Sunday, 15 July 2012

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old classical guitarist called Julian Bream

Julian, one of the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century who has also been successful in renewing popular interest in the Renaissance lute is 79 years old today.

What you possibly didn't know about Julian, that he :

* was born in London, grew up in Battersea, acquired a cockney accent and was brought up in a musical environment where his father, who worked in advertising, played jazz guitar.

* as a boy, was impressed by hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt and began his lifelong association with the guitar by strumming along on a small gut-string Spanish guitar to dance music on the radio.

* was given lessons by the President of the 'Philharmonic Society of Guitars', Dr Boris Perott, while his father became the Society librarian and gave him access to a large collection of rare music.

* became something of a child prodigy at 12, winning a junior exhibition award for his piano playing, enabling him to study piano and cello at the Royal College of Music and made his debut guitar recital at Cheltenham in 1947, aged 13.

* found that, at a time when the guitar was scarcely known in straight music apart from the great Segovia but his personality and guitar soon had the other students flocking round him, so much that the Director actually forbade him to bring his instrument into the College and playing at parties found the girls adored him.

* left the Royal College of Music in 1952 and was called up into the Army for national service and after being drafted into the Pay Corps, managed to sign up for the Royal Artillery Band based at Woolwich, which allowed him to moonlight regularly with his guitar in London.

* after three and a half years in the Army, took any musical jobs that came his way, including background music for radio plays and films and pursued a busy career playing around the world, with annual tours in the U.S.A. and Europe.

* played part of a recital at the Wigmore Hall on the lute in 1952 did much bring music written for the instrument to light and in 1960 formed the 'Julian Bream Consort', a period-instrument ensemble and created a revival of interest in the music of the Elizabethan era.

* recorded extensively for RCA and EMI Classics and won four Grammy Awards, two for 'Best Chamber Music Performance' and two for 'Best Classical Performance.'

* in India in 1963, played an improvisation with Ali Akbar Khan On Sarod.

* had a biographical film, 'A Life in the Country' shown on BBC TV in 1976  and in 1984 he made eight films on location in Spain for Channel 4, exploring historical perspectives of Spanish guitar music.

* in the 1990's toured the Far East, visiting Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan and in 1994, made debuts in both Turkey and Israel to great acclaim and the following year played for the soundtrack to the Hollywood film Don Juan de Marcos.

*  played La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla with John Williams.

1 comment:

  1. I add my best Happy Birthday wishes to Maestro Bream, the greatest guitarist of all time!