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Egberto Gismonti

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Carmo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1947 – present)

Egberto Amin Gismonti (born December 5, 1947 in Carmo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a composer, guitarist and pianist.

Gismonti began his formal music studies at the age of six on piano. After studying music for 15 years, he went to Paris to study orchestration and analysis with Nadia Boulanger and the composer Jean Barraqué, a disciple of Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern. After his return to Brazil, Gismonti began to explore other musical genres. He was attracted by Maurice Ravel’s approach to orchestration and chord voicings, as well as by , a Brazilian instrumental popular music featuring various types of guitars. In order to play this music he learned to play guitar, beginning on the 6-string classical instrument and switching to a ten-stringed guitar in 1973. He spent two years experimenting with different tunings and searching for new sounds. This exploration of timbre is further reflected in his use of kalimbas, shō, voice, bells, etc. By the early ’70s, he had laid the groundwork for his current style which incorporated elements drawn from musicians as wide-ranging as Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix. In the 1970s and 1980s he collaborated several times with Naná Vasconcelos recording for ECM. Some best-selling albums such as the Brazilian released eponymous Egberto Gismonti were never officially released in the US.

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