A celebrated virtuoso of the flamenco guitar who has been voted into the top three guitarists in the world by US magazine Guitar Player, Juan Martín learned his art in the land of its origin Andalucia, in southern Spain. He spends much time on tour and in London where he has formed an international company, Flamencovision, for the promotion of high quality flamenco which he rehearses and brings direct from Andalucía. He is “The leading flamenco guitarist of his generation” according to the Guardian (2008)
He has recorded 20 albums, mostly as a composer, the most recent of which are Serenade with the Royal Philharmonic and Solo. “In Martín’s hands flamenco is not so much a musical style as an entire culture compressed into a quivering box of air”. The Guardian,UK. His recent Barbican appearance in May 2009 was filmed in preparation for a tv programme about his life and a live concert dvd.
He performs with a highly distinctive compositional style formed from his early years in Málaga and developed through wide experience in Madrid. At 17 he featured in the film ‘Donde tu estés’ filmed in the Málaga area. Further experience and polish came through recordings and live performances with artists of the calibre of Miles Davis and the Nash Ensemble. He was greatly honoured to be asked to play for Picasso’s 90th birthday celebrations on which he based his album Picasso Portraits. His music is currently being used as part of the Guernica exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery.
His collaborations have included a CD of his compositions with film composer Mark Isham called Painter in Sound and Through the Moving Window, a recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and reviews of his solo compositions on The Andalucian Suites and Luna Negra have compared him to the great Spanish composers Tárrega and Turina. His interest in the Moorish roots of flamenco have led him to record Musica Alhambra and rediscover Andalusí and Sephardic music from the 12th and 13th centuries no longer performed in Spain: ‘Martín spans the centuries with a mixture of the dazzling and the profound’ wrote The Observer. He has also recorded albums with flamenco singers and dancers including Live en Directo that received a critics’ award in Spain.
The Spanish paper El Mundo said of him ‘he has a terrifyingly good technique and an absolute dominance of the guitar, filling the concert hall with crystalline clarity’. He has performed at major International Arts Festivals including Edinburgh, Ludwigsburg, Montreux Jazz solo in 1985 and with Herbie Hancock in 1987, Istanbul and Hong Kong as well as at leading halls worldwide from Sydney to San Francisco. He has broadcast on many tv channels from the BBC to Spanish RTE and German ZDF television and in the US for CNN. His rumba ‘La Fería’ is a hit on Youtube.com.
He has two books with dvds and cds out with the US publisher Mel Bay and two further music folios including the Youtube hit La Feria, a guitar book and 2 dvd set with three hours of music published with Fabers/Alfred as well as music folios with UMP. Despite their purity, these books are always amongst their best sellers. His original method book El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra, in its tenth print, has opened the complex art of the flamenco guitar to the whole world and is assiduously studied from Moscow to Beijing to San Francisco and back to Spain and has assured his name for posterity. This was the first flamenco tutor book to go into the music academies worldwide.
‘A giant of the flamenco tradition’ The Times
‘No flash, just loads of panache’ The Age, Melbourne