Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Biography » Carlos García Montoya: 1903-1993: Guitarist Biography - Gypsy Heritage Influenced Music, Toured With "la Argentina", Performed At Carnegie Hall

Carlos García Montoya: 1903-1993: Guitarist - Performed At Carnegie Hall

flamenco music march world

Montoya and MacLean settled in Manhattan, but the guitarist toured frequently. "He often joked that his second home was the aeroplane," wrote Howell Llewellyn in the Independent, "and that there was not a town or city in the United States that he had not played." In the 1960s he composed Suite Flamenca, a concerto that blended orchestrated music with flamenco guitar. In January of 1966 Montoya performed the piece with the St. Louis Symphony, and called the evening one of the highlights of his career. "Montoya became the first flamenco guitarist to tour the world with symphonies and orchestras," noted Kim Summers in All Music Guide. He also continued to play a large number of concert dates during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1979, at the age of 74, his schedule required him to play up to three concerts per day, leading to a total of 390 shows for the year.

Even in his eighties, Montoya continued to dazzle audiences. He performed at Carnegie Hall on his eightieth birthday and, at the age of 85, played before an audience of 450 at the Village Vanguard. Stephen Holden wrote of the artist's Carnegie Hall performance in the New York Times: "At 80, Mr. Montoya's technique remains impeccable, though decidedly unflashy." Montoya also proved himself an innovator by blending country, folk, blues, and jazz with flamenco, and while these experiments were controversial to purists, they proved influential to new flamenco groups like Ketama and Pata Negra. Unfortunately for the world of music and international flamenco lovers, Montoya passed away on March 3, 1993.

When once asked to compare himself to another historical figure, Montoya—without irony—chose Columbus. Like the great Italian explorer, Montoya discovered new chords and approaches to the flamenco guitar. "He was a great ambassador of flamenco arts," wrote Christie. Montoya, as a concert and recording artist, was perhaps the guitarist most responsible for moving flamenco from its Gypsy origins to the world stage. "The solo flamenco guitar has its own delights," noted Guitar Player, "and we know these thanks to pioneers such as Montoya, who had the courage to take center stage and try to covey their musical tradition on guitar alone."

Selected discography

Carlos Montoya, Allegro, 1981.

Guitar and Flamenco, EPM, 1990.

Art of Flamenco, Columbia/Legacy, 1993.

Flamenco, Fonit Cetra, 1997.

Tango Flamenco!, Fine Tune, 1999.



Current Biography Yearbook, Wilson, 1968.


Billboard, March 20, 1993, p. 10.

Guitar Player, April 1996, p. 60.

Independent, March 17, 1993, p. 35.

New York Times, March 29, 1983, p. C-14.


"Carlos Montoya," All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com (February 3, 2003).

"Carlos Montoya," Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (February 3, 2003).

—Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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