John W. Duarte


musical style: 

photograph of John Duarte

John William Duarte (born October 2, 1919 in Sheffield; died December 23, 2004) was a British composer, guitarist and writer.

Duarte was born in Sheffield, England. He considered himself 100% British — his father was Scottish and his mother was English — a fact that echoed throughout his music. Duarte's English Suite, op. 31, a three-movement work for the guitar, reflects the Renaissance style of court lutenists such as John Dowland and John Johnson.

Duarte was educated at Manchester Central High School (1931-35) and Manchester University Faculty of Technology (1936-40). He worked as a professional chemist until 1969, then abandoned chemistry in favour of full-time dedication to music. His only formal musical education consisted in jazz guitar lessons with Terence Usher (1934-36); the rest he learned by self-instruction. He also worked professionally as a player of the trumpet and double bass, performing music of many kinds, and regularly worked as a jazz musician until 1953. He sustained several lasting friendships with great musicians, including a 39-year-long relationship with Andrés Segovia and another with Ida Presti, who died prematurely at the age of 42.

Duarte was the composer of nearly 150 works for the guitar and lute (many commissioned with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and other sources). Most have been published and 57 have been commercially recorded by 58 artists and/or ensembles in 24 countries, some several times. His Appalachian Dreams op.121 was recorded by Sharon Isbin on her 2001 Grammy Award winning album Dreams of a World. He also made many arrangements (several also recorded), and wrote a number of didactic works, including an introduction to harmony for guitarists.

John W. Duarte died on December 23, 2004, after a long battle with cancer. Read more about John W. Duarte on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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