In this article, I identify four of the best classical guitar players who helped create and drive this sound over the last 100 years.
At the top of my list is the Andalusia native who was born in 1893. Segovia became famous as a young man after coming up with his unique playing technique that entailed plucking the guitar strings using both his fingertips and nails. This aspect made him a central figure in shaping the styles of upcoming guitarists in the subsequent generations because he changed the perception of this instrument and took it into huge festival venues across the world. Segovia’s idiosyncratic approach and overtly romantic style garnered him legions of fans and secured his legendary position when he passed on in 1987. Here he is playing live.
A British citizen and one of the best players in history, Julian Bream fell in love with the guitar as a young boy aged 11 years after spending time listening to his father who was a jazz musician. As he developed her skills during an illustrious career, he was recognized as the leading campaigner of classical musicians from the UK who unearthed a new breed of bodies supporting this art form such as Malcolm Arnold’s Guitar Concerto in 1959. Additionally, Julian Bream is renowned for revitalizing attention for the Elizabethan lute, and the establishment of the Julian Bream Consort.
In the modern era, there is probably no better classical guitarist than Milos Karadaglic. Although he was born in Montenegro in 1983, Karadaglic is based in London. His foray into playing the guitar was chiefly inspired by Andres Segovia alongside other artists who tried to develop a new range for the instrument. Karadaglic has been playing the guitar since he was aged eight years old and his style can be described as a feather-light touch accompanied by a sweet tone and a warm bass. Karadaglic is renowned for selling out a concert in 2012 becoming the only individual to manage such a feat as a solo act.
In my opinion, John Williams is only second best to Andres Segovia when it comes to playing the classical guitar. His style is characterized by sharp precision and expression. Williams was born in Australia to British parents and his initial encounter with the guitar was inspired by his father. However, he later to guitar schools with the likes of Andres Segovia. Williams became famous for his duet with a rock band known as sky that graced international popular music charts. His composition of Stanley Myers prelude ‘Cavatina’ also gained global recognition.