Obituary: Julian Bream, influential classical guitar and lute player, 87

Posted on: August 18, 2020

“Julian Bream, the English musician who pushed the guitar beyond its Spanish roots and expanded its range by commissioning dozens of works from major composers, and who also played a crucial role in reviving the lute as a modern concert instrument, died on Friday at his home in Wiltshire, England,” writes Allan Kozinn in Friday’s (8/14) New York Times. “He was 87.… Mr. Bream was the most eloquent guitarist of the generation that came of age soon after Andrés Segovia carved out a place for the guitar in the mainstream concert world. It could be argued, in fact, that Mr. Bream … established the guitar’s credibility as a serious solo instrument.… Bream played the piano and the cello as a child but was [also] inspired to take up the guitar.… At his audition for admission to the Royal College of Music in London, Mr. Bream played the guitar first, even though the instrument was not taught there, and then the piano. The school admitted him as a pianist, cellist and composition student.” Bream toured annually for nearly half a century and made dozens of recordings. “His final formal recital was in Norwich, England, on May 6, 2002, but he continued to play privately … until 2011.”