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3 Famous Musicians You’ve Got To Know: Classical Guitarists


1. Francisco Tarrega (November 21, 1852, to December 15, 1909)

Tarrega fell into an irrigation channel when he was a small boy. Unfortunately, this fall caused a bit of injury to his eyes. Consequently, his father decided to take him to music school. He took him there because he felt that Tarrega could earn a living from music even if he became blind. Today, guitar enthusiasts celebrate Tarrega as one of the best guitarist composers in history. Ironically, Tarrega’s style fell in line with the general trends at the time. However, his meticulous attention to detail set him apart from any of his contemporaries. In total, he composed 120 transcriptions and 78 original scores. It is important to note that Tarrega preferred small performances to large music concerts.


2. Xuefei Yang (Born on 15 March 1977)

Yang is a modern day classical guitarist from China. She started playing the guitar at the age of seven. Her guitar skills were so impressive that the Chairperson of the Chinese Classical Guitar Society became her personal teacher. She was ten years old at the time. Then she participated in Beijing’s Senior Guitar Competition when she was eleven years old. She scooped the second prize in that competition. Additionally, the Japan Guitar Alliance gave her a special award for her amazing guitar skills when she was twelve years old. It is important to note that Yang was the first guitarist to enter a tertiary musical school in China. Her guitar performances have amazed audiences in many countries including Finland, Germany, Spain, France, and the United States among others.


3. Gaspar Sanz (1640 to 1710)

Officially known as Francisco Bartolomé Sanz, Gaspar was a classical guitarist in the Spanish province of Aragon. He was also an organist, a composer, and a priest. He perfected his skills at the University of Salamanca where he studied theology, philosophy, and music. He became a professor of music at the same institution in the years that followed. During his lifetime, Gaspar wrote three volumes of pedagogical work on the baroque guitar. Contemporary music scholars study these volumes to learn about the techniques that they can use to play this instrument. Interestingly, Gaspar was Don Juan’s guitar instructor at a particular point in time. Juan was the illegitimate son of Maria Calderon and King Philip IV.


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