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Artistic Achievement Award 1999 - John W. Duarte
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John W. Duarte contributed prodigiously to the guitar world in many ways. A prolific composer and arranger, he was also very active as a teacher, a writer and a journalist. Throughout his long and productive involvement with the guitar, he accumulated a considerable library of guitar-related materials.

John W. Duarte was born on October 2, 1919 in Sheffield, England. He died on December 23, 2004 in London. He was 100% English despite the Latin-looking last name. His father was Scottish, and his mother was English, although she was born in Philadelphia, U.S.A.

Educated at Manchester Central High School (1931-35) and Manchester University Faculty of Technology (1936-40), he worked as a professional chemist until 1969 and then abandoned chemistry in favour of full-time music. His only formal musical education was lessons with Terence Usher from 1934 to 1936 in jazz-guitar playing; the rest was by self-instruction. He worked professionally also as a player of the trumpet and double-bass in music of many kinds and regularly as a jazz musician until 1953. His many associations with great artists included a friendship of 39 years with Andrés Segovia and an enforcedly shorter one with Ida Presti.

As a composer he wrote nearly 150 works for the guitar and lute, many commissioned with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain as well as other sources, official and private, both domestic and overseas. Most have been published and 59 have been commercially recorded by over 60 artists and/or ensembles in at least 24 countries, some several times. He was also the author of many arrangements (several also recorded) and didactic works.

He was the writer of countless articles including as a regular contributor to Soundboard, interviewer and reviewer of books, music, concerts and recordings of many kinds (specialising in Baroque music) with Gramophone, Music Teacher and Classical Guitar, and author of numerous concert-programme notes and about 250 liner notes for records of various kinds, including those for the complete reissue of Julian Bream's recordings for RCA (28 compact discs). He received a Grammy Award for his annotation to the reissue of Segovia's recordings of 1927-39. He also contributed regularly to Music in Education, Guitar Review, Guitar International, Music and Musicians, Records and Recording and Performance and was a contributor to the revised edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

As a teacher he prepared many international students for successful careers. He directed the Cannington International Guitar Summer School and Festival (1974-93), the Bath International Guitar Festival (1994-95) and the Oatridge International Guitar Summer School and Festival (near Edinburgh, Scotland). He worked as a teacher, lecturer and adjudicator in 29 countries outside the United Kingdom**.

His 60th and 70th birthdays were celebrated with gala concerts of his music in the Wigmore Hall, London, played by artists from Britain, the USA, Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, Germany and Croatia. His 80th birthday was marked by a similar concert in the Bolivar Hall, London, with artists from England, Scotland, Brazil, Greece and Italy. In 1990 he received a Silver Medal from the Czech Ambassador in London for his "services to Anglo-Czech and Slovak cultural relations". At the Convention of the Guitar Foundation of America in October 1999 he received an Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Of particular interest are the multitude of musical interviews by John Duarte published in a wide variety of journals and periodicals. Among the many notable names featured in these interviews are:

  • Bowed-string players: John Holloway, Gidon Kremer, Viktoria Mullova, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Derek Solomon, Simon Standage, Paul Tortelier
  • Composers: Geoffrey Burgon, John Corigliano
  • Conductors: John Eliot Gardiner, James Judd, Joshua Rifkin, Bruno Turner
  • Guitarists: Julian Bream, Ian Davies, David Starobin
  • Harpsichordists: Valda Aveling, Kenneth Gilbert, Christopher Hogwood, Igor Kipnis, Ton Koopman, Trevor Pinnock, Gilbert Rowland, Blandine Verlet
  • Lutenists: Konrad Junghänel, Jakob Lindberg
  • Pianists and organists: Jennifer Bate, Malcolm Bilson, Alicia de Larrocha, Simon Preston, Murray Perahia
  • Recorder players: Michala Petri, Philip Pickett
  • Various: Catherine Bott (soprano), Christian Lindberg (trombonist), Ravi Shankar (sitar), Nicanor Zabaleta (harpist).
  • ** Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czechoslovakia (CFR, Slovakia), Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Maylasia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, USA, Venezuela, Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo).

(Those in bold type: supported by the British Council)

Biographical sketch supplied by Christopher Duarte.

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