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Raphaella Smits was born on the 1st of February 1957. She grew up in an artistic family. Her father René Smits is a sculptor and an amateur violinist. Her mother Carolien Van Giel was a teacher in the Waldorf kindergarden and an amateur pianist. Her brother Johan Smits was a professional violinist.

During her childhood, Raphaella enjoyed singing in a choir and participated in several productions in the Royal Flemish Opera of Antwerp. At the Waldorf school she learned to play the whole family of the recorders (the vertical flutes soprano, alto, tenor and bass).

Seeing that she enjoyed singing so much, Raphaella’s parents bought her a guitar to accompany herself. After a few months of simple chord strumming, however, twelve-year-old Raphaella became frustrated and asked her music teacher Ward de Beer (whose instrument was the violin), for help.

“Of course.”, he responded. “Next month Andrès Segovia is giving a recital in Brussels : I shall go to observe him and I’ll tell you what I have learned”. Seeing the great Spanish master of the guitar, did nothing to dampen the violinist’s guitaristic self-confidence.
“Now I know how to do it.”, he told Raphaella upon his return. “Put your left hand here, hold your right hand like this, put your left foot on this stack of books and just play!”. And play she did.

After a short while the consensus at the Smits family was that it was time to move on. “Which teacher should we contact?”, asked her parents. “It makes no difference”, said the violinist. “Even if she learns from a baker, she will inevitably become a guitarist!”. True prophecy in our own time …


José Tomás was born in Alicante and began his musical studies with Óscar Esplá. He would later transcribe Esplá’s piano suite, Levante, for the guitar as well as re-discover and transcribe Esplá’s previously unknown work, Tempo di Sonata. The sonata, originally composed for the harp, was given its first performance in 1978 by Tomás himself. Tomás was initially a self-taught guitarist, but then continued his studies with Regino Sainz de la Maza, Emilio Pujol, and Alirio Diaz. On Diaz’s recommendation, he went to study with Andrés Segovia in Siena. After Siena he continued his training with Segovia in 1958 and 1959 at Música en Compostela, and served as Segovia’s assistant there.

In 1961 he won first prize at the Concurso Internacional de Guitarra in Orense founded by Segovia, after which he primarily dedicated himself to teaching in his native city, where he was Professor of Guitar at the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Óscar Esplá”, a post which he held for two decades. From 1964 until the mid-1970s, he also took over from Segovia as director of Música en Compostela.

As a concert performer, Tomás was known for his enviable sound and interpretative skill. He was also known for his transcriptions, especially those of scores from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. This in turn led him to adopt an eight string guitar, developed for him by José Ramírez III. The two extra strings allowed him to play music originally composed for the vihuela and lute on a modern guitar without sacrificing any notes. However, his primary contribution was to guitar pedagogy. “Pragmatic and erudite, but at the same time humble”, he received a constant stream of guitarists who visited his home in Alicante seeking his advice. Amongst the classical guitarists who studied with Tomás are Thomas Müller-Pering, Ahmet Kanneci, Edson Lopes, Ignacio Rodes, Carles Trepat and Edoardo Catemario.

Marcin Dylla is a Polish classical guitarist. He was born on June 6, 1976 in Chorzów. Between 1995 – 2000 he studied at the State Academy of Music in Katowice with Wanda Palacz. He continued his education abroad in the Musical Academy in Basel, Switzerland with Oscar Ghiglia, at the Musical Academy in Freiburg with S. Prunnbauer, and the Conservatorium Maastricht with Carlo Marchione. Although the piece was written in 1933, Dylla gave the premiere performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Toccata para guitarra on June 1, 2006, in Madrid. He was the winner of the Alhambra International Guitar Competition in 2000 and of the GFA (Guitar Foundation of America) Guitar Competition in 2007.

The French guitarist, Gabriel Bianco, was born into a family of musicians, and received an early start on the guitar, receiving lessons with his father at age 5. A few years later, in 1997, he began his studies in Paris with Ramon de Herrera at the Conservatoire National de Région, Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris (CNR-CSP). He went through it in 2005 with an unanimously first prize and congratulations. The same year, he received the highest rank in the entrance competition to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP), where he received the highest performance distinction under the teaching of Olivier Chassain. In addition, he attended master-classes with Roberto Aussel, Jose Luis Campana, Roland Dyens, Marcin Dylla, Edouardo Fernandez, Jérémy Jouve, Stephen Schmidt. Since 2005 he has also studied with French virtuoso Judicaël Perroy.

