Top 20 Artists of the Classical Guitar and their Music

These are acknowledged top 20 performers of the classical guitar in modern times. If you don’t do anything else, you should at the very least play each YouTube link to see each artist in action. May be run your eyes over the text on that guitarist, or may be close your eyes and relax.

That will tell you beyond doubt why the great are indeed great.

Andrés Segovia

There’s no way we can talk about classical guitar music and not mention Segovia. He was single handedly responsible for raising the status of the guitar from a “sonorous, parlour instrument” to a serious concert presence.

Leyenda by Segovia

Over a long life and a professional career spanning seven decades, Segovia popularised the classical guitar by resurrecting the works of the classical composers, most notably Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega; by personally transcribing works written for other instruments like the lute, harpsichord, piano, violin and cello of great composers like J.S.Bach, Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados; and by persuading leading composers of the day to write for the guitar, like Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

In addition to these lofty achievements, he cast a magical spell over his audiences with his remarkable playing. The Segovian touch was a real thing, something we are fortunate to hear even today through his many recordings. He is remembered for his expressive performances: his trademark tone, phrasing and style. In his own words, he was both student and teacher, performing the “double function of professor and pupil in the same body”.

Many professional classical guitarists today were students of Segovia, or students of his students. Segovia influenced a generation of classical guitarists who built on his technique and musical sensibility, including such luminaries as Christopher Parkening, Julian Bream, John Williams and Oscar Ghiglia, all of whom have acknowledged their debt to him. 

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Julian Bream

Julian Bream is an English virtuoso classical guitarist and lutenist, one of the distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century. Like Segovia, he too played a significant role in improving the public perception of the classical guitar as a respectable instrument. Bream is the winner of four Grammy Awards among the many plaudits he has won for himself over a long and successful career.

Bream’s playing has been described as “virtuosic and highly expressive, with an eye for detail, and with strong use of contrasting timbres.”

Bach violin sonata fugue by Julian Bream

Among the things that set Bream apart from other classical guitarists is his playing of the Renaissance lute. When he was only 19, Bream was already playing the lute in London’s iconic Wigmore Hall. He is considered an accomplished lutenist in addition to being among the foremost guitarists of our time.

One of the famous pieces in classical guitar repertoire, Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal was written for Bream. It is an unusual set of variations on a John Dowland theme from Come, Heavy Sleep, which is played in its original form near the end of the composition.

Following the Segovian tradition of enlisting great living composers to write for the guitar, Bream has worked with not only with Britten but also others like Toru Takemitsu and Richard Rodney Bennett.

A noteworthy feature of Bream’s career is his duet partnership with the other great luminary John Williams. They performed a number of concerts together and came out with three recordings. These two masters coming together has always been a source of immense delight and satisfaction to lovers of the classical guitar.

In the middle of 1984, Bream was involved in a road accident that led to multiple fractures in his right elbow. Fortunately, he came out of that successfully with slow, prolonged training and re-learning, changing his right hand technique marginally, even while believing at the time he’d never play the guitar again.

As a self-taught guitarist, Bream’s playing is full of enthusiasm and wanting to share. “I devoted my life to music for a reason,” he has said. “And the reason wasn’t because I wanted to get on or make money, but to try to fulfill myself and also to give people pleasure. That’s been my credo.”

A multi-CD set The Ultimate Guitar Collection was released to commemorate his 60th birthday in 1993.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

John Williams

According to guitar historian Graham Wade, John Williams “is perhaps the most technically accomplished guitarist the world has seen.” A younger and virtuosic guitarist like Jason Vieaux has said that Williams is like Michael Jordan to a lot of later players.

Cavatina (S.Myers) by John Williams

John Williams is among a list of celebrated players who were personally trained by Andrés Segovia. His lessons with the great man began when he was hardly 12. He made his professional debut just two years later. His impact on the guitar world is undeniable with not only his remarkable, near-perfect playing but also his various collaborations with multiple musicians and composers through his long career.

Williams has extended the classical guitar repertoire by commissioning guitar concertos from composers such as Stephen Dodgson, André Previn, Patrick Gowers, Richard Harvey and Steve Gray. He created a highly acclaimed classical-rock fusion duet with rock guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who on Townshend’s anthemic Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Williams has recorded albums of duets with fellow guitarists Julian Bream and Paco Peña.

He shared a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category with fellow guitarist Julian Bream for their duet album Together.

