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Andres SegoviaAndres Segovia

Andres Torres Segovia, the first Marques de Salobreña was born on 21 st Feb 1893 in Linares , Spain .

He died at the age of 94 in Madrid , one of the most famous classical guitarists, who made it his quest to elevate the guitar to a respected status. As Segovia 's career and acclaim grew he determined "five purposes" as goals for his legacy. They were outlined by Segovia in Guitar Review No 32, Fall 1969:

1. To extract the guitar from the noisy and disreputable folk-loric amusements...

2. I requested the living composers not in the field of guitar to write for me. This was the second of my purposes: to create a wonderful repertoire for my instrument.

3. My third purpose was to make the guitar known by the philharmonic public of the world. Andres Segovia

4. ... to provide a unifying medium for those interested in the development of the guitar. This I did through my support of the now well known international musicological journal, the Guitar Review

5. I am still working on my fifth and maybe the last purpose, which is to place the guitar in the most important conservatories of the world for teaching the young lovers of it, and thus securing its future. Segovia himself was elevated in status when in1981, King Juan Carlos 1of Spain honoured his Andres Segoviacontribution to music with the title of Marques and his own coat of arms.

He began playing flamenco guitar at the age of 6yrs. At about this time the famous Paco de Lucena was the greatest flamenco guitarist, but died when Segovia was just 5yrs old. Segovia came to own a guitar that had formerly belonged to Paco de Lucena and was given lessons by Agustinillo who was also a flamenco guitarist and avid fan of Paco de Lucena.

Segovia moved to Granada in Andalucia , Spain when he was a teenager and was inspired by the atmosphere of Granada which houses the Moorish Alhambra palace. For Segovia this was a spiritual awakening. Andres Segovia

Andres Segovia started his professional career when he was only sixteen; and within a few years had given a professional concert of music by Bach and Tarrega, in Madrid . At this early age Segovia was demonstrating his individuality by his fresh arrangements and rather different style of playing. He plucked the strings with a mix of fingertips and nails which created a palette of more colourful timbres and tones. Segovia was an independent guitarist, and according to him, he was little influenced by the styles of other guitarists. However, others may disagree with this; it seems likely that in all honesty he was at least influenced by Tarrega & Llobet. Andres Segovia

It is popularly believed that he was self-taught, but he did seek the advice of Llobet when he was in his twenties. Purcell points out that Segovia 's style and techniques demonstrate Tarrega like influences. As Segovia and Tarrega wrote and transcribed music for the guitar it seems unquestionable that there was some influence. What is certain is that at this early time the guitar was considered to be of rather low status and Segovia along with others were the pioneers that were instrumental in elevating the guitar to its currently popular status. These pioneers were greatly helped by the advances in communications and Andres Segoviarecording. The increasing ease of travel and the opportunity that radio presented enabled musicians to reach far greater audiences. Other improvements include the shift away from gut strings to nylon strings which are much more stable.

Segovia toured the U.S.A in 1928 and won the respect of Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos. A long relationship followed and Villa-Lobos wrote many pieces for Segovia . Segovia 's career continued to flourish and he made regular tours in Europe and the U.S.A over the next thirty years. In 1954 Joaquin Rodrigo composed Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre for Segovia , and in 1958 Segovia won a Grammy Award for best classical performance as an instrumentalist for his recording of ‘Segovia Golden Jubilee'.

Andres Segovia continued performing into his old age, he lived in South America for some time but in semi-retirement he lived on the Costa del Sol in Spain in his 70s and 80s. Two films of his life were made which incidentally, are available on DVD entitled, ‘Andres Segovia – in Portrait'

Segovia died of a heart attack in Madrid at the age of 94. He was buried in Casa Musea de Linares in Andalucia , Spain . Andres Segovia

When one notes the acclaim that Segovia received, it is important to understand that this was at a time when quite frankly, there just weren't that many guitarists, compared to numbers in the 2000s. So on the one hand we can recognise his contribution in promoting the guitar, but on the other hand we should remember to view his achievements in context; as John Williams stated in 1999 he was "a very limited teacher and a limited musician".