is one of the greatest guitarists the world has known. By the lime he
was seventeen, although he had not played outside Great Britain, he was
already known by reputation to guitarists all over the world.
Julian Bream was brought up in a musical environment. His father, a
commercial artist and book illustrator, also ran a small dance band in
which he played jazz guitar. The young Bream was very attracted to the
jazz guitar style of Django Reinhardt, the legendary Gypsy guitarist.
Bream's father encouraged his son to play the piano, but also taught
him to play the plectrum guitar. On his eleventh birthday, Julian Bream
was given a classical guitar by his father.
In 1945 Julian Bream won a junior exhibition award for his piano
playing. This entitled him to study the piano and the cello at the
Royal College of Music, London. In the same year his father took him to
play at a meeting held by the London Philharmonic Society of
Guitarists, where his obvious musical talent prompted Dr. Boris Perott,
the Society's president, to offer to teach him the classical guitar.
This he did for one year. Dr Perott, and also Wilfrid Appleby,
introduced Julian Bream to Andrés Segovia, who was so impressed
by what he heard that he offered to give the thirteen-year old some
Julian Bream made his professional debut in Cheltenham in 1947.
Encouraged by his father, he decided to make his career in music and
the guitar, abandoning an almost equally strong ambition to become a
professional cricketer. At the age of fifteen he was awarded a full
scholarship at the Royal College of Music, and for three years studied
piano, harmony and composition there - for il was a time when no guitar
tuition could be offered by the College.
Great critical acclaim greeted his debut in the Wigmore Hall, London,
in 1951. Despite three years in the British Army (1952-55), he
continued to appear frequently on radio and television programmes as
well as at public concerts. 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. In addition to masterclasses
given in Canada and the USA, Bream has also conducted an international
summer school in Wiltshire, England.
Julian Bream's many recordings for RCA have made him well known to a
large worldwide audience and have won for him some of the highest
awards in the recording industry. They include the Award of the
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, two Grammy awards
(1963 and 1966), and an Edison award (1968). In the Queen's Birthday
Honours List of 1985 bc was made a Commander of the Order of the
British Empire (C.B.E.).
Since 1952, when he played part of a Wigmore Hall recitai on the lute,
Julian Bream has also been noted for his playing of this instrument,
and is responsible for bringing to light much of its music which had
lain dormant for over three hundred years. He bas also done much to
broaden the contemporary guitar repertoire by commissioning works from
such famous composers as Benjamin Britten, William Walton, Hans Werner
Henze, Peter Racine Fricker, Richard Rodney Bennett, Malcolm Arnold,
Alan Rawsthorne, Lennox Berkeley and Michael Tippett. Il is safe to say
to that no guitarist has ever done more to enrich the repertoire in
Bream's association with his fellow guitarist John Williams, which
resulted in three recordings and a number of concerts, bas been an
enormous success. BBC Television have presented a special programme
about Julian Bream's life as a concert guitarist, and also a series of
four masterclasses presented by Bream for guitarists. Channel 4
Television produced a series of six half-hour programmes on the
classical guitar by Bream, entitled iGuitarra! (see DVD 'Guitarra')
In October 2003 was released a new DVD called 'Julian Bream - My Life
in Music' in which we have the chance to hear (and see) him expressing
in their details the episodes of his life completely dedicated to the