Williams recorded Cavatina by Stanley Myers. The piece originally included only the first few measures but, at Williams’ request, it was rewritten for guitar and expanded by Myers. The guitar version became a worldwide hit single when it was used as the theme tune to the Oscar-winning film The Deer Hunter.

Williams had perhaps his greatest impact on the guitar world when, in 1977, he recorded an entire album of the music of Paraguayan composer Augustín Barrios Mangoré. 

Williams has strong views on guitar education and teaching. He believes it to be too one-sided, focusing only on solo playing, instead of ensemble playing, sight-reading and an emphasis on phrasing and tone production and variation.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

David Russell

Widely known for his near-flawless playing and diverse repertoire, Russell is one of the most distinguished classical guitarists in the world. He is probably the biggest name in the concert circuit of classical guitarists today. He won a Grammy Award for the best instrumental soloist in classical music for his CD Aire Latino.

El Ultimo Tremolo (Agustin Barrios) by David Russell

Russell even has a concert hall and a street named for him in Spain, where he lives. He is also famous for his prolific output. He has recorded 25 albums since the beginning of his career, about one a year in the last 15 years. In the year leading up to the release of a new album Russell immerses himself with the works of a single composer like Bach or Barrios or a single style like Baroque or Celtic music. His recent Sonidos Latinos, in keeping with his approach, features guitar music from Latin America.

He has released albums featuring single composers like Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios Mangoré, Spanish composer Federico Moreno Torroba and the great J.S.Bach. Other albums explored themes: Celtic Music for Guitar, Baroque Music, Spanish Favorites, and Aire Latino (dedicated to music written by Latin American composers), and an album titled For David (contemporary works dedicated to him).

The thematic approach, which works so well for his recordings, doesn’t always work for a concert though, where Russell says it’s nicer to have a variety of styles.

He plays luthier Matthias Dammann guitars.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Narciso Yepes

Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes came from humble origins in Murcia. His father gave him his first guitar when he was four years old, and took the boy five miles on a donkey to and from lessons three days a week. The boy in later years became the epitome of technical mastery with “poetry and power in large measure and flexibility of rhythm that was a total contradiction to the tight beat he kept.”

He became famous, among other things, for his Yepes Guitar. The ten-string extended-range classical guitar, with fully chromatic, sympathetic string resonance was conceived in 1963 by Narciso Yepes and constructed by José Ramírez. This instrument is sometimes referred to as the “modern” 10-string guitar to differentiate it from ten-stringed harp guitars of the 19th century. Watch in action below.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra (F.Tarrega) by Narciso Yepes

The very next year, Yepes performed the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, premièring the ten-string guitar. From then on, Yepes used the ten-string guitar exclusively, performing in recitals as well as with the world’s leading orchestras, giving an average of 130 performances each year.

Yepes was also a significant scholar. His research into forgotten manuscripts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries resulted in the rediscovery of numerous works for guitar or lute. He was also the first person to record the complete lute works of Bach on period instruments (14-course baroque lute).

Yepes was convinced he was the one to have composed the popular Romance. It has been attributed to other authors and it is believed that indeed published versions exist from before Yepes was even born. 

The great Segovia did not approve of the 10-string guitar calling it a “futile addition”. While on the other hand, Yepes held a private concert for “friends, musicians, conductors and composers to listen to my instruments and then let them decide which is the better instrument for my concert. I can honestly say that during the concert I played the same compositions once on the six-string guitar and once on the ten-string guitar. They all preferred the ten-string guitar.”

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Christopher Parkening

According to Los Angeles Times, Christopher Parkening is “considered America’s reigning classical guitarist, carrying the torch of his mentor, the late Andrés Segovia.” The Washington Post cited him as “the leading guitar virtuoso of our day combining profound musical insight with complete technical mastery of his instrument.” He has been nominated twice for a Grammy Award.

A cousin, who was a studio musician, introduced an eleven-year old Parkening to the recordings of Andrés Segovia. Realising he was smitten, the cousin encouraged him with his classical guitar studies. By the age of 19 Parkening had embarked on a professional career of regular touring and recording.

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S.Bach) by Christopher Parkening

Segovia himself was impressed with the young player and stated that “Christopher Parkening is a great artist—he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world.”

