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Julian Bream - Profile of a classical guitarist extraordinaire

Julian Bream is one of the most famous classical guitarists of the twentieth century and he has achieved worldwide fame not only for the guitar but also for his work with the Renaissance Lute. He is considered to be one of the most important ambassadors of the classical guitar and has formed a solid bridge between the music of the past with the technology of today. He helped usher the classical guitar into the modern age.

He was born in 1933 and took up the classical guitar on his eleventh birthday when he received one as a present. He was already an accomplished musician having studied piano and cello but with the classical guitar and lute he excelled.

His Many Significant Contributions

In 1960 he formed a group called the Julian Bream Consort. It was an Elizabethan period ensemble for which Bream played the lute. This Consort brought about a revival in interest of the Elizabethan era which is considered to be a period of time that was the absolute pinnacle of the English Renaissance. His work with this group earned him a Grammy award for best chamber music performance. This award would be the first of many awards which include three more Grammy awards.

One of the most important contributions he made to the world of the classical guitar was his development of a complete repertoire for performance. His transcriptions of works for guitar and lute span five centuries and he has particularly focused on lute works from the Elizabethan era and Spanish guitar works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has also had many composers create works specifically for him.

Ambassador to the media of the Twentieth Century

Bream has embraced television and radio and used these media to bring classical guitar and lute to a mass audience. His 2003 DVD video profile Julian Bream: My Life in Music, which is a three hour long piece, includes interviews and performances and is considered to be one of the finest contributions ever made to the world of Classical Guitar. He has also created a British television series entitled Guitarra! It charts a musical journey across Spain.

Learn More about Him

If you are looking to read more about him there is a newly published book called The Art of Julian Bream. If you are looking to experience some of his music you might want to start with his collaborative work with John Williams. They are a two volume set entitled Together and Together Again. If you want a more encompassing view of his music as it spans the decades he has a two volume CD set called The Ultimate Guitar Collection. The first CD is a compilation of many of his transcriptions and the second CD focuses on his works for Spanish guitar.

Julian Bream is one of the greatest classical of the modern day. His tireless performance and work with the guitar has spanned many decades of personal performance and many centuries of music. He has bridged the gap between the past and the future by giving us an enormous repertoire of music in just about every modern mode of media from CD to television and film. And it is his particular gift for transcription and interpretation that has enabled him to bring five centuries of plucked instrument music into the modern world.


Grammy Awards

Experience the Art and Music of Julian Bream - Recommendations

Guitarra! A Musical Journey Through Spain (DVD) This musical journey through Spain with Julian Bream traces the evolution of the Spanish guitar from 1500 to the present. Bream tours and performs in some of Spain's most magnificent locations including Seville, Toledo, Madrid and Barcelona. This is the most complete video ever produced on the history of the Spanish guitar. Includes a bonus performance of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez." (I highly recommend this!)


Want to experience Julian Bream? Try These two works are a great place to start. The first volume of this ultimate guitar collection spans many centuries and transcriptions of the performer. The second volume focuses on his work with the Spanish Guitar.



Bream has also created these two CD's where he plays duets with John Williams. These two works are considered to be among his finest.


TogetherTogether/Julian Bream & John Williams





Together Again/ Julian Bream & John Williams





The Art of Julian BreamUpcoming Book: The Art of Julian Bream by Graham Wade - This is a book that has yet been released

This is the first book to present a detailed account of the musical achievements of Julian Bream. In a wide-ranging celebration of his artistry the book offers essential perspectives on vital elements of twentieth century guitar history and reveals how Julian Bream succeeded in establishing the instrument as a uniquely expressive force on the contemporary scene. As well as his phenomenal success in inspiring composers such as Britten, Tippett, Walton, Arnold, Berkeley, Henze, Brouwer, Takemitsu, etc., to write for the guitar, Bream is also renowned as the twentieth century's greatest lutenist and a passionate advocate of Elizabethan music. Order at The Art of Julian Bream

Looking for sheet music and transcriptions done by Julian Bream? MusicNotes has them including The Best of Bream the Guitar 12 SOlos for Classical Guitar, The Art of Julian Bream (book), Songs from the Chinese, Schuberts Duo and The Blue Guitar


The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 (Book)

The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 (Book)

We proudly present the fifth edition of Maurice J. Summerfield's highly acclaimed ultimate reference book on the classical guitar. This brand new book features all the original biographical entries updated with new photographs where applicable, plus 100 new biographical entries in the players, composers and makers section - for a total of over 485. This new edition gives the reader a full and clear picture of the classical guitar's development since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Also included are informative sections on composers, scholars, flamenco guitarists and guitar makers. The book's collection of several hundred photographs is the most complete to be published in one volume. There are extensive listings of the most important classical guitar recordings. The final section, Sources of Supply, guides readers to where they can obtain the books, recordings, music and magazines listed in the book. Without a doubt, this new edition will be the essential work of reference on the subject of classical guitar for years to come!"My sincere congratulations to Maurice Summerfield."- Andres Segovia


Julian Bream

Julian Bream: My Life In Music