Guitar recorded his playing in
the Alhambra, Granada. In 1977 his final album, Reveries, was
released. In 1981 Segovia was awarded the title of Marquis of
Salobrea by King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Segovia
International Guitar Competition was held at Leeds Castle, Kent.
The following year he toured Japan and gave masterclasses at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His 90th birthday in 1983
was celebrated by tours of the USA and Japan, and in 1985 he was
awarded a gold medal by the Royal Philharmonic Society and a
statue was erected at his birthplace, Linares. In 1986 he conducted
masterclasses at the University of Southern California, and in April
1987 he gave his last recital, at Miami Beach, Florida. He received

innumerable honours and awards, including a dozen honorary


doctorates, four Orders of the Grand Cross from Spain and Italy,
the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan, and over 20 Gold Medals.
Segovia's impact on the progress and status of the guitar as a
recital instrument was immeasurable. He revitalized traditional
playing techniques and expanded the repertory by editing many
transcriptions and by his massive work in inspiring composers to
write new music for the instrument. Central to his mission were the
thousands of recitals that he gave between 1909 and 1987. His
prolific recordings (192777) reached the widest possible audience
and were received with great critical acclaim. His charisma and his
teaching encouraged new generations of players to strive to fulfill
their musical ambitions within the context of the guitar.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
B. Gavoty: Andrs Segovia (Geneva, 1955)
V. Bobri: The Segovia Technique (New York, 1972)
C. Usillo: Andrs Segovia (Bilbao, 1973)
H. Turnbull: The Guitar from the Renaissance to the Present Day
(London, 1974)
R.C. Purcell: Andrs Segovia: Contributions to the World of Guitar
(New York, 1975)
A. Segovia, trans., W.F. O'Brien: Segovia: an Autobiography of
the Years 1893 to 1920 (New York, 1976)
G. Clinton, ed.: Andrs Segovia: an Appreciation (London, 1978)
A. Segovia and G. Mendoza: My Book of the Guitar (New York
and London, 1979)
G. Wade: Traditions of the Classical Guitar (London, 1980)
C. Otero: Manuel M. Ponce and the Guitar, trans. J.D. Roberts
(Shaftesbury, 1983)
G. Wade: Segovia: a Celebration of the Man and his Music
(London, 1983)
A.L. Poveda: Andrs Segovia: Sntesis Biogrfica (Linares, 1986)
G. Wade: Maestro Segovia (London, 1986)
C. Otero: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: su vida y su obra para
guitarra (Lomas de Bezares, Mexico, 1987)
M. Alczar, ed.: The Segovia-Ponce Letters (Columbus, OH,
1989) [in Sp. and Eng.]
J.A. Prez Bustamante de Monasterio: Tras la Huella de Andrs
Segovia (Cdiz, 1990)
M. Summerfield: The Classical Guitar, its Evolution, Players and
Personalities since 1800 (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1996)
G. Wade and G. Garno: A New Look at Segovia, his Life, his
Music (Pacific, MO, 1996)
J.W. Duarte: Andrs Segovia, as I knew him (Pacific, MO, 1998)
GRAHAM WADE