Segovia, Andrés, Marquis of Salobreia

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Segovia, Andrés, Marquis of Salobreia

Segovia, Andrés, Marquis of Salobreia , great Spanish guitarist and teacher; b. Linares, near Jaen, Feb. 21, 1893; d. Madrid, June 2, 1987. He took up the guitar at a very early age, and although his parents opposed his choice of instrument and saw to it that he received lessons in piano and cello instead, it was all to no avail. While taking courses at the Granada Inst. of Music, he sought out a guitar teacher; finding none, he taught himself the instrument; later studied briefly with Miguel Llobet. He made his formal debut in Granada at the age of 16, then played in Madrid in 1912, at the Paris Cons. in 1915, and in Barcelona in 1916; toured South America in 1919. He made his formal Paris debut on April 7, 1924 in a program that included a work written especially for him by Roussel, entitled simply Segovia. He made his U.S. debut at N.Y.’s Town Hall on Jan. 8, 1928, and subsequently toured all over the world, arousing admiration for his celebrated artistry wherever he went. He did much to reinstate the guitar as a concert instrument capable of a variety of expression; made many transcriptions for the guitar, including one of Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 for Violin. He also commissioned several composers to write works for him, including Ponce, Turina, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Moreno-Torroba, Villa-Lobos, and Tansman. He continued to give concerts at an advanced age; made appearances in 1984 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of his professional debut. He received many honors during his long career; a commemorative plaque was affixed in 1969 to the house where he was born, honoring him as the “hijo predilecto de la ciudad.” In 1981 King Juan Carlos of Spain made him Marquis of Salobreia; that same year the Segovia International Guitar Competition was founded in his honor. In 1985 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Phil. Society of London. He wrote Andrés Segovia: An Autobiography of the Years 1893–1920 (N.Y., 1976).

Bibliography

V. Borri, The S. Technique (N.Y., 1972); G. Wade, S.: A Celebration of the Man and His Music (London, 1983); G. Wade, Maestro S.(London, 1986); G. Wade and G. Garno, A New Look at S., His Life, His Music (2 vols., Pacific, Mo., 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire