Legendary guitarist Manuel Barrueco is internationally recognized as one of the most important guitarists of our time. Hailed as a “major artist with a remarkable musicianship and a word of technique” by the Los Angeles Times and as a “superior musician” by the New York Times, his unique artistry has been continually described as that of a elegant and intelligent musician, possessing a seductive sound and uncommon lyrical gifts.
His career has been dedicated to bringing the guitar to the main musical centers of the world. During three decades of concertizing, he has performed across the United Sates from the New World Symphony in Miami to the Seattle Symphony and from the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to New York’s Lincoln Center. He has appeared with such prestigious orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Boston Symphony under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, in the American Premiere of Toru Takemitsu’s To the Edge of Dream.
His international tours have taken him to some of the most important musical centers in the world. Highlights include the Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Philharmonie in Berlin, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. In Asia, he has completed 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, Panama and Puerto Rico.
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, Jonathan Leshnoff, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, and Toru Takemitsu.
Barrueco has appeared on a wide array of television programs including CBS Sunday Morning, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS. He was featured in a Lexus car commercial, and his work in music inspired Michael Lawrence’s biographical documentary: Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life, which has been aired by PBS stations around the United States. 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.
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. His Koch Classics release, Concierto Barroco, with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and conductor Víctor Pablo Pérez, received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Recording. His early recordings, available on VOX, have become a classic amongst guitar recordings.
In 2007, 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 for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Virtuoso Guitar Duos was released in 2009 and includes the most breathtaking guitar duos from the Spanish and Latin-American repertoire in collaboration with guitarist Franco Platino.
In 2010, he released a solo recording, Tárrega!, which includes works and arrangements of the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega and which received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. His release Chaconne–A Baroque Recital came out subsequently in 2012.
In 2014, he released two recordings: Medea, which includes Barrueco’s arrangement of the monumental ballet by flamenco guitarist/composer Manolo Sanlúcar recorded with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and Víctor Pablo Pérez conducting, which received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album, and China West, a recording of guitar trios in collaboration with the Beijing Guitar Duo (Meng Su & Yameng Wang).
Barrueco began playing the guitar at the age of 8, 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, where he now shares his love for music with a small number of gifted young guitarists from all over the world.
In 2011, Barrueco received the United States Artist Fontanals Fellowship for Artistic Excellence.