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Miguel Llobet
There was a long gap in Spain in regard to the guitar, until the Catalonian, Tarrega (1854-1909), picked up the torch lit by Sor. This gap had only been covered in part by the common people, the ordinary classes among which the cultivation of the guitar developed enormously, especially in Andalusia. Washington Irving stated in one of his "Stories of the Alhambra" of how the guitar passed from hand to hand among the ordinary people who played it with skill and dexterity. This was the type of ability that was widespread in Andalusia during the middle of the last century, the type of ability that engaged between the Fifteenth and Seventeenth centuries, a group of Spanish musicians who produced the so called Andalusian school. Two of the most eminent vihuela players who formed part of this school were Alonso de Mudarra, and Miguel Fuenilana who was blind.

Francisco Tarrega, was famous throughout the world. He was as described by the noted Sainz de la Maza; "the saviour of technique and the Paganini of the guitar." (Nicholas Paganini, was the celebrated Italian violinist, whose strict virtuosity culminated between 1782-1840.) "Tarrega collected the traditions and created a modem technique that lit the path of a pure art." He was followed by Miguel Llobet, a great guitarist and excellent composer, succeeded by the present day Andres Segovia, Emilio Pujol, Daniel Fortea, Regino Sainz de la Maza, Quintin Esquembra, Pedro Moreno, Narcisco Yepes, Renata Tarrago, Carlos Santias, Nicolas Alfonso, and many other distinguished performers or interpreters of this music culture. It is only fair to include the names of those who have brought the flamenco guitar to its deserved fame: Ram6n Montoya, Paco de Lucena, Amaijo Cuenca, Niflo Ricardo, Sabicas, Manola de Badajoz, Marie Escudero, Manolo de Huelva, etc. These are responsible for the influence of the guitar in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, North and South America, the Phillipines, Japan, Australia, and South Africa.
Regino Sainz de la Maza
An addition to the favorable response received for the musical interpretation of the guitar, is the high esteem of this noble instrument, and the knowledge and interest of Spanish music. Today, academies of the guitar exist in the Conservatories of Rome, Siena, Florence, Brussels, London, Geneva, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Sydney (Australia), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Tokyo. To the reader, this may be surprising: in Japan alone there are more than 300,000 guitarists! This instrument was relatively unknown to them before the first "invasions" of Andres Segovia, whose concerts in that country produced these unusual statistics. And not far behind are the North Americans, who purchase some 10 million dollars worth or approximately 600 million pesetas yearly in guitars.

The guitar program at the Madrid Conservatory under Sainz de la Maza, presently consists of 60 students. In Spain, many guitar teachers also specialize in other fields of the curriculum of the Conservatories. The maestro Aureo Herrero told journalist Mercedes Lazo: "The guitar is a harmonic instrument, it is not enough to have knowledge of notation to play it. It is necessary to know music! The great guitarist-performers are profound musicians. My purpose is to create musicians for the guitar. For that reason, I give students a technical background of basic harmony, to give preparation for studies equivalent to third year level guitar."

Don Regino Sainz de la Maza goes as saying that to be a fine guitarist involves preparation before anything musical is accomplished. Only after this, can the "feel" of the instrument be appreciated.

In 1958, the General Director of Cultural Relations of Foreign Affairs initiated the studies at Musica en Compostela, (in Santiago de Compostela). After four years, it has become truly resplendent. During its fourth year, celebrated through Aug.-Sept. of 1961, 170 students attended here (105 of which are foreigners representing 32 different countries), 50 have registered for guitar. Mr. Ruiz Morales, director of Cultural Relations, has been professor of the guitar since the first year. Also having an exceptional know ledge of Spanish Music, he has dedicated his entire life to the expansion of the guitar throughout the world. He regards Andres Segovia's fame to have attracted hundreds of students to this instrument. This fourth year in its high point at Orense, was the celebration of the Second International Competition of Interpretation. It was dedicated, on this occasion, to the guitar and presided by Andres Segovia. Prominent lectures, illustrated with interpretations of the quality of that of Sainz de la Maza were given. Two young Spanish guitarists, Jose Tomas and Jose Luis Gonzales, obtained the first and second prizes, the "Andres Segovia," and "Margarita Pastor" awards respectively. Three other finalists, receiving medals of distinction were: Oscar Ghiglia of Italy, Jiro Matsuda of Japan and Jose Lazaro of Spain.
Drawing by Grisha Dotzenko