Carlos Montoya


Carlos Montoya was one of the most celebrated flamenco composers and guitarists of the post-war years. He is credited for taking flamenco from simply being an accompaniment to gypsy song and folk dancing, to a serious form of music, which has become a genre in its own right with a world-wide following.

Born into a gypsy family in Spain, his interest in music and the guitar began at an early age, and by his 14th birthday he was accompanying many leading singers and dancers in the cafes of Madrid. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he toured Europe and North America as an accompanist to flamenco dance troupes and soloists. At the outbreak of World War II, he decided to remain in the United States, settling in New York and eventually taking American citizenship.

In 1945, Montoya began to tour as a solo artist, expanding his repertoire to include blues and jazz alongside his flamenco compositions. His extensive touring led to the invitation to perform with an orchestra in 1948 which would change the direction of his career forever. The success of this concert brought invitations from across the world and Montoya became the first flamenco guitarist to solo with symphony orchestras. He gave solo recitals in Europe and America and over the next 30 years recorded over 40 albums which include Flamenco Guitar and The Art of Flamenco.

Carlos Montoya died in 1993 at the age of 89.

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