Artists Bios

Carlos Bonell

Carlos Bonell has been described by Classical Guitar Magazine, UK as "one of the great communicators of the guitar world". He has recorded more than twenty albums and played in forty countries, with concert appearances ranging from intimate recitals to concertos with symphony orchestras.

His latest album Magical Mystery Guitar Tour, inspired by his association with Sir Paul McCartney, is dedicated to the music of the Beatles in Carlos' own arrangements for solo guitar. It went to number one on the UK iTunes classical album charts in May 2012. Carlos was born in London of Spanish parents in 1949. He started to play at the age of five, learning to play Spanish folk music on the guitar from his father who was a keen amateur guitarist, while also studying the violin more formally at school. He completed his studies at the Royal College of Music with John Williams, where he was appointed the youngest ever professor at the age of 22. His solo début in 1971 was a sell-out concert at the Purcell Room in the Royal Festival Hall, London; his concerto début was with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1975.

Declan Zapala 

Declan Zapala was born into an Irish family in 1985 in Watford and first started learning the guitar at the age of 10. In his subsequent 20 years as a guitarist he has gained notoriety as a solo artist for his unique and innovative classical & percussive concerts. As a performer Declan has received five-star reviews in the UK and Australia for his sell-out solo shows ‘Fusion Guitar: Classical & Percussive Guitar’ and ‘Guitar Multiverse’. He regularly plays various international guitar festivals, has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, and was featured on BBC Four Television in August last year in the Culture Show’s coverage of the Edinburgh Fringe, ‘Edinburgh Extra’. Prior to this Declan studied at the Royal College of Music in London and graduated in 2012 with Distinction from their Master of Performance programme. During his time there he was trained by eminent guitarists Craig Ogden, Gary Ryan, and Carlos Bonell. Before studying at Masters level Declan studied a Bachelors degree in Music & Sound Recording at the University of Surrey and gained recognition for his compositional skills, receiving special commendation for a concerto he wrote for guitar trio that was performed in the final round of the University of Surrey Joyce Dixey Composition Competition in 2006. Declan has not only found success in radio, TV, and academia but has also had notable online success. His self-produced video of him performing his percussive solo composition ‘Crystal’ received a quarter of a million views when it went viral at the end of 2013, and his video of his composition ‘Philomena’, a piece he wrote for his mother, raised over $2000 for the charity ‘the Philomena Project’ – a charity that assists Irish mothers who were victims of forced adoption to reunite with their lost children. Declan is now a featured artist on CandyRat Records and has just released his debut album “Awakenings” on his own record label String Theory Records: UK.

Amir John Haddad 

Amir-John Haddad was born In Freiburg Germany in 1975  with a Colombian and Palestinian background. He was raised and educated in Germany and lived for a short while in Bogotá (Colombia). Since childhood he hasn’t stopped travelling and has been always in contact with music. His family environment taught him how to play music by ear. He learned music, his future language, by oral transmission and was only 8 years old when he officially started studying the Flamenco guitar after learning Arabic oud at home by the hand of his father and first teacher Rimon Haddad.

Amir started playing live at school venues when he was 7 years old and by the age of 12 he gave his first public concert on a “real” stage. Since a very small age Amir was led to diverse music styles from South American folklore to classical music, classical Arabic and Oriental music over to African music, Flamenco music… as well as western influences like Jazz, Rock, Funk, Pop, Metal, Fusion… “When I was seven years old our TV quit working and my parents didn’t replace it so from that moment on I was raised without TV at home and that was very important to my playing and my innocent and creative approach to music!”

Years later in 1997 Amir decided to move further south to live and study guitar in one of the most important birthplaces of Flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera (Andalucía-Spain). As he says: “I left Germany with my guitar and a suitcase full of illusions & expectations! I wanted to learn this art form the traditional way by oral transmission in the streets meeting the artists and make my experiences through living with the people and share many moments of “juerga” (Flamenco jam all night long)!” During his period in Andalucía he was disciple of famous guitar maestros like Pepe Justicia and Enrique de Melchor. This experience was going to be very important for his career.

In 1998 Amir moved on to Madrid to find new frontiers and keep on growing professionally as a musician and find a place in the music scene, “I wanted to make a living out of what I liked the most! I couldn’t imagine myself in the future without playing my instrument!” He played in famous Flamenco Tablaos such as Las Carboneras, Café de Chinitas, Corral de la Pacheca, Casa Patas etc.

It was in Madrid when Amir was invited to join and play with the legendary and famous Spanish World Music Band Radio Tarifa. Amir was the official oud, bouzouki and guitar player for almost ten years and made many world tours through a large number of countries and cities. In 1999 he won the first prize for original musical composition at the national “Certamen de Coreografia de Danza Española y Flamenco” at the Teatro Albeniz in Madrid.

Martin Harley             

Martin Harley is a phenomenally talented guitarist, singer and songwriter he fronts the highly praised UK-based acoustic trio; The Martin Harley Band. Martin’s new album MOJO FIX was recorded in Texas and is released in the UK in February 2013. Mojo Fix comes on the heels of four critically celebrated albums, years of touring and countless festivals that have built Martin a strong and solid fan-base spanning the globe.

Martin is a deeply important and respected voice in the evolution of popular blues and folk oriented guitar and vocals. He is now expanding on his international success with recent time spent in the US recording and touring including his band’s recent November ‘12 feature performance at the LIVE IN THE VINEYARD music festival in Napa, California.

A life long devotee of acoustic guitar music, especially the ageless blues/roots sounds, Martin has travelled the globe absorbing a plethora of diverse influences and honing his craft into the classic song-writing style he possesses today.

Wiktoria Szubelak

Here we have one of the most talented young Polish classical guitarists of our time.                                                                                                                                                   Wiktoria was the finalist of the Polish edition of the Eurovision Contest for Young Musicians heaving played with Maestro Wojciech Rajski and the Polish Radio Orchestra at the Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio in Warsaw. She is a graduate from the Chopin’s University of Music in Warsaw which she finished in 2011. During her musical education Wiktoria Szubelak has participated in numerous courses and masterclasses of famous guitar virtuosos such as Carlo Marchione (Italy), Marco Socias (Spain), Pavel Steidl (Czech Republic), Thomas Müller-Pering (Germany), Marcin Dylla (Poland), Łukasz Kuropaczewski (Poland), Tomasz Zawierucha (Poland).

Wiktoria is prize winner of several classical guitar competitions including first prizes in in Gdansk and Gryfice Trzebiatow. She was finalist of the International Guitar Competition in Llerena in Spain in 2011.

mammoth agency/wiktoria szubelak  

Alberto Grollo

Considered one of the most prolific and important guitarists on the Italian guitar scene today, having produced more than 30 albums, two of which were voted in their respective years of release (1998 and 2000) "best album of Italian instrumental music of the year", by the "SOUND" magazine. His music has been used for TV, Films, Documentaries and Advertising, and no coincidence then his songs are also broadcast on Alitalia and other European airlines for relaxation music during flights.

Professor of "Modern Guitar" at the Musical Institute Arnaldo Welcome Conegliano, Grollo has also composed two symphonies dedicated to the Dolomites and Venice with its lagoon in collaboration with UNESCO. Also in collaboration with UNESCO in 2011 creates a musical project dedicated to the enhancement of the Sava River, the main tributary of the Danube. he as performed all over world and with artists such as Martin Taylor and Carlos Nunez

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