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Biografia

  • Data di nascita

    15 Luglio 1933 (età: 83)

  • Luogo di nascita

    London, England, Regno Unito

Bream was born in London and brought up in a very musical environment. His father played jazz guitar and the young Bream was impressed by hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt. He was encouraged to play the piano but also the guitar (though using a plectrum). On his 11th birthday, Bream was given a classical guitar by his father. He became something of a child prodigy, at 12 winning a junior exhibition award for his piano playing, enabling him to study piano and cello at the Royal College of Music. He made his debut guitar recital at Cheltenham in 1947, aged 13.

In 1951 he made his debut in the Wigmore Hall in London. After national service, he resumed a busy career, playing around the world, including annual tours in the U.S. and Europe for several years. He played part of a recital at the Wigmore Hall on the lute in 1952 and since has done much to bring to light music written for the instrument. 1960 saw the formation of the Julian Bream Consort, a period-instrument ensemble with Bream as lutenist. The consort led a great revival of interest in the music of the Elizabethan era. His first European tours took place in 1954 and 1955, and were followed by extensive touring in North America (beginning in 1958), the Far East, India, Australia, the Pacific Islands and other parts of the world.

Bream has recorded extensively for RCA and EMI Classics. These recordings have won him several awards, including four Grammy Awards, two for Best Chamber Music Performance and two for Best Classical Performance. RCA also released The Ultimate Guitar Collection, a multi-CD set commemorating his birthday in 1993.

In 1984 Bream’s arm was seriously injured in a car accident. It cost him great effort to regain his previous technical ability.

Bream's recitals are wide-ranging, including transcriptions from the 17th century, many pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach arranged for guitar, popular Spanish pieces, and contemporary music, much for which he was the inspiration. He has stated that he has been influenced by the styles of Andrés Segovia and Francisco Tárrega. Additionally, his fame as a lutenist is as great as his reputation as a guitarist.

Many composers have worked with Bream, and among those who dedicated pieces to him are Malcolm Arnold, Richard Rodney Bennett, Benjamin Britten, Leo Brouwer, Peter Racine Fricker, Hans Werner Henze, Humphrey Searle, Tōru Takemitsu, Michael Tippett and William Walton. Britten's Nocturnal is one of the most famous pieces in the classical guitar repertoire and was written with Bream specifically in mind. It is an unusual set of variations on John Dowland's Come Heavy Sleep (which is played in its original form at the close of the piece).

Bream has also taken part in many collaborations, including work with Peter Pears on Elizabethan music for lute and voice, and three records of guitar duets with John Williams.

Bream's playing can be characterized as virtuosic and highly expressive, with an eye for details, and with strong use of contrasting timbres.

The above, along with his many radio and television appearances, have made Bream an important ambassador for the classical guitar. Despite his importance, many of his RCA Records recordings (including the series of 20th century guitar music) are out of print.

The 2003 DVD video profile Julian Bream: My Life In Music contains three hours of interview and performance. It has been declared by Graham Wade "the finest film contribution ever to the classic guitar." His series Guitarra! was made for British television and charts a journey across Spain.

Despite enjoying a reputation as a down-to-earth Londoner who likes nothing more than a pint of beer in his local pub, Bream has for over 40 years lived in a magnificent Georgian farmhouse at Semley in Wiltshire

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