Gabriel Bianco has many various musical activities (theater piece, creation of new contemporary works…), but his main one is to perform as a soloist in recital. He played his first concert in Paris when he was 15, and in 2002-2003, he performed in a theater play in Paris during a whole season with “théâtre fragile” company. He has performed concerts regularly for the last five years, and has already appeared in over 30 music festivals across the word, in France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Portugal, Slovakia, and Thaïland, and now he is invited to play in differents countries (France, Italy, Autria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Spain…).

Gabriel Bianco has already won severals prizes in internationals competitions in Europe among which : 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Sernancelhe, Portugal (2005); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Ile de Ré, France (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Gitarre Forum Wien, Austria (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition of Tychy (Śląska Jesień Gitarowa), Poland (2006); 1st prize at the International Guitar Competition “Hubert Käppel” of Koblenz , Germany (2007). He also won 1st prize at the competition in Barbezieux, France. His most recent win at the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Competition (GFA) has earned him the coveted 50-concert tour in the USA, Mexico, and Canada with additional concerts in China, Colombia, and Brazil.

When he was 12, Gabriel Bianco recorded for French television, “Mezzo TV”, for the program “Musiciens en herbe”, and later appeared on Romanian television (TVR Cultura). He takes part too in the creation of contemporary works (Alma Sola). He has just recorded a DVD for the Italian magazine La Guitarra and his first CD was released in 2009 on Naxos.

The Illinois Times wrote that guitarist Martha Masters “…is on a swift and certain trajectory to star territory.” Masters’ playing has been described as “seductive” (Ft. Worth Star Telegram), “intelligent and natural” (Guitar Review), and “refined and elegant” (American Record Guide). She is active as a solo recitalist, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist with orchestras. Recent concert seasons have included performances on concert series and at festivals in China, England, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Germany, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States.

Masters’ first CD, Serenade, is now in its second printing, and her Naxos recital disc sold over 10,000 copies worldwide in the first year of its release. Her recording of Italian music was released in 2006 on the GSP label, and a recording of early 20th Century Spanish music was released on GSP in 2009. Masters has published books with Mel Bay and Alfred, and has received critical acclaim as an author and pedagogue.

In October of 2000 Martha Masters won first prize in the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) International Solo Competition, including a recording contract with Naxos, a concert video with Mel Bay, and an extensive North American concert tour. In November of 2000, she also won the Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition in Linares, Spain and was a finalist in the Alexandre Tansman International Competition of Musical Personalities in Lodz, Poland. Prior to 2000, Masters was a prizewinner or finalist in numerous other international competitions, including the 1999 International Guitar Competition “Paco Santiago Marín” in Granada, Spain, the 1998 Tokyo International Guitar Competition and the 1997 GFA International Solo Competition.

In addition to being on the guitar faculty of California State University Fullerton and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Masters is also the President of the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), dedicated to supporting the instrument, its players and its music in the US and throughout the world.

Gary Ryan is one of the world’s foremost classical guitarists.  He captivates audiences with his exceptional virtuosity and creative genius and has won universal acclaim for his formidable blend of flawless technique, profound musical artistry and highly varied concert programmes.

In May 2013 Gary was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, London, by HRH Prince Charles in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the international musical world.
“… jewel-like precision… technical prowess… such fluency and musicality.”
The Daily Telegraph

Gary RyanAs an internationally acclaimed performer, Gary takes the audience on a unique and fascinating musical journey, coaxing an extraordinary wealth of sounds from the instrument and revealing its full potential by performing music from all eras and styles. He is celebrated for breathing new life into the classical guitar recital with his own highly innovative compositions which challenge traditional perceptions of the instrument. With his charismatic and engaging platform style, Gary’s concerts are always exceptionally well-received.

Naar de website van Gary Ryan


Zoran Dukiç is één van de meest prominente gitaristen van zijn generatie. Hij werd in 1969 in Zagreb, Kroatië geboren waar hij op zijn zesde begon met het bespelen van de gitaar. Hij studeerde af aan de Muziekacademie van Zagreb bij Darko Petrinjak en studeerde verder bij Hubert Käppel aan de Hochschule für Musik in Keulen, Duitsland.


Zoran Dukiç won een enorm aantal gitaarcompetities, waaronder de ‘Guerrero’ International Guitar Competitie (Madrid, Spanje, 1992), de 20th International Guitar Competition (Viña del Mar, Chili, 1993), de International Guitar Competition ‘Printemps de la Guitarre’ (België, 1994), de ‘Andrés Segovia’ International Guitar Competition (Granada, Spanje, 1996) en de ‘De Bonis’ International Guitar Competitie in Cosenza (Italië, 1997).


