These are the 10 greatest Classical guitarists from 17th Century Spain through the present as compiled by the
WristRock staff. We have limited recordings to judge artists prior to 1900.  Since we weren't around to hear their live
performances, we relied on website forums, historians, artists' polls, magazines and radio hosts from the genre, in
addition to our own research.
Andrés Torres Segovia, the 1st Marquis of Salobreña as awarded in 1981 by
King Juan Carlos I of Spain, was born in Linares, Jaén, Andalucia, Spain. He
began playing as a flamenco guitarist at age 6. Segovia took a particular
interest in the guitar, which at that time, was mainly considered a folk and
flamenco instrument, hardly on par with established classical instruments like
the violin. However, Andreas preferred much more expressive art-music like
Federico Moreno Torroba. At 20, in his first major concert in Madrid, he played
works by Francisco Tárrega and self-transcribed pieces by
Bach, never before
attempted on the guitar.
Whether playing in the backdrop of the La Torre Bermeja in Alhambra Palace or
one of his many concerts at the
White House, he has spent his life dedicated to
establishing the guitar as a serious instrument developing his modern-romantic
repertoire along the way. Andres' favorite concert guitar was hand made by
Hermann Hause and used from 1937-1962. Andres discusses how this came
about in this rare
1955 video. The Hauser Segovia 517 now sits in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art but Hauser's grandson
still makes one of the finest
classical guitars made today. For those interested, a video on the bridge setup
of a 1933 Hauser from an old world Luthier
here.
From his early performance of Ponce's Variations and Fugue on 'La Folia'
(1932) to one of his last at age 92, "
Villa-Lobos Prelude no. 1 in E Minor" , he
was The Master. He moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, performing in South
America in the 1930s & 40s but began touring Europe and the US frequently
over the last 30 yrs of his career. He won a Grammy in 1958 for Best Classical
Instrumental for
Segovia Golden Jubilee. His passion for the instrument and
performing live is reflected in this
interview clip from Christopher Nupen's film
(For true Segovia maniacs, the full film is here is five parts:
1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 .
From Bach ("Gavotte 1 & 2") to Mozart from the Albeniz classic, "Asturias", to
Miguel Llobet's traditional Catalonian carol, "
El Noi De La Mare", to his
interpretation of Manuel Ponce's "
Chanson" (from Sonata no. III), Segovia's
style and technique stands out from all other virtuosos. He plucked the
strings with both his fingernails and fingertips for a sharper sound and wider
range of timbres. He also was the first to prefer nylon strings instead of gut
strings for greater stability in intonation.
Andres Segovia, Miguel Llobet,
Daniel Fortea and Emilio Pujol
Pg 1  
Segovia's Master Classes took place at Música en Compostela in Santiago
de Compostela. He taught guitar prodigies from around the world. Here is
one of his less successful ones, Austria's
Brigitte Zaczeck. (I'm sorry but who
says there's no humor in classical music?)  Andres Segovia lived a full and
rewarding life until the age of 94.  Though his skills somewhat diminshed
toward the end of his life, he still displayed the skills that made him #1 among
classical players as in this Prelude in E of Ponce's "
Ballet".
Some of your favorites won't make our list. That's why we have "Friends of WristRock Wall of Fame" to post your lists.
Spain was the origin of many artists that may belong here. Limited to 10 slots, it only makes sense that many of those
not listed here
will be in the forthcoming Top 10 Latin Guitarists chapter. Additionally, three of the world's finest classical
guitar virtuosos are ladies. Ana Vidovic
had to be included here. You'll find two other who deserve consideration, Xuefei
Yang & Liona Boyd, in our
Top 10 Female Guitarists chapter. Enjoy our Classical Gas!
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1.
ANDRES  SEGOVIA
  • "The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice."
ANDRES  SaiD ...
Never were Andres' lyrical phrasing, warm sounds, and musicality better exemplified than in this
1950's performance Bach's "Prelude for Lute", Sor's "Variations on a Theme of Mozart" and
finally, Toroba's "Sonatina"..
Segovia lived his life attempting to achieve what he believed to be his
vocational duty for the guitar: to expose the world to the guitar’s
beauty, to rid the guitar of its folk-instrument reputation, to build up an
extensive quality repertoire, and to encourage formal teaching of the
guitar on par with established classical instruments.
YES, THEY SAID IT...
  • "Segovia's guitar was always absolutely lyrical. He saw the guitar as a melodic instrument. "
    --- Graham Wade, classical guitarist and author of a number of books on Segovia
Feb. 21, 1893 - June 2, 1987
Fortunately, he lived to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in
1986. His passing from heart failure in 1987 set off a
celebration of his life
around the world. He was laid to rest in Casa Museo de Linares, in
Andalucia, Spain.
ANDRES'  DISCOGRAPHY
Andrés Segovia Program (1952)         
Masters Of The Guitar:
Compositions Of Sor & Tarrega
(1955)  
Golden Jubilee Volume 2 (1960)
Maestro Segovia  (1961)   
Five Pieces From "Platero And I" (1962)
Scarlatti - Dowland - Torroba - Giuliani - Narvaez     
De Falla - Esplà
 (1962)
Granada  (1963)         
Second Series From Platero And I (1964)
Segovia And Rosalyn Tureck Play Bach (1965)
Segovia Plays Bach (1965)
Suite In Modo Polonico / Suite Compostelana (1967)
Segovia On Stage
(1967)         
Mexicana  (1967)         
Soos De Guitarra (1967)
Interprète Les Italiens (1967)
España (1968)
Segovia Plays Bach (1969)
Segovia And The Guitar  (1970)
Castles Of Spain (1970)
Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre  (1972)
Symphony Of The Air - Concerto For Guitar And
Orchestra In E Major / Bach Suite No.3
(1973)
Platero And I / Sonata Romantica (1973)
My Favorite Spanish Encores (1974)
The Intimate Guitar (1975)
The Intimate Guitar Vol. 2 (1976)
Reveries (1978)
Bach* And Other Works By Sors*, Mendelssohn*,
Villa-Lobos*, Rodrigo* - Bach: Chaconne  (1980)
Art Of Segovia: HMV Recordings 1927-39 (1980
The Romantic Guitar (1981)
Andés Segovia - Purcell*, Scarlatti*, Handel*, Frescobaldi*
- The Segovia Collection, Vol. 4: The Baroque Guitar

