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Musical World

Manuel Barrueco

  • Guitarist


Manuel Barrueco's international tours have taken him to some of the most important musical centers in the world. Highlights include the Royal Albert Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philharmonie in Berlin, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. In Asia he has completed close to a dozen tours of Japan and made repeated appearances in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Barrueco’s tours of Latin America have included performances in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. He has also performed as a guest soloist with other international orchestras such as the Russian State Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Auckland Symphony in New Zealand, and the radio symphonies of Munich and Frankfurt.

Barrueco’s recording catalogue includes over a dozen recordings for the EMI label. His recording of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with conductor and tenor Plácido Domingo and the Philharmonia Orchestra was cited as the best recording of that piece in Classic CD Magazine, while ¡Cuba! was called "an extraordinary musical achievement" by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nylon & Steel, a collection of duos with guitar greats Al Di Meola, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), and Andy Summers (The Police), demonstrates Barrueco's outstanding versatility and imaginative programming.  His latest release, Concierto Barroco, with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and conductor Víctor Pablo Pérez, received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Recording. This CD contains the world premiere recordings of new works for guitar and orchestra by Roberto Sierra and Arvo Pärt, as well as two guitar concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Other recordings encompass many of the works from the Spanish and Latin American repertoire, as well as Bach and Mozart, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea etcetera.  He collaborated with soprano Barbara Hendricks and flutist Emmanuel Pahud in Cantos y Danzas, with The King’s Singers on a Strauss album, and with the London Symphony on Manuel Barrueco plays Lennon & McCartney. His early recordings, available on VOX, have become a classic amongst guitar recordings.

Barrueco's commitment to contemporary music and to the expansion of the guitar repertoire has led him to collaborations with many distinguished composers such as Steven Stucky, Michael Daugherty, Roberto Sierra, Arvo Pärt, Gabriela Lena Frank, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky and Toru Takemitsu, whose last orchestral work Spectral Canticle was a double concerto written specifically for Manuel Barrueco and violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman.
Manuel Barrueco has appeared on a wide array of American television programs including "CBS Sunday Morning", A&E's "Breakfast with the Arts", and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on PBS.  His work in music also inspired Michael Lawrence’s biographical documentary: “Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life” which has been aired by PBS stations around the United States including WNET-TV in New York. He was also featured in a Lexus car commercial. Barrueco’s performances have been broadcast by television stations around the world such as NHK in Japan, Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, and RTVE in Spain.

This coming season 2010-2011 includes the European premiere of Barrueco’s adaptation of the monumental flamenco ballet Medea by Manolo Sanlúcar as a guitar concerto in Koblenz, Germany, and he will perform Danzas Concertantes written for him by Roberto Sierra with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra in Spain. Other scheduled performances include a tour with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano; he will appear in solo recitals in New York, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh in the United States, in Holland, England, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Canada and Germany; and he will perform for the first time in Australia.

In 2007 Manuel Barrueco received a Grammy nomination for the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” for his Solo Piazzolla, which was the first recording to be released on the exclusive Manuel Barrueco Collection on Tonar Music. Tango Sensations and Sounds of the Americas came out subsequently in collaboration with the Cuarteto Latinoamericano. The latter received a Latin Grammy Award for “Inca Dances” by Gabriela Lena Frank as the “Best Classical Contemporary Composition.” Just released is Virtuoso Guitar Duos, which includes the most breathtaking guitar duos from the Spanish and Latin-American repertoire.

Manuel Barrueco began playing the guitar at the age of eight, and he attended the Esteban Salas Conservatory in his native Cuba. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1967, as political refugees.  Later, he completed his advanced studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he now shares his love for music with a small number of exceptionally gifted young guitarists from all over the world.