On his part, Parkening’s respect for the maestro remains undimmed through the decades. “He advised me years ago to take a piece of music on tour for at least a year before committing it to recording,” he has said of Segovia. “His actual words were, ‘It is necessary to burnish a piece of music before recording it.’ His feeling, and I agree, was that there is nothing that will refine a piece quite like performing it for some time.”

Notable recordings include Parkening Plays Vivaldi featuring a selection of Baroque concertos and Parkening Plays Bach. As an educator, Parkening has been instrumental in cementing the guitar’s reputation and esteem within academia. He created the guitar department at the University of Southern California in 1969, when he was only 22.

He holds the Chair of Classical Guitar at Pepperdine University under the title Distinguished Professor of Music.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Alirio Diaz

Alirio Diaz was a Venezuelan classical guitarist and composer, considered one of the most prominent composer-guitarists of South America and an eminent musician. He has given concerts all over the world.

Fandanguillo (J.Turina) by Alirio Diaz

Under a scholarship from the Venezuelan government, a young Diaz had his guitar studies in Madrid under the great Regino Sainz de la Maza. He later went to Siena, Italy to carry on his studies with Andrés Segovia. Alirio Díaz performed all over the world combining baroque music with the works of modern Latin American composers, such as Lauro, Sojo and Barrios Mangoré. He was soon acknowledged as the greatest player (with the possible exception of Agustin Barrios) to emerge from South America.

Following in the footsteps of Vicente Emilio Sojo, he spent much of his time on his trips to Venezuela collecting folk songs. His guitar arrangements of these songs continue to be performed around the world.

Joining Segovia’s masterclasses each summer in Siena, he is said to have impressed the older man “greatly with his flawless technique and extensive repertoire.” Diaz soon became the master’s formal assistant in these classes, taking over the teaching role in Segovia’s absence.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Presti-Lagoya Duo

The husband-wife duo of Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya was the first classical guitar duo of international stature. Both were individually talented, performing solo artists with their own careers when they met. Once together, they were a force acknowledged in concert halls and recordings alike till Presti’s life was cut short by sudden illness in her early forties.

Ida Presti was a well-known child prodigy in France, who played in public for the first time when she was eight and gave her first full-length concert at the age of ten. She matured into “the greatest guitarist of the 20th century, and possibly of all time.” When she was only 13, she played before the world-famous classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, who advised her to “never listen to the advice of any other guitarist.”

After her second marriage to the guitarist Alexandre Lagoya, she stopped performing as a solo artist and formed the Duo Presti-Lagoya with him, concentrating on works for two guitars. The two formed one of the most accomplished classical guitar duos in history, performing over 2,000 concerts.

La Vida Breve (de Falla) by Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya

Presti’s approach to the guitar was unique. She played on the right side of the nail, whereas most guitarists played to the left (and still do). Independent of her, Lagoya too had arrived at the same technique of using the right side of the nail. Another technique that he and Presti developed — the cross-string trill — is now an important element of modern guitar technique. Instead of playing a trill on a single string, the duo played it across two strings, so that each note could ring out clearly. The effect was a trill that had the clarity listeners associated with keyboards rather than stringed instruments.

Alexandre Lagoya, a guitarist known for the elegance and textural clarity of his performances, both as part of a duet with his wife, Ida Presti, and later as a soloist. studied harmony and counterpoint with the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos.

By transcribing keyboard works — pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Debussy, Falla and Granados were among their staples — the couple assembled a repertory that they later expanded through commissioning. One of the first new works composed for them, a set of 24 Preludes and Fugues by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, was undertaken at the urging of Segovia, who attended the New York debut of the Presti and Lagoya duo in the early 1950’s, and was so taken with their performance that he wrote to the composer and asked him to consider writing for two guitars.

Other composers like Andre Jolivet, Pierre Petit, Federico Moreno Torroba and Joaquin Rodrigo wrote music for the Presti-Lagoya duo as well.

After his wife’s death, Lagoya had a distinguished solo career. He tutored famous guitarists including the Canadian virtuoso Liona Boyd.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Manuel Barrueco

Manuel Barrueco is a Cuban classical guitarist settled in the United States. During three decades of his musical journey he has performed and recorded across the United States and has been involved in many successful collaborations.

His unique artistry is that of a superb instrumentalist. He is considered “a superior and elegant musician, possessing a seductive sound.”

Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo) by Manuel Barrueco

Barrueco has made well over a dozen recordings, including his 2006 album, ¡Cuba!, which was called “an extraordinary musical achievement” while his recording of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with conductor Plácido Domingo and the Philharmonia Orchestra, was noted as the best recording of that piece.

In 2007 Manuel Barrueco received a Grammy nomination for the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” for his Solo Piazzolla. In 2010 he released a solo recording, Tárrega!, which includes works and arrangements of the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega and which too received a Latin Grammy nomination.

Barrueco’s commitment to contemporary music and to the expansion of the guitar repertoire led him to collaborate with many great composers such as Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Roberto Sierra, Arvo Pärt and Jonathan Leshnoff. Toru Takemitsu’s last orchestral work Spectral Canticle was a double concerto written specifically for Manuel Barrueco and violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman.

His album Nylon & Steel is a collection of duos with guitar greats: Al Di Meola, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), and Andy Summers (The Police), demonstrating Barrueco’s outstanding talent and a gift for exploration.

In China West Barrueco performs guitar trios with his protégés, the Beijing Guitar Duo (Meng Su & Yameng Wang). To listen to Barrueco is to listen to a restless, innovative spirit forever on the move.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Sharon Isbin

American classical guitarist Sharon Isbin was once described as “a classical music triple threat: a stellar performer, a Grammy-winning recording artist and an accomplished and insightful teacher.”

As the only solo guitarist to win a Grammy in the last 30 years, Isbin has also completed a recording with the New York Philharmonic. She founded the guitar departments at both Juilliard and Aspen.

Asturias (I.Albeniz) by Sharon Isbin

As a gifted young player, Isbin began her guitar studies at age nine. She studied with luminaries such as Jeffrey Van, Sophocles Papas, Andrés Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, Alirio Díaz, and for ten years, with the noted keyboard artist and Bach scholar, Rosalyn Tureck.

Isbin collaborated with Tureck in preparing and recording landmark performance editions of the Bach lute suites for guitar. Isbin has appeared as a soloist with over 200 orchestras. She has commissioned more concertos than any other guitarist—including works by John Corigliano, Tan Dun, Aaron Jay Kernis, Joseph Schwantner, Lukas Foss, Chris Brubeck, and Christopher Rouse.

She won a Grammy in 2001 for Dreams of a World: Folk-Inspired Music for Guitar for “Best Instrumental Soloist”, becoming the first classical guitarist to win a Grammy in 28 years.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Pepe Romero

Pepe Romero is a Spanish-born classical and flamenco guitarist noted for his “outstanding technique and colorful musical interpretations on the instrument.” Romero has recorded over 60 albums, including 30 albums as part of the famed guitar quartet The Romeros. He is now settled in the United States.

Bulerias (Sabicas) by Pepe Romero

Pepe is the second son of celebrated guitarist and composer Celedonio Romero, who was his only guitar teacher. His first professional gig was a shared concert with his father in Seville when Pepe was only seven years old.

Pepe Romero has given premières of works by some of the finest composers in recent times. Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Lorenzo Palomo and Ernesto Cordero have written compositions for him. He has appeared as a featured soloist with the world’s greatest orchestras and ensembles.

On performing, Romero has said, “Music makes us communicate through our soul, and if you can leave the theatre feeling that connection, that’s what I want more than anything.”

Romero published a guitar method, La Guitarra, in 2012. He was awarded the Premio Andalucía de Música, the highest recognition given by his native land for contribution to the arts.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Eliot Fisk

Once praised by a reviewer as “the Paganini of the guitar”, Eliot Fisk is an American classical guitarist who was also Segovia’s last private student. Segovia was as much as his mentor as he was an admirer of Fisk’s talent.

Fisk at various stages also studied under other classical guitar greats like Oscar Ghiglia and Alirio Diaz. He has performed with orchestras around the world, including Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Sevilla (I.Albeniz) by Eliot Fisk

Fisk has been among those classical guitarists who increase the repertoire for the instrument by transcribing music written for other instruments. He has transcribed the works of Bach, Scarlatti, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. His transcription of violinist Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices also entered the charts and was widely praised, prompting the Paganini comparison mentioned above.

Following the great Segovian tradition, he also expanded the body of music for the guitar by commissioning new composers. Leonardo Balada, Robert Beaser, Luciano Berio, George Rochberg, and Kurt Schwertsik are among the composers Fisk has collaborated with.

In the 1990s, Segovia’s widow gave Fisk unpublished compositions by Segovia. Fisk turned these compositions into Segovia: Canciones Populares, which became a bestseller on the Classical Album chart of Billboard magazine.

Eliot Fisk also started Yale’s guitar department.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Kazuhito Yamashita

Kazuhito Yamashita is a Japanese guitarist who redefines the meaning of ‘prolific’. By the age of 32, Yamashita had already released 52 albums! Including repertoires for solo guitar, guitar concertos, chamber music and collaborations with other renowned musicians such as James Galway.

Yamashita began to study the guitar at the age of eight with his father. He won the First Prize in the All Japan Guitar Competition when barely 15. At a later stage, he played four guitar concertos in one night with the Cordoba Orchestra, conducted by Leo Brouwer.

Winter from 4 Seasons (Vivaldi) by Kazuhito Yamashita

He has performed many of classical guitar staples in his recordings in his distinct style, including the complete works of Fernando Sor, and a collection of 5 CDs containing J.S. Bach’s sonatas and partitas for violin, cello, lute and flute. More than an amazing work of stamina, he performed all of them having transcribed them himself from the originals.

Yamashita is an enthusiastic proponent of new works for the guitar and has given a world premiere of more than 60 new compositions.

His arrangements of non-guitar (orchestral) works for solo guitar have been controversial though: performances of orchestral items on the solo classical guitar have elicited a lot of discussion and debate.

Yamashita continues to prove himself one of the most fascinating performers of the classical guitar.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Assad Brothers

 Known as “the best two-guitar team in existence, maybe even in history,” the guitar duo of Sérgio and Odair Assad from Brazil is also referred to simply as Assad Brothers or Duo Assad.

Sérgio Assad is a Brazilian guitarist, composer, and arranger who often performs with his brother, Odair Assad. By age 14, Sérgio was arranging and writing original compositions for the guitar duo he had formed with his brother. At the age of 17, he and Odair began their studies under the best known classical guitar teacher in Brazil at the time, Monina Tavora, a former disciple of Andrés Segovia.

Les Cyclopes (J.P.Rameau) by Assad Brothers

The Brothers considerably extended the two-guitar repertoire. Through their own arrangements of Latin American music by composers such as Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos, and Ginastera as well as Baroque to Modern music by Scarlatti, Rameau, Soler, Bach, Mompou, Ravel, Debussy, and Gershwin among others, the Assad Brothers have expanded the material available for duets. Not just the material, their playing has been praised immensely for its sophistication and well-knit artistry.

In the words of one reviewer of their concert, “No amount of anticipation could have prepared me for the Brazilian brothers’ daringly flexible, eerily unanimous ensemble playing – it was as if they could see inside each other’s heads.”

The Assad Brothers have collaborated in performance and recordings with classical music greats like Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Turtle island Quartet and Paquito D’Rivera. 

Their recordings (better still, their concerts) are mandatory for any classical guitar music lover.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Irina Kulikova

Russian classical guitarist Irina Kulikova, daughter of cellist Vinera Kulikova, started developing her musicianship from an early age of 5 when she got her first guitar. When only 12, she was already travelling around Russia and abroad for concerts and festivals. At 14, she was included in the book The Classical Guitar, its evolution, players and personalities since 1800 by Maurice Summerfield.

“If you close your eyes, it is like you hear an adult play,” remarked Spanish master José María Gallardo del Rey. 

Courante from Cello Suite No.1 (J.S.Bach) by Irina Kulikova

Performing with outstanding violinists, cellists and pianists in Europe, she developed her passion for chamber music. In 2005, she recorded her first solo CD, Guitar Recital.

Kulikova has been praised for “the rare beauty of her sound and the captivating way she tells stories with her guitar.” She is certainly among the top guitarists in the world today.

Kulikova has given concerts all over Europe and North-America, performing as a soloist as also in a variety of ensembles and with a number of orchestras. Her concert in Japan was also broadcast on national television. She re-visited her motherland Russia for a concert where she received a standing ovation. She recorded her new album shortly after the memorable visit, Reminiscences of Russia.

Irina Kulikova currently lives and teaches in the Netherlands where she mentors conservatory students and fellow professionals.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Ana Vidovic

Ana Vidovic is an unmissable feature on YouTube with her charming and energetic performances. She is a Croatian-born classical guitarist now residing in the United States.

Vidovic started out as a child prodigy. She started playing guitar at the age of five and performing at the age of eight. By age 11, she was performing internationally. At 13 she became the youngest student to attend the prestigious Academy of Music in Zagreb.

Granada (I.Albeniz) by Ana Vidovic

Her reputation in Europe led to an invitation to study at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore with Manuel Barrueco. 

She has given over 1,000 public performances since first taking the stage in 1988. She is obviously an extraordinary talent that places her among the top guitarists of the world effortlessly. She has already released 6 albums of her music. 

She lives in the United States, where she also works as a private tutor. Vidović plays a Jim Redgate guitar exclusively and has said, “When I got it and began to play, I immediately knew that this was the instrument that I want to be playing for a long time.”

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Xuefei Yang

Xuefei Yang, a big name in the world of classical guitar music today, is a Chinese guitarist who began playing the guitar when she was seven. At twelve, she played in Tokyo for the first time, and Masaru Kohno, the famous luthier, took Yang to his studio and asked her to take any guitar of her choice.

Prelude BWV846 (J.S.Bach) by Xuefei Yang

During her Madrid debut at age 14, the composer Joaquín Rodrigo was among the audience. In 1995, after John Williams watched her performance in Beijing, he was so impressed that he loaned two of his own Greg Smallman guitars to her conservatory, for her and other top students to play.

Xuefei Yang is actively expanding the guitar repertoire, with her own arrangements of pieces with a particular interest in adding Chinese music and collaborations with composers – in particular with British composer Stephen Goss. 

Her debut album Romance de Amor achieved gold disc status in Hong Kong and her second 40 Degrees North featured music from Spain and China. Her Bach Concertos is considered her most innovative recording yet. It features her own transcriptions of the music of J.S.Bach – both solo pieces and concertos.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Miloš Karadaglić

He is often known to many as simply Miloš.  Miloš is a classical guitarist and recording artist from Montenegro who moved to London in September 2000, where he has continued to live ever since while keeping close ties with his family and homeland.

His debut album Mediterráneo was released in 2011, topping the classical charts around the world and turning him into “classical music’s guitar hero”. It earned him both the prestigious Gramophone Young Artist of the Year and Echo Klassik Newcomer of the Year awards.

”Karadaglić is a guitarist of superior musical and technical gifts who allows his personality to sing through the music with taste and intelligence.”

Blackbird (The Beatles) by Miloš Karadaglić

Miloš’ passion for the guitar is matched with an intuitive sense of how to bring the instrument across to his public – whether it be for an audience of 4000 in the Royal Albert Hall or an intimate chamber music performance for 100 people.

After one of his concerts the Guardian commented: “More extraordinary by far, however, was the way a single guitarist, playing an intimate and understated set, and equipped with a single microphone and some clever lighting, could shrink the Hall’s cavernous space into something so close.”

With his passion for Latin American music, his CD Latino/Pasion was followed with Latino GOLD for which Sergio Assad created arrangements.

Like many guitarists before him, Milos carries on the tradition of commissioning new repertoire. Canadian composer Howard Shore’s first-ever guitar concerto has come about with the collaborative effort with Milos. For all his busy concert giving and CD releases, Milos has also launched a series of 4 classical guitar method books titled Play Guitar with Milos.

Recommended listening (Amazon links)

Jason Vieaux

Jason Vieaux is a popular and respected American classical guitarist who began his musical training at the age of eight. He has been described as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Gramophone magazine puts him “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.”

His album Play won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music.

Sevilla (I.Albeniz) by Jason Vieaux

Jason Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with over 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Toronto, Houston, Nashville, San Diego, Buffalo, Auckland Philharmonia, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Jonathan Leshnoff, Avner Dorman, Jeff Beal, Dan Visconti and others.

The Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks, a technological interface that provides one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. You can login and be taught by Jason himself!

Recommended listening (Amazon links)


While some of the artists here also doubled up as composers, that isn’t always the case. Learn about the greatest composers for the classical guitar who ever lived in our detailed feature on 15 Greatest Composers For the Guitar You Should Know. You are sure to enjoy it.

Check out more classical guitar music in our review of top albums you must have in your collection.

Happy listening!

Narayan Kumar

Narayan Kumar is a passionate classical guitarist and an online research buff. He is also one half of the online classical guitar duo DuJu who put out guitar duets regularly on their YouTube channel. Read more about Narayan.

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