(1988)

Segovia - Albeniz*, Castelnuovo-Tedesco*, Granados*,
Tarrega*, Torroba* - The Segovia Collection, Vol. 3: My
Favorite Works
(1988)   

Bach*, Williams*, Segovia* - Bach On Guitar (1988)
1927-139 Recordings - Vol. 1 [EMI Classics]  (1988)       
1927-1939 Recordings - Vol.2 [EMI Classics] (1988)

Segovia - Milan*, Narvaez*, Sanz*, Sor*, Torroba*,
Granados*, Mompou* - The Segovia Collection, Vol. 5:
Five Centuries Of The Spanish Guitar
(1989)    

Segovia - Sor*, Giuliani*, Tarrega*, Aguado*, Coste* -   
The Segovia Collection, Vol. 7: Guitar Etudes
(1990)

Segovia Rarities (1995)
Maestro, Maestro - Sus Mejores Interpretaciones (1996)
Segovia The Gold Collection Classic Performances (1997)
Complete Early Recordings [1927-1939] (1997)
The Best Of Guitar Classics (1999)

Joachim Torroba & Andrès Segovia*, Joaquín Rodrigo,
Isaac Albéniz, Hector Villa-Lobos* - Concerto De
Aranguez
(1999)

The Art Of Segovia (2002)
Segovia & Williams: Spanish Guitar Passion & Fire (2002)
The Segovia Collection [4 CD Set]  (2002)
The Great Master (2004)
Dedication (2006)
Andrés Segovia  [5 CD Set] (2006)
Solo or Collaboration Albums
Posthumous Compilation Releases
Unknown Release Dates:

An Andrés Segovia Concert    
The Unique Art Of Segovia
The Guitar And I
Trois Siècles De Guitare
M. Castelnuovo - Tedesco* / M. Ponce* National Chamber
Orchestra - Concerto In D Major  
Barockmusik
Spielt
Interprète Ponce & Tansman
Andres Segovia Plays J. S. Bach
Récital Andrès Segovia - Œuvres De Granados, Albeniz,
Milan, Torroba, Tarrega, De Visée
Music For The Guitar
Il Supremo
The Genius Of Andrés Segovia - A Bach Recital
Granada
Segovia Recital