Zoran Dukiç trad op als solist in meer dan 30 verschillende landen in belangrijke concertzalen zoals Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatre de la Monnaie in Brussel, het Maison de Radio France in Parijs, de National Art Gallery in Ottawa, de Luis Angel Arango hall in Bogota en de Çemal Resit Rey in Istanbul.

Hij wordt regelmatig uitgenodigd om Masterclasses te verzorgen op internationale festivals over de hele wereld en treed vaak op als solist met orkesten uit Spanje, Duitsland, België, Nederland, Hongarije, Zwitserland, Taiwan, Columbia, Chili en Kroatië.


Zoran Dukiç is daarnaast een zeer actief kamermusicus en de oprichter van het Trio de Cologne gitaartrio. Hij nam albums op voor platenmaatschappijen in Duitsland, Spanje en België. Tegenwoordig is hij hoofdvakdocent aan het Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag en de Escuela Superior de Musica Barcelona.

Pavel Steidl (Rakovník, 1961) is een Tsjechisch gitarist en componist.

Pavel Steidl is geboren in Rakovník in (Tsjechië). Hij studeerde van 1977 tot 1983 aan het Praags Conservatorium en daarna van 1983 tot 1987 aan de Akademie múzických umění v Praze, onder de docenten Milan Zelenka, Arnošt Sadlik en Štepán Rak, klassieke gitaar. In 1987 verhuisde hij naar Nederland, en keerde daarna in 1989 weer terug naar Praag. In 1990 verhuisde hij weer naar Nederland (Amersfoort). In 2004 is hij terug naar Tsjechië verhuisd, Skrye, 40 kilometer ten westen van Praag.

Pavel Steidl heeft diverse cd’s opgenomen, in onder andere Italië. Ook geeft hij diverse concerten over de hele wereld. In zijn concerten speelt hij stukken van zijn voormalige docenten Štepán Rak en Miloš Zelenka, Niccolo Paganini, Johan Mertz en nog veel meer.

In 1980 heeft Pavel Steidl de eerste prijs van het Gitaarfestival van Radio France gewonnen.

Pavel Steidl heeft ruim 7 jaar lesgegeven aan de RMA Muziekschool in Amersfoort, en een jaar lesgegeven op het Koninklijk Vlaams Conservatorium te Antwerpen. Momenteel geeft hij privéles in zijn huis te Skrye, Tsjechië.

Ook componeert hij zelf stukken die hij in zijn concerten speelt.

Pepe Romero (Málaga, 8 maart 1944) is een Spaanse gitarist .

Hij is de tweede zoon van zangeres/actrice Angelita Romero en gitarist/componist Celedonio Romero die tevens zijn enige gitaarleraar was. Zijn broers, Celin en Angel zijn ook gitaristen.  De familie ontvluchtte Franco’s Spanje in 1957 en emigreerde naar de Verenigde Staten, waar ze grote faam verwierf als een gitaar-ensemble.

Zijn eerste optreden deed Romero samen met zijn vader toen hij 7 jaar oud was. Romero maakt sinds zijn 15e jaar opnamen. Inmiddels bestaat zijn discografie uit meer dan 50 solo-albums, naast een 30-tal albums met zijn broers en vader, het gitaarkwartet The Romeros.

Pepe is vooral bekend vanwege zijn uitstekende techniek en kleurrijke muzikale interpretaties van het instrument. Dit geldt voor zowel zijn klassieke muziek als voor zijn flamenco. Een bekend werk van Pepe Romero is het flamenco-album Flamenco Fenómeno!. Zijn uitvoering van het Concierto de Aranjuez is een veelgeprezen werk.

Als gitaar-solist verscheen hij voor vele orkesten over de gehele wereld. Hij heeft gespeeld voor Koningin Beatrix , de Prins van Wales, de presidenten Carter en Nixon en paus Johannes Paulus II.  Het eredoctoraat in de muziek van de Universiteit van Victoria is één van de vele internationale onderscheidingen die hij inmiddels heeft ontvangen. Daarnaast sloeg Juan Carlos I van Spanje de gebroeders Romero op 11 februari 2000 tot ridders van de Orde van Isabella de Katholieke. De ceremonie vond plaats op de Thornton School of Music van de University of Southern California. Momenteel is hij hier hoogleraar klassieke gitaar, waar hij in 2004 de titel kreeg van Distinguished Artist in Residence.

Onder andere Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba en zijn vader Celedonio Romero schreven speciaal nummers voor Pepe Romero.