Maurice Summerfield (born in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK February 4, 1940) played the guitar professionally in diverse jazz groups and dance bands in his late teens and early twenties. His interest in music, and in particular the guitar, encouraged him in 1963 to introduce a range of musical instruments into the range of goods imported by the Summerfield family distribution business (founded 1900). He had joined the company in 1958. From that time Summerfield Musical Instruments soon became one of the most prominent importers and distributors of musical instruments in the United Kingdom. Particular emphasis has always been given by the company to the guitar, other fretted instruments and accessories. Summerfield distributed Ibanez guitars in the UK for almost 25 years in (1964 - 1988) and during that time Maurice was responsible for introducing many important endorsees to the brand and for designing some of their top selling guitars. For almost 40 years the Summerfield company distributed D’Addario products in the UK. Summerfield have distributed Martin strings and accessories in the UK since 1972, and now also distribute the La Bella, Savarez and Royal Classics string lines.
Maurice Summerfield’s company was the first to have replicas made of the Maccaferri guitars (as played by Django Reinhardt) following the closure of the Selmer factory in Paris after WW II. Summerfield’s 'CSL Gypsy' became an immediate success after its release in August 1974, at which time there were no other replica Maccaferri guitars being made. Through the production of this guitar line Maurice met in 1975 the legendary guitarist, luthier and inventor Mario Maccaferri and a 20-year close personal and business relationship followed.
For over 38 years Maurice was a council member of the UK's Music Industries Association (MIA-formerly AMII and then AMI) general committee. In July 1997 he was elected to the Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The Worshipful Company of Musicians is one of the ancient livery companies (guilds) of the City of London and is able to trace its roots back to 1380. It was given its first Royal charter in 1500. The Musicians’ Company encourages, supports and promotes musical performance to the highest professional standards. It is the only City of London livery company clearly identified with the pursuit and recognition of excellence in the performing arts, and is closely associated with trades and crafts related to music-making as well as the education and promotion of young musicians.
In December 1997 Maurice received the Freedom of the City of London.
In October 2003 Maurice Summerfield was elected to serve on the Court of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and was installed as its Master (the company’s highest honor) on 11 November 2009. . Maurice helped the Musicians Company found in 1998 its prestigious Ivor Mairants Guitar Award for young classical guitarists. Now in its 14th year past winners have included Xuefei Yang. Milos Karadaglic and Sean Shibe.
In March 2010 Maurice was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Music of London’s prestigious Hon.ARAM award.
Maurice Summerfield has always retained a vital interest in music and the guitar. In 1978 he established the Ashley Mark Publishing company. Its guitar book, music and recording mail order business (www.FretsOnly.com) for all styles of guitar playing now supplies over 6000 titles to musicians in over 80 countries. In 1981 he founded 'Guitar Masters Records', a company producing and distributing quality guitar recordings. Maurice produced several of Guitar Masters’ most important recordings in the 1970s and 1980s including two by David Russell and three by Jorge Morel. Maria Isabel Siewer’s Guitar Masters’ recording ‘Music of Argentina’ included the first recorded performance of Ginastera’s Sonata Op. 47. In September 1982 he founded 'Classical Guitar' magazine, now acknowledged internationally to be the finest monthly English language magazine devoted to the instrument. For many years Maurice actively promoted concerts (including an annual classical guitar series at the historic Wigmore Hall in London) and UK clinics and master classes by many world famous jazz, classical and flamenco guitarists.
In 1991 Maurice helped West Dean College near Chichester begin its now famous International Classical Guitar Festival and Summer School. Since 1991 he has acted as a consultant and advisor for all subsequent twenty annual West Dean festivals at which many of the world’s greatest guitarists have performed.
Maurice Summerfield is the author of three critically acclaimed books - The Classical Guitar - Its Evolution, Players & Personalities Since 1800, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982, and now in its fifth edition,The Jazz Guitar - Its Evolution, Players & Personalities Since 1900, first published in the United Kingdom in 1978, and now in its fourth edition and Barney Kessel - A Jazz Legend published in